TTLG Author/Illustrator Profiles

Dianne Ochiltree

Dianne Ochiltree

Dianne Ochiltree has been writing stories and poems since she was a kid growing up in Warren, Ohio. Her family’s small home was filled to the rafters with books, books, books. Her father was a lawyer who spent his evenings painting with oils, and teaching her all about Van Gogh, Vermeer, and Gauguin. Her stay-at-home mom read to Dianne, her two little sisters and baby brother at bedtime. Their home was populated by a parade of pets, from guppy to puppy, as well as the injured and stray animals Dianne had a habit of rescuing. 

After graduating from Howland High School in 1971, she attended Miami University (Oxford, Ohio) where she earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Applied Design in 1975. Unable to find an art or design job after college and marriage (which happened two weeks apart) she turned to her other love: writing. Her first job was as a copywriter for the ad department of a regional carpet chain, where her assignments included writing scripts for the mascot—a talking roll of carpet. After twenty years as a marketing/advertising/public relations writer, Dianne decided to try writing for a new audience, one she had gotten to know quite well since the births of her two sons: namely, kids! 

Since then, she has loved every minute of her creative life, and has had several books published for young readers, from toddlers to teens. She shares her enthusiasm for reading and creative writing with students of all ages, in school visits and writing workshops. In addition, she reviews children’s books for The Children’s Literature Newsletter, and is a freelance editor/writing coach for aspiring children’s writers. She is a member of the Florida Writers Association, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, the Author’s Guild, the International Reading Association, the Florida Library Association, the Children’s Group of the American Booksellers Association, the Florida Literacy Coalition and other organizations dedicated to promoting reading and literacy. Her picture book LULL-A-BYE, LITTLE ONE has been a selection for the Imagination Library, the Dollywood Foundation’s national childhood literacy program, since 2007. 

Dianne’s newest picture book releases in May 2013: IT’S A FIREFLY NIGHT (Blue Apple Books) is a lovely story for a parent and child to share, with rhyming lines that read like a song and glittering sparklers that light up each page. Dianne’s most recent release was MOLLY, BY GOLLY! The Legend of Molly Williams, America’s First Female Firefighter (Calkins Creek/Boyds Mills Press), which won the Bronze Medal in the Children’s Literature category of the Florida Book Awards; other previous books for children include: LULL-A-BYE, LITTLE ONE (G.P. Putnam’s Sons); SIXTEEN RUNAWAY PUMPKINS, TEN MONKEY JAMBOREE and PILLOW PUP (Margaret K. McElderry Books); and titles in Scholastic’s Hello, Reader! series. Her work has been translated into French, Chinese, Korean and Braille. 

Dianne and husband, Jim, currently live in Sarasota, Florida, with their pets, a Maine Coon cat called Simon, and Sally, a chocolate Labrador Retriever, who not only entertains and inspires her owners – she also accompanies Dianne on visits to nursing homes as a therapy dog.