Many authors I meet knew from an early age that they wanted to make books. Not me. But books were still the biggest treasure of my childhood…
As a kid in Winter Park, Florida, I devoured books. My big sisters, Gail, Patty, and Janet, taught me to read as we played school. I read for hours every day, often in this comfy flowered chair.
My parents were super strict, and my home wasn’t that happy. Thank goodness for sisters, libraries, and books! Books entertained me, kept me company, and showed me the whole world–a bigger, different world. They were my best friends. In fact, books were so magical that it never occurred to me that actual people wrote them.
Besides reading and spying on my sisters, I spent my free time biking, swimming, and “training” family pets, from our dog, Trixie, to Crazy Legs, our rabbit. My family hiked on the Appalachian Trail and skied a few times in Colorado and California. I loved exploring the world–and I still do!
I got good grades in school, but I didn’t actually realize that writing could be fun! That didn’t happen until college, where I discovered creative writing. After graduating from the University of Central Florida, I became an editor and writer for grown-ups before teaching English and rediscovering my love for children’s books. When my husband, Randy, and I moved to Minnesota and had two daughters, I fell in love with picture books. I’ve never looked back.
I still love writing picture books, and Randy and our daughters, Annabelle and Maddie, have provided plenty of inspiration over the years!
Click to enlarge a photo, and then right click to download the hi-res image.
For the Press
Bios of Laura
Short Bios (50–70 words)
For children’s events: Minnesota author Laura Purdie Salas has written more than 135 books, including Lion of the Sky, Clover Kitty Goes to Kittygarten, and Snowman-Cold=Puddle. Laura loves nature, donuts, and playing with words. She also loves to get kids excited about reading and writing. For more info, please visit laurasalas.com.
For educators’ events: Former teacher Laura Purdie Salas knows small picture books and poems can make a huge impact. She’s written more than 135 books for kids, including Lion of the Sky (Kirkus Best Books; Parents Magazine Best Books of the Year), the Can Be… series (Bank Street Best Books; IRA Teachers’ Choice), and BookSpeak! (Minnesota Book Award; NCTE Notable). Laura loves sharing inspiration and practical tips with educators. laurasalas.com
For writers’ events: Laura Purdie Salas has written more than 135 books for kids, including Zap! Clap Boom!, If You Were the Moon, Water Can Be…, and BookSpeak! Her books have earned the Minnesota Book Award, NCTE Notables, starred reviews, and more. She offers resources for children’s writers at https://laurasalas.com/writing-for-children/. She loves sharing her experiences (warts and all), process, and insights with children’s writers both online and in person. laurasalas.com
Longer Bio (250 words)
Laura Purdie Salas is a former English teacher turned children’s author and poet. Laura’s written more than 135 books for kids, including Lion of the Sky (Kirkus Best Books and Parents Magazine Best Books of the Year), the Can Be… series (Bank Street Best Books, IRA Teachers’ Choice), and BookSpeak! (Minnesota Book Award, NCTE Notable). Laura’s passion is picture books, and she especially loves writing poetry and nonfiction.
Laura was born and raised in Florida, but she and her husband, Randy, moved to Minnesota shortly after college. She loves experiencing all four seasons (yes, winter too!). While reading with her daughters, Annabelle and Madeleine, Laura fell in love with picture books. Books had been her best friends when she was a child, and she loves to contribute to the world of children’s books as an adult. Poetry and nonfiction are her favorite genres, but she’s always trying new things.
Laura regularly visits schools in person and virtually in order to get kids excited about reading and writing. She’s also a frequent library storytime presenter. As a former classroom educator, she loves talking with teachers and librarians and attends national conferences to connect with them and share her books.
When Laura’s not reading or writing, you can find her wandering outdoors, knitting, playing kalimba, and doodling. She’s good at only one of those four things! She also loves watching baking competition shows, eating sweets, and playing board games and word games with her family. Visit Laura online at laurasalas.com.
