TTLG Author/Illustrator Profiles

Phyliss Reynolds Naylor

Phyliss Reynolds Naylor

Newbery Medalist Phyllis Reynolds Naylor grew up in Anderson, Indiana, and Joliet, Illinois. She wrote her first book when she was in kindergarten and sold her first story when she was 16 for $4.67.

Naylor worked as a teacher and an editor before she began to write full-time in 1960. Her first book, about a disastrous first marriage to a man who became mentally ill, was for adults. She sold her first book for children in 1965. Since then, she has written more than 80 books for children and adults.

Her book Boys in Control, features the return of young readers’ favorite feuding families—the Hatford boys and the Malloy girls—from her earlier books, The Boys Start the War, The Girls Get Even, and Boys Against Girls.

Phyllis Reynolds Naylor lives in Bethesda, Maryland with her husband, Rex who is a speech pathologist. They have two grown sons and two granddaughters.

“I think I wanted to be a writer because my parents read aloud to us every night until we were about 15 years old. They read Grimm’s fairy tales, the Bible storybook, all of Mark Twain’s books, Alice in Wonderland, The Wind in the Willows—and I think I probably felt that if listening to stories was so much fun, writing them would be even better. And it is. I love being involved in the characters and plot and just the whole mess of writing, it’s such a wonderful mess to me.

“I would like readers to develop more tolerance for people who are different, for ideas that are different, to come to realize that sometimes there isn’t just one right way to do something. People see different possibilities in a situation, and the solutions they come up with may be very different.”

Phyllis Reynolds Naylor has written more than 100 books. Her work has been honored by the American Library Association, the International Reading Association, and the Children’s Book Council.