THE FORMAL BIO
Gennifer Choldenko's first novel, Notes from a Liar and Her Dog, was a School Library Journal Best Book of the Year and a California Book Award winner. Her second novel, Al Capone Does My Shirts, was a Newbery Honor Book and a School Library Journal, Kirkus, and Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year. Al Capone Does My Shirts has sold more than a million copies worldwide. It has been on the New York Times, Booksense, and Publishers Weekly bestseller lists. Her most recent picture book, A Giant Crush (illustrated by Melissa Sweet), was published in 2011. If a Tree Falls at Lunch Period, an ALA notable recording, just came out in paperback and her newest novel Al Capone Shines My Shoes—a sequel to the beloved Al Capone Does My Shirts—is a Kirkus, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Chicago Public Library Best of the Best for 2009. Her first fantasy novel, No Passengers Beyond This Point was called “a fast-paced mind bender” and a “Wonderfully imagined adventure story.” Her newest novel, Al Capone Does My Homework, the last book in the Al Capone trilogy, will be available in August 2013. Gennifer’s books have been translated into thirteen languages.
WHAT GENNIFER SAYS ABOUT HERSELF
How did a girl named Snot-Nose end up publishing children’s books?
Here are the facts as I know them . . .
I am the youngest of four kids, all of whom have big mouths. We were so loud that once a lady asked my brother if our mother was deaf.
She was not.
The only sibling who did not have the trademark Johnson big mouth was my sister, Gina, who had Autism. My parents worked very hard to try to figure out how to help Gina, but being the parent of a child with severe Autism is like riding a unicycle in an earthquake.
Since I was the youngest, I spent a lot of time by myself making up words, stories, songs, and jokes (known as Gennifer Jokes), none of which made a lot of sense. Luckily, I kept most of these strange imaginings to myself.
After graduating from Brandeis University with a degree in English, I went to work writing advertising. I spent my days trying to convince people to take out a second mortgage or upgrade their printer or buy death and dismemberment insurance. I wrote copy for seven years until all of my words began to sound like the work of a big mouth twelve-year-old. At which point I went to Art School. With a second degree from Rhode Island School of Design. I was supposed to get my portfolio together, but instead I wrote my first novel. (I do my best work when I’m supposed to be doing something else.) And that was the beginning. I have been a twelve-year old for twenty years now. I have no plans to turn thirteen.