Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book


Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Karen Cushman  

Pen Name: None

Genre:

Audience: Young Adult; Children; Children;

Born: October 4, 1941 Chicago, Illinois


-- Facebook -- https://www.facebook.com/karencushman.author
-- Twitter -- https://twitter.com/cushmanbooks
-- Website -- http://www.karencushmanbooks.com/index.html
-- Karen Cushman on WorldCat -- http://www.worldcat.org/search?q=karen+cushman


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

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

Meggy arrives in London expecting to be welcomed by her father, who sent for her, but he doesn't want her to assist in his laboratory when he sees that not only is she female, she needs two sticks to walk. Sent on trivial errands, she learns to navigate the city, which is earthy and colorful as well as dirty, noisy, and filled with rogues and thieves. Meanwhile she is befriended by the alchemist's former assistant, and when it appears that her father may be arrested and beheaded for practicing magic, together she and her new friend devise a plan to save him. Building strength and street smarts, Meggy goes from helpless to confident and from friendless to surrounded by warmth and love. Elizabethan London has its dark side, but it also has much to offer 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

Grayling doesn't want to be a hero, but to save her mother from a dark enchantment, she seeks out the few second-string magic makers who haven't been immobilized by the spell and goes off in search of her mother's grimoire, or book of magic. Obstacles both natural and supernatural block their way, and friction within the group delays the journey. Surprising herself, Grayling finds the strength and decisiveness to move the group forward and reach her goal. Eccentric witches and wizards plus a shape-shifting mouse provide moments of high comedy, as do odd practices that date back to the Middle Ages, such as divination with cheese.






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 Readers Choice Award Master List, Pennsylvania
  • State Book Award, Washington
  • Indian Paintbrush Childrens 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

Speaking Engagements

Speaking Engagement Availability (Yes)

To inquire about school, library, or conference, engagements, contact Meredith.