Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information


Pen Name: None

Genre: C:ADULT C:CHILDREN Fiction History Non-Fiction

Born: 1955 in New York City, New York


Illinois Connection

Balliett lives in Chicago's Hyde Park.

Biographical and Professional Information

Blue Balliett grew up in New York City, where she often visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Guggenheim Museum, and the Frick Collection. She took public transportation to school around the city, and discovered early that every crowded bus or train is packed with mystery and drama and that stories are everywhere. Balliett studied art history at Brown University. She and her family lived year-round on Nantucket Island for many years, and now live in Chicago. Before becoming a full-time writer, she taught at the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools. Balliett is a recipient of the Chicago Public Library’s 21st Century Award, the first time the award was given to a children’s book writer.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library


-- '''''Chasing Vermeer''''' -- *New York Times Notable Book, 2004 - NYT Bestseller for over 30 weeks

-- *Publishers Weekly Bestseller

-- *Book Sense Book of the Year Award, American Booksellers Association

-- *Book Sense Bestseller

-- *Edgar Allen Poe Award, Mystery Writers of America, Best Juvenile Novel

-- *Agatha Award

-- *The Great Lakes Book Award

-- *Chicago Tribune Prize for Young Adult Fiction, 2004

-- *Booklist Top Ten Youth Mysteries

-- *Booklist Editor's Choice

-- *Borders Original Voices Award

-- *Midwest Booksellers Choice Award for Children's Literature

-- *Child Magazine Best Children's Book

-- *Parents Choice Silver Honor Book

-- *Al's Book Club for Kids Selection, NBC Today Show, 2008

-- *Starred Review, Publisher's Weekly and Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books


-- '''''Danger Box''''' -- *Junior Library Guild selection, Fall 2010

-- *Chicago Tribune's Chicagoan of the Year for Literature, 2010

-- *Parents' Choice Silver Award Winner

-- *Dorothy Canfield Fisher Award master list, 2011-12

-- *Book Worm Angels, 2012

-- *Kermit W. Myers Achievement Award

-- *Oklahoma Sequoyah Book Award Masterlist, 2012-13

-- *Starred Review, School Library Journal

-- *ILLINOIS READS Book list, Illinois Reading Council, 2013


-- '''''Hold Fast''''' -- *New York Times Bestseller

-- *Editor's Choice, Chicago Tribune, May 2013 *Great Lakes Great Reads Award, Winter 2013 *Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People selection, NCSS and CBC, 2014

-- *Iowa Children's Choice Award Master List, 2014-15

-- *William Allen White Award Master List, 2015-16 *Starred Review, Kirkus, Booklist and School Library Journal

-- *ILLINOIS READS Book list, Illinois Reading Council, 2016


-- "Out of the Wild Night"

-- *Starred Review, Kirkus


-- '''''Pieces and Players''''' -- *Junior Library Guild Selection, spring 2015 *Great Lakes Great Reads Award Short List, 2015


-- '''''The Calder Game''''' -- *Friends of American Writers Literary Award Winner

-- *Publishers Weekly Bestseller

-- *Indie Bound Bestseller

-- *Starred Review, Booklist

-- *Five Star Review,


-- '''''The Wright 3''''' -- *New York Times Bestseller

-- *Best Children's Book of the Year, Child Magazine

-- *21st Century Award, Chicago Public Library - First time the award was given to a children's book author

-- *Gamepuzzles Annual Excellence Award *USA Today Bestseller

-- *Book Sense Bestseller

-- *Starred Review, Kirkus