Ackerman, Karen

Born: October 9, 1951

Ohio connection: Birth


Karen Ackerman opens a window into the American past through books for children.  Born on October 9, 1951, in Cincinnati, Ohio, she graduated from Woodward High School in 1969.   Ackerman’s first children’s book was published in 1982.  She has since written over 25 books for children, including The Night Crossing (1994), By the Dawn’s Early Light (1994), Leaves in October (1991), The Song and Dance Man (1988), and Flannery Row (1986).  Ackerman’s books have benefited from the work of many talented illustrators, among them Stephen Gammell, who illustrated The Song and Dance Man, and is the illustrator of two Caldecott Honor Books, The Relatives Came by Cynthia Rylant and Where the Buffaloes Begin by Olaf Baker.

Ackerman lives in Ohio, barely five miles from where she was raised.  She loves to read and encourages young authors and illustrators not to give up their dreams due to rejection: “Sometimes you’re the pigeon; and sometimes you’re the statue!  The important thing is to keep writing!”


Parents’ Choice Award, 1986, for Flannery Row; Society of Midland Authors Award for Juvenile Fiction, 1989, for Song and Dance Man; Caldecott Medal, 1989, for Song and Dance Man.