TTLG Author/Illustrator Profiles

Peggi Deitz Shea

Peggi Deitz Shea

Pegi Deitz Shea’s first novel for Young Adults, Abe in Arms, will be released June 1, by PM Press/Reach And Teach, a new imprint specializing in social justice books for children. Abe in Arms is about a 13-year-old Liberian war orphan who is adopted by an American doctor. In his senior year in high school, he begins having post traumatic stress symptoms, and realizes his role in the civil wars was much more horrific.

Shea’s most recent picture book, Noah Webster: Weaver of Words, (Nov. 2009) is published by Calkins Creek, the American History imprint of Boyds Mills Press, which also published New Moon and The Whispering Cloth. The Webster book has already been named a Junior Library Guild selection, and an Orbis Pictus Honor Book by the National Council of Teachers of English for one of the six top nonfiction releases of 2009.

Having presented at more than 350 schools, libraries and conferences, Shea writes fiction and poetry as well as nonfiction for all ages. Her books work across the curriculum and often explore the difficult lives of war refugees, immigrants, child laborers, and historical figures. Her stories, including The Whispering Cloth, Tangled Threads, Ten Mice for Tet, The Carpet Boy’s Gift and Patience Wright: America’s First Sculptor and Revolutionary Spy, have been made Notables by the International Reading Association, NCTE, Children’s Book Council/National Council for the Social Studies, Bank Street College, New York Public Library and other organizations.  Tangled Threads won the 2004 Connecticut Book Award for Children’s Literature.

In the Fall 2010, Clarion Books will release another historical picture book, The Taxing Case of the Cows: A True Story About Suffrage. Co-authored with Iris Van Rynbach of Glastonbury, home of the famous Smith Sisters, the book is being illustrated by Caldecott Medalist Emily Arnold McCully.

Shea is currently writing a new YA novel, Snake Boy, Sister Spy, which is based on her aunt and uncle’s teen Resistance exploits during WWII.

Pegi teaches Children’s Literature at the University of Connecticut Hartford campus every summer. She taught the inaugural course: Writing Books for Children, at Storrs in Fall 2009, and is looking forward to teaching it again next fall. She also teaches writing through the Institute of Children’s Literature.

She grew up on the Jersey Shore, and now lives in Rockville, CT, with husband Tom Shea, a UCONN professor, and their two teens.

More information, including cross-curriculum guides for all books, can be found at