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Lisa Graff


Lisa Graff

From Lisa's website:
I grew up in Big Bear, California, which is a ski resort town on top of a mountain (where there are no bears). One day when I was eight years old, I was whining to my mother that I was bored and she told me to "go write a story or something." An hour later I produced a five-page picture book entitled The Strangest Flower, chock-full of spelling mistakes and truly terrible crayon drawings of flowers floating in midair. I still have it.
I continued to write as I grew up, and I loved creating stories and plays. My brother and I even occasionally performed melodramas we'd written for our friends and family (I always played the villain, twirling my mustache with sinister glee). But despite all of that, it never occurred to me that I might grow up to be a writer. My favorite subjects in school were math and science, and I wanted to be a doctor.
I kept up my writing through high school and college, just for fun, and most of what I wrote was for children. While I was studying abroad in Italy my junior year of college, one of my professors helped me translate a children's novel I'd written. That was an invaluable project for me—not only did it improve my Italian skills immensely, but it forced me to examine, in excruciating detail, every word I'd put on paper. That up-close look at my writing made me realize two very important things: one, my novel was awful, and two, I really loved to write. After I graduated from UCLA, I packed up my belongings and headed off to New York, where I began classes at The New School, to earn my MFA in Creative Writing for Children.
After working for five years as an associate editor at Farrar, Straus & Giroux Books for Young Readers, I now write full-time from my home in Pennsylvania. In addition to the books listed here on my website, I write novels for teenagers, under my pseudonym, Isla Neal. I also work as an adjunct professor, teaching a course in Children's Literature at McDaniel College. In my spare time, I like to snuggle with my (slightly insane) cat, Henry, watch cheesy movies, and bake yummy cakes. You can find some of my favorite recipes here!

Lisa Graff

Books by Lisa Graff

by Lisa Graff - Children's, Children's 8-12, Family, Fiction, Youth Fiction

CJ's Aunt Nic is a psychic medium who tours the country speaking to spirits from Far Away, passing on messages from the dearly departed. Aunt Nic's Gift is the only way CJ can talk to her mom, who died just hours after she was born. So when CJ learns that she won't be able to speak to her mother anymore, even with Aunt Nic's help, she's determined to find a work-around. She sets off on road trip with her new friend Jax to locate the one object that she believes will tether her mother's spirit back to Earth...but what she finds along the way challenges every truth she's ever known. Ultimately, CJ has to sort out the reality from the lies.

by Lisa Graff - Children's, Children's 8-12, Youth Fiction

Winnie's last day of fourth grade ended with a pretty life-changing surprise. That was the day Winnie’s parents got divorced and decided that Winnie would live three days a week with each of them and spend Wednesdays by herself in a treehouse smack between their houses, to divide her time perfectly evenly. It was the day Winnie’s seed of frustration with her parents was planted, a seed that grew until it felt like it was as big as a tree itself. By the end of fifth grade, Winnie decides that the only way to change things is to barricade herself in her treehouse until her parents come to their senses --- and her friends decide to join. It’s kids versus grown-ups and no one wants to back down first. 

Written by Lisa Graff with illustrations by Lauren Castillo - Children's, Children's 4-7, Fiction

As the day comes to an end, bedtime draws near. But the little boy in this book is quite sure it is NOT time for sleeping. As each piece of his evening routine is completed --- helping with the dishes, playing with the dog, getting into pajamas, brushing teeth with Dad, being tucked in by Mom, and listening to a story --- he becomes a little more certain: it is definitely not time for sleeping. The question is, when WILL it be time for sleeping? A rhythmic, cumulative text and lush twilit scenes come together to create a perfect bedtime book that will be treasured for generations to come. 

by Lisa Graff - Children's 8-12, Family Life, Fantasy, Friendship, Science Fiction
For Talented kids, the place to be is Camp Atropos, where they can sing songs by the campfire, practice for the Talent show, and take some nice long dips in the lake. But what the kids don't know is that they've been gathered for a reason --- one that the camp's director wants to keep hidden at all costs.
by Lisa Graff - Young Adult 10+, Youth Fiction
Everyone says that middle school is awful, but Trent knows nothing could be worse than the year he had in fifth grade, when a freak accident on Cedar Lake left one kid dead, and Trent with a brain full of terrible thoughts he can't get rid of. Trent’s pretty positive the entire disaster was his fault, so for him middle school feels like a fresh start. If only Trent could make that fresh start happen.
by Lisa Graff

Albie has never been the smartest kid in his class. He has never been the tallest. Or the best at gym. Or the greatest artist. Or the most musical. In fact, Albie has a long list of the things he's not very good at. But then Albie gets a new babysitter, Calista, who helps him figure out all of the things he is good at and how he can take pride in himself.

by Lisa Graff - Fantasy, Fiction

In a slightly magical world where everyone has a Talent, 11-year-old Cady is an orphan with a phenomenal Talent for cake baking. And her destiny leads her to a mysterious address that houses a lost luggage emporium, an old recipe, a family of children searching for their own Talents and a Talent Thief who will alter her life forever. If she's lucky, fate may reunite her with her long-lost parent.