Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book


Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Karen Cushman  

Pen Name: None

Genre:

Born: October 4, 1941 Chicago, Illinois

Sites:


Illinois Connection

Cushman was born in Chicago and lived there until she was ten years old.

Biographical and Professional Information

Karen Cushman writes historical fiction, novels for children and young adults. She received an M.A. in human behavior and one in museum studies. She currently resides on Vashon Island west of Seattle, Washington.


Published Works Expand for more information


Titles At Your Library

Catherine Called Birdy
ISBN: 0064405842

Trophy Press. 1995

Catherine, a spirited and inquisitive young woman of good family, narrates in diary form the story of her fourteenth year--the year 1290. A Newbery Honor Book.

The Midwife's Apprentice
ISBN: 006440630X

HarperCollins. 1996

'Like Cushman's 1995 Newbery Honor Book, Catherine, Called Birdy, this novel is about a strong young woman in medieval England who finds her own way home. This is a world, like Chaucer's, that's . . . dangerous, primitive and raucous. From the first page you're caught by the spirit of the homeless, nameless waif, somewhere around 12 years old. She gets the village midwife to take her in, befriends a cat, names herself Alyce, and learns something about delivering babies. When she fails, she runs away, but she picks herself up again and returns to work and independence.' --ALA Booklist (starred review). '. . .A fascinating view of a far distant time.' -- The Horn Book (starred review)

The Ballad of Lucy Whipple
ISBN: 0613073045

Turtleback Books: A Division of Sanval. 1998

In 1849 a twelve-year-old girl who calls herself Lucy is distraught when her mother moves the family from Massachusetts to a small California mining town. There Lucy helps run a boarding house and looks for comfort in books while trying to find a way to return "home."

Matilda Bone
ISBN: 0440418224

Yearling. 2002

Orphaned Matilda is not at all pleased when she arrives at Blood and Bone Alley to become an assistant to Red Peg the Bonesetter. She is a religious, well-educated girl who can’t picture herself doing dirty chores or helping sickly patients.

Each day is very different from her former quiet life. Matilda’s not used to being around so many people who are coming and going, laughing and eating. Not one of them seems interested in prayer or study.

Self-centered Matilda thinks no one understands her. But Peg does, and gives her time to get used to this new way of life and teaches her through kindness and friendship. Matilda is as surprised as anyone when she begins seeing the world around her in a different way.

Rodzina
ISBN: 044041993X

Yearling. 2005

In 1881, 12-year-old Rodzina Clara Jadwiga Anastazya Brodski wishes she didn’t have to board the orphan train in Chicago. But she has no home, no family, and no choice. Rodzina doesn’t believe the orphans are on their way out West to be adopted by good families. She’s sure they will become slaves to strangers. Anyway, who would ever adopt a large, tough, stubborn girl of Polish origin? As the train heads west, all Rodzina has is a small suitcase and her family memories from the past. Will Rodzina ever step off the train to find the family that deep in her heart she’s searching for?

The Loud Silence of Francine Green
ISBN: 0375841172

Laurel Leaf. 2008

FRANCINE GREEN’S FATHER says it’s best not to speak up or get involved. But then she meets the outspoken Sophie Bowman, a newcomer to All Saints School for Girls. The nuns dislike her friendship with Sophie, who protests injustice in and out of school. But their friendship leads Francine to thinking outside the box of her trouble-free life.

Alchemy and Meggy Swann
ISBN: 0547577125

HMH Books for Young Readers. 2011

Fans of Karen Cushman's witty, satisfying novels will welcome Meggy Swann,

newly come to London with her only friend, a goose named Louise. Meggy's mother was glad to be rid of her

her father, who sent for her, doesn't want her after all. Meggy is appalled by London, dirty and noisy, full of rogues and thieves, and difficult to get around in—not that getting around is ever easy for someone

who walks with the help of two sticks. Just as her alchemist father pursues his Great Work of transforming base metal into gold, Meggy finds herself pursuing her own transformation. Earthy and colorful, Elizabethan London has its dark side, but it also has gifts in store for Meggy Swann.

Will Sparrow's Road
ISBN: 0544336321

HMH Books for Young Readers. 2014

In his thirteenth year, Will Sparrow, liar and thief, becomes a runaway. On the road, he encounters a series of con artists—a pickpocket, a tooth puller, a pig trainer, a conjurer—and learns that others are more adept than he at

lying and thieving. Then he reluctantly joins a traveling troupe of "oddities," including a dwarf and

a cat-faced girl, holding himself apart from the "monsters" and resolving to be on guard against further deceptions. At last

Will is

forced to understand that appearances are misleading and that

he has been his own worst deceiver. The rowdy world of market fairs in Elizabethan England is the colorful backdrop for Newbery medalist Cushman's

new

comic masterpiece.

