Born: July 29, 1945
Ohio connection: Birth
Sharon Creech, a writer of more than 20 picture books for children and novels for young adults (YA), was born and raised in South Euclid, Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland. She grew up there as part of, as she says, “a noisy and rowdy family.” Relatives told stories around the kitchen table and young Sharon learned to exaggerate and embellish because if she hadn’t, her story would be drowned out by someone else’s more exciting one. Creech wrote of what it was like to grow up in such a family Absolutely Chaos (1990). Sharon Creech graduated from Hiram College in 1967 and, after receiving her M.A. in English from George Mason University in 1979, Creech moved to Thorpe, England where she taught English at a day/boarding school for children of American expatriates. Three years later she married Lyle D. Rigg, a fellow school staffer with Ohio roots.
Sharon Creech is the first American author to win the CILIP Carnegie Medal (British) the first person to win both the Carnegie and the Newbery Medal (American) for outstanding books for children and young adults. Her books deal with a variety of themes, some specific to adolescence, like growth and self-actualization, and others have more universal themes, like trust, empathy, and death. Her first three books, Absolutely Chaos (1990), The Recital (1990) and Nickel Malley (1991), were published in England (the latter two were intended for older adults and bore her married name, Sharon Rigg). Creech moved with her family to Switzerland. After a few years in Switzerland, they returned to England, where Lyle Rigg was a headmaster and Creech a teacher and writer. During this period, Creech published Walk Two Moons (1994), which won many awards, including the Newbery Medal, the United Kingdom Reading Association Award, and the United Kingdom’s Children’s Book Award. In 1998, after 18 years abroad, Creech and her family returned to the United States.
In 2002, Creech became the first American writer to win the Carnegie Medal for her book Ruby Holler. Other books by Creech include: Chasing Redbird (1997), Bloomability (1998), The Wanderer (2000), Love That Dog (2001), Heartbeat (2004), Replay (2005), Hate That Cat (2008), The Boy on the Porch (2013), and her latest, Moo (2016).
Sharon Creech lives with her husband in Maine; they have two grown children. She hopes that she will continue to write for a very long time.
Billee Murray Denny Poetry Award, Lincoln College, IL, 1988, for “Cleansing”; Best Books, School Library Journal, 1994, Notable Children’s Books, American Library Association (ALA), Children’s Book Award (England), U.K. Reading Association Award, Newbery Medal, ALA, all 1995, W. H. Smith Award, 1996, Young Readers Award, and Virginia State Reading Association, Heartland Award, Sequoia Award, and Literaturhaus Award, Austria, all 1997, all for Walk Two Moons; Whitbread Award shortlist, 1997, for Chasing Redbird; Christopher Award, 2000, and Newbery Honor Book, 2001, for The Wanderer; Christopher Award, 2002, for Love that Dog; Carnegie Medal, 2003, and Rebecca Caudill Young Readers’ Book Award, second place, 2005, both for Ruby Holler; Carnegie Medal nomination, 2005, for Heartbeat.