Polly Horvath biography, plus links to book reviews and book excerpts from books by Polly Horvath.

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Polly Horvath

Polly Horvath

Polly Horvath: hor-vath (second syllable rhymes with math)

Polly Horvath Biography

I grew up in Kalamazoo, Michigan. My father, John Horvath, was a C.I.A. agent until he was in his forties and married my mother, Betty Ferguson. After that he became a high school biology teacher. My mother wrote picture books, so I remember the excitement around the house about the New York Times special children’s book sections, Horn Book reviews, who was getting the Newbery and Caldecott that year. I also learned how to submit a manuscript properly. I taught myself to type when I was in the fifth grade so that I could send my manuscripts out looking professional. Today’s children will think this is no big deal because they all learn to type the second they come out of the womb so they can use computers, but when I was growing up, there were no computers and typing was more of a frill and not something you usually picked up in grade school.

When I was in high school the last two years, my German teacher, Mr. Wooden, gave me a passkey to the building and set up a little room in the library, which was to be my office. He suggested I take my courses as independent study and arranged for a coffee pot and typewriter for me. Then he said, “So you want to write, write.” And I did. I had a wonderful English teacher, Mr. Smith, who despite being overworked, read masses of things I wrote and commented. I sent out manuscripts. I had an agent. Despite all of this, it wasn’t until I was 29 that I had a book published.

While waiting to get published, I became a ballet teacher, went to school in Toronto, moved to New York, taught dance in Montreal, and married. I was pregnant with our first daughter when my editor at the time, Reisa Arnold, at FSG called to say they were publishing my book. We had been rewriting it together for seven years. I don’t think I would have that kind of patience now. She probably wouldn’t either. I had sent out that manuscript for years. I had a very run down apartment in Montreal before I was married and one wall in the kitchen looked terrible, it was covered in peeling paint and I couldn’t afford to repaint it, so I plastered the wall with my rejection slips. Every time one came in I thought, oh great, that will cover this corner perfectly.

After I had our second daughter, my husband, Arnie Keller, became the director of the professional writing program at the University of Victoria and so we moved to British Columbia. Suddenly instead of a white picket fence Midwest town or big cities, I was living on an island in a small, rural community replete with bears and cougars, whales and eagles. This gave me a whole different frame of reference and inspired a different sort of storytelling. Here I wrote The Trolls, The Canning Season, Everything on a Waffle, books that won awards and changed the course of my writing career so that I could afford to write full-time. We acquired a dog and a horse. I began to travel, to speak to schoolchildren in Miami, Washington, D.C., New York, Arizona, Germany, Moosejaw, all kinds of places. I wrote other books. My daughters grew up. I wrote My One Hundred Adventures. I am working on a new book and a few days ago I had an idea for one after that. . . .

Link to Polly's website

This biography was last updated on 09/11/2008.

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Books by this Author

Books by Polly Horvath at BookBrowse

Recommended in Detail at BookBrowse

My One Hundred Adventures
My One Hundred Adventures

by Polly Horvath

The winner of a National Book Award, a Newbery Honor, and countless other awards has written her richest, most spirited book yet, filled with characters that readers will love, and never forget.
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All the books below are recommended as readalikes for Polly Horvath but some maybe more relevant to you than others depending on which books by the author you have read and enjoyed. So look for the suggested read-alikes by title linked on the right.
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  • Jeanne Birdsall

    Jeanne Birdsall

    I grew up in the suburbs west of Philadelphia, where I attended wonderful public schools. I had lots of great teachers, but my favorites were: Mrs. Corkhill, sixth grade, who encouraged my intellectual curiosity; Mr. Tremonte... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    The Vacation

    Try:
    The Penderwicks
    by Jeanne Birdsall

  • Gennifer Choldenko

    Gennifer Choldenko

    Gennifer Choldenko's first novel, Notes from a Liar and Her Dog, was a School Library Journal Best Book of the Year and a California Book Award winner. Her second novel, Al Capone Does My Shirts, was a Newbery Honor Book and ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    My One Hundred Adventures

    Try:
    Al Capone Shines My Shoes
    by Gennifer Choldenko

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