Illinois Authors

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Ami Polonsky

Pen Name: None

Connection to Illinois: Polonsky grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and now lives in Deerfield.

Biography: Ami Polonsky is a 6th grade English teacher, mother to two young children, and author, among other things. A former literacy coach, she remains devoted to guiding children towards a love of books and helping create lifetime readers.

  • Gracefully Grayson TOP 100 CHILDREN’S BOOKS, GOODREADSLGBTQ+ inclusive summer reading list, HUMAN RIGHTS CAMPAIGN, 2016 #2 of 32 Perfect Books To Kick Off Your Book Club, BuzzFeed BooksRainbow List Top Ten pick, ALA, 2016 Best Older Fiction List, Chicago Public Library, 201430 LGBTQIA+ Children’s Books List, BustleExceptional Merit Book List, Bank Street Best Books, 2015 KidsReads Reviewer Pick, 2014BFYA list, YALSA, 2015Kids’ Indie Next List, Winter 2014 Rick’s Reads List, #1 New York Times bestselling author Rick Riordan, 2014, Illinois READS Book Selection, Illinois Reading Council, 2018
  • Threads READ ACROSS AMERICA book, National Education Association, March 2018Kids’ Indie Next List, Winter 2016
  • World Made of Glass Illinois READS Book Selection, Illinois Reading Council, 2024

Primary Literary Genre(s): Fiction

Primary Audience(s): Young adult readers


Selected Titles

Gracefully Grayson
ISBN: 9781484723654 OCLC: 876466532

Grayson, a transgender twelve-year-old, learns to accept her true identity and share it with the world--

Spin with me /
ISBN: 9780374313500 OCLC: 1123233929

Told in two voices, seventh-graders Essie, in North Carolina for just one semester, and Ollie, a non-binary,

Threads /
ISBN: 1484746902 OCLC: 945353107

An American girl finds a note written by a Chinese girl forced to work in a factory in Beijing.

World Made of Glass
ISBN: 0316462047 OCLC:

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers 2023

A girl channels her grief and pain into love and activism in this heartbreaking, heart-mending novel of family, friendship, and community. Iris tries to act normal at school, going through the motions and joking around with her friends. But nothing is normal, and sometimes it feels like she’ll never laugh again. How can she, when her dad is dying of a virus that’s off-limits to talk about? When she knows that soon all she’ll have left of her kind, loving dad are memories, photos, and a binder full of the poems they used to exchange?In a sea of rage and grief, Iris resolves to speak out against the rampant fear, misinformation, and prejudice surrounding AIDS—and find the pieces of Dad that she never knew before. Along the way, Iris might just find new sides to herself.Award-winning author Ami Polonsky has crafted a lyrical, tender, earth-shattering novel that will stay with you long after you’ve turned the last page.