Called the Hans Christian Anderson of America, Jane Yolen is known for weaving folklore, fantasy, historical events, and her own life into captivating stories for children and young adults. Yolen moved frequently in her childhood, to California, Virginia, and back to New York, due to her father’s PR work for Hollywood and his absence while fighting in WWII. She graduated Smith in 1960 and earned an MEd from the University of Massachusetts in 1976, working as an editor for several years before turning to writing. She published her first children’s book, Pirates in Petticoats, at age 22, following this with dozens of books for young readers, sometimes as many as three a year. Many, including 1998’s Sister Light, Sister Dark, create new folktales featuring powerful goddesses and heroines. Yolen has won numerous awards, including the Caldecott in 1987 for Owl Moon, the Nebula in 1999 for “Lost Girls,” the World Fantasy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010, and the Sidney Taylor Award in 1988 for The Devil’s Arithmetic, her first book about the Holocaust. In 2017 the Science Fiction Writers of America honored her with the Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award. A founding member of the Western New England Storytellers Guild, Yolen has also served on the board of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.
How to cite this page
Jewish Women's Archive. "Jane Yolen." (Viewed on June 12, 2021) <https://jwa.org/people/yolen-jane>.