Born: July 17, 1946
Ohio connection: Birth
Chris Crutcher was born in Dayton, Ohio on July 17, 1946, but didn’t stay there long. His father John (Crutch) had decided to leave his United States Air Force career (after piloting more than 30 successful B-17 bombing missions in World War II). At only six weeks old Chris and his older brother moved with their parents to their mom’s (Jewell Morris Crutcher) hometown of Cascade, Idaho (a tiny logging town north of Boise). He graduated from Eastern Washington State College (now EWU) with a BA in psychology and sociology. He later earned his teaching credential and taught primary and secondary school in Washington State and California. Early in the 1970’s, Crutcher accepted a position as the director of Oakland, California’s Lakeside School where he served racially diverse at-risk K-12 students for almost a decade before returning to the Pacific Northwest to write his first book, Running Loose in the early 1980’s. When Crutcher left Lakeside in 1981 and settled in Spokane, Running Loose was already written, but he still needed a job. So he applied for a position with the Spokane Community Health Center and Child Protection team, where he saw his therapeutic abilities take flight. In addition to being a novelist, Crutcher still works as a therapist and child protection advocate.
School Library Journal’s best books for young adults list for The Crazy Horse Electric Game, 1988. On the ALA list of best books for young adults several times: Running Loose, 1983; Stotan!, 1986; Chinese Handcuffs, 1989; Athletic Shorts, 1991; Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes, 1993; Ironman, 1995; and The Crazy Horse Electric Game, 1988. Michigan Library Association Best Young Adult Book for Athletic Shorts, 1992. ALAN award for Significant Contribution to Adolescent Literature. National Intellectual Freedom Award, NCA of English, 1998. ALA Margaret A. Edwards Award for lifetime achievement in writing for teenagers, 2000. Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association and Washington State Book awards for Whale Talk, 2002. Writers Who Make a Difference Award (Writer Magazine), 2004. Catholic Library Association’s St. Katharine Drexel Award, 2005.