Interviews and Info
- How to Pronounce My Name
- What Libraries Meant to Me as a Child, in The Pilot Independent
- Meet Laura’s Childhood Family, from Friend Friday with Kirby Larson
- Watery Memories and Why We Need to Help Kids Fall in Love with the Earth, from Friend Friday with Kirby Larson
- Nonfiction Writers Aren’t Robots, from Celebrate Science with Melissa Stewart
- How Books Change Us, on Nerdy Book Club
- My Favorite Research Story, from Celebrate Science with Melissa Stewart
- The Role of Fun and Games in Writing, from the Mackin Blog
- 3 of My Writing Rituals (sort of) – on Teaching Authors
Awards and Honors
Charlotte Zolotow Honor Book; CCBC Best Books of 2024; Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection; Minnesota Book Award Finalist; California Reading Association: Eureka! Gold Medal
If You Want to Knit Some Mittens
Nominated by Tennessee librarians for the Volunteer State Book Award
Clover Kitty Goes to Kittygarten
Complex Chinese edition
Secrets of the Loon
Winner of the 2021 Riverby Award for nature writing; 2020 Bank Street Best Books; Jeanette Fair Book Award Nominee; Northeast Minnesota Book Award Nominee
Lion of the Sky
Booklist starred review; Kirkus starred review; Parents Magazine Best Kids’ Books of 2019; Kirkus Best Picture Books of 2019; Horn Book‘s Top Ten Books for Summer Reading; NCTE Poetry Notables; Center for Children’s Books Gryphon Honor Book
Junior Library Guild selection; New York Public Library’s Best Books for Kids 2019; NCTE Poetry Notables; Korean edition; bilingual Chinese edition
In the Middle of the Night
NCTE Poetry Notables
Meet My Family!
Wisconsin State Reading Association Picture This pick
If You Were the Moon
Pennsylvania Keystone to Reading Primary Book; finalist for the 2018 AAAS/Subaru SB&F Prize in Science Children’s Books; New York Public Library Best Books for Kids 2017; Scholastic Book Club Edition; Japanese edition; Texas Library Association Texas Topaz Reading List for nonfiction gems
Water Can Be…
Charlotte Zolotow Highly Commended title; starred reviews in Kirkus and Publishers Weekly; Minnesota Book Award Finalist; Texas Library Association’s 2×2 List; ALSC’s Building Steam with Dia book list; Houston ISD Name That Book Contest; RIF’s 2015 Multicultural Booklist; Nerdy Award for Poetry; Finalist for KRA’s Bill Martin, Jr. Picture Book Award; Chinese, Korean, and Thai Editions
A Leaf Can Be…
Bank Street Best Books; IRA Teachers’ Choice; NCTE Notable Children’s Book; Minnesota Book Award Finalist; Scholastic Book Club selection; Riverby Award for Nature Books for Young Readers; SCBWI Golden Kite Honor Book; Finalist for KRA’s Bill Martin, Jr. Picture Book Award; Scholastic Book Club Edition; Chinese, Korean, and Thai Editions
BookSpeak! Poems About Books
Minnesota Book Award; NCTE Notables; Bank Street Best Books; Librarians’ Choice; Eureka! Gold Medal; Honor Book – Gelett Burgess Award; White Ravens; Nerdy Award for Poetry
Stampede! Poems to Celebrate the Wild Side of School
Minnesota Book Award Finalist; Honor Book, Paterson Prize for Books for Young People
Write Your Own Poetry
Association of Educational Publishers Distinguished Achievement Award Winner
Eight Great Planets!
American Astronautical Society Eugene M. Emme Jr. Award
Picture Yourself Writing Poetry
International Reading Association Teachers′ Choices List; TriState Young Adult Review Committee Books of Note
- Work-for-hire books for the educational market (more than 100 titles)
- Assessment passages (more than 500 passages over many years–mostly for K‑5)
- Item writing
- Developing teacher materials
- Manuscript critiques
- Writing poetry for choral compositions
- Writing magazine and newspapers articles
- Teaching (I’m a former 8th-grade English teacher, and I’ve taught adults interested in writing for kids)