Grayling's Song
ISBN: 0544301803

Clarion Books. 2016

“Like all Karen Cushman's gorgeous novels,

Grayling’s Song

delves into the past to let us know what we must ask of our future.” —Lena Dunham

It’s time for Grayling to be a hero. Her mother, a “wise woman”—a sort of witch—has been turned into a tree by evil forces. Tangles and toadstools! Lacking confidence after years of being called “Feeble Wits” by her mother, Grayling heads off dubiously into the wilds in search of help, where she finds a weather witch, an aromatic enchantress, a cheese soothsayer, a slyly foolish apprentice, and a shape-shifting mouse named Pook!

A fast-paced and funny coming-of-age odyssey from a Newbery medalist.


Awards

-- '''''Catherine, Called Birdy''''' -- *Newbery Honor Book

-- *Best Book for Young Adults, ALA

-- *Notable Book for Children, ALA

-- *Recommended Book for Reluctant Young Adult Readers, ALA

-- *Editors' Choice, Booklist

-- *Golden Kite Award

-- *Horn Book Fanfare Selection

-- *Teachers' Choice, IRA

-- *Best Books of the Year, School Library Journal

-- *"Pick of the Lists," American Bookseller

-- *South Carolina Book Award

-- *100 Titles for Reading and Sharing, New York Public Library

-- *Reading Magic Awards, Parenting Magazine

-- *Silver Medal, Commonwealth Club

-- *Notable Children's Book in the Language Arts

-- *Commonwealth Club of California Medal

-- *Carl Sandburg Literary Arts Award

-- *Honor List, International Board on Books for Young People

-- *Children's Booksellers Choice Award, ABC

-- *Starred Review, School Library Journal

-- '''''The Midwife's Apprentice''''' -- *Newbery Medal

-- *Best Book for Young Adults, ALA

-- *Notable Book for Children, ALA

-- *Booklist Editors' Choice

-- *Horn Book Fanfare Selection

-- *Best Books of the Year, School Library Journal

-- *Best Book for Young Adults, ALA

-- *Book of Distinction, Hungry Mind

-- *Notable Children's Book in the Language Arts

-- *Not Just For Children Anymore! Selection, CBC

-- *Reading Magic Awards, Parenting Magazine

-- *Young Readers Choice Award Short List, Pacific Northwest Library Association

-- *Parents' Choice Gold Award

-- *"Pick of the Lists," American Bookseller

-- *100 Titles for Reading and Sharing, New York Public Library

-- *Children's Booksellers Choice Award, ABC

-- *Books for the Teen Age List, New York Public Library

-- *Starred Review, Booklist

-- *Starred Review, School Library Journal

-- '''''The Ballad of Lucy Whipple''''' -- *Editors' Choice, Booklist

-- *Best Books of the Year, School Library Journal

-- *100 Titles for Reading and Sharing, New York Public Library

-- *Lasting Connections Selection, Booklinks

-- *Notable Children's Trade Book in the Field of Social Studies

-- *Notable Children's Book in the Language Arts

-- *Teachers' Choice, IRA

-- *"Pick of the Lists," American Bookseller

-- *Lone Star Reading List Selection, Texas

-- *John and Patricia Beatty Award

-- *Children's Booksellers Choice Award, ABC

-- *Starred Review, School Library Journal

-- '''''Maltida Bone''''' -- *"Pick of the Lists," American Bookseller

-- *100 Titles for Reading and Sharing, New York Public Library

-- *Best Books of the Year, School Library Journal

-- *Parents' Choice Silver Award

-- *Notable Children's Trade Book in the Field of Social Studies

-- *Best Children's Books of the Year, Bank Street

-- *Young Readers’ Master List, Arizona

-- *Student Book Award Master List, Maine

-- '''''Rodzina''''' -- *Lasting Connections Selection, Booklinks

-- *Parents' Choice Gold Award

-- *Editor's Choice, Booklist

-- *Best Books of the Year, Child Magazine

-- *Best Books, Children's Book of the Month Club

-- *ALA/Amelia Bloomer Project List

-- *William Allen White Master List, Kansas

-- *Willa Literary Award, New Mexico

-- *Keystone to Reading Master List, Pennsylvania

-- *Young Reader’s Choice Award Master List, Pennsylvania

-- *State Book Award, Washington

-- *Indian Paintbrush Children’s Book Award Master List, Wyoming

-- *Starred Review, School Library Journal

-- *Starred Review, Booklist

-- '''''The Loud Silence of Francine Green''''' -- *Parents' Choice Silver Award

-- *100 Titles for Reading and Sharing, New York Public Library

-- *Children's Booksellers Choice Award, ABC

-- *CCBC Choices

-- *Books for the Teen Age, New York Public Library

-- *State Reading Circle Recommendation, Kansas

-- *Starred Review, School Library Journal

-- *Starred Review, Booklist

-- '''''Alchemy and Meggy Swann''''' -- *Starred Review, Booklist

-- *Starred Review, Kirkus

-- *Starred Review, School Library Journal

-- '''''Will Sparrow's Road''''' -- *Starred Review, Publishers Weekly

-- '''''Grayling's Song''''' -- *Starred Review, Kirkus