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January 2021 Notable Author: Colby Rodowsky

“I find that a lot of my remembering has to do with books…"  – Colby Rodowsky

Colby Rodowsky (1932-2020), born in Baltimore, grew up in New York, Washington, D.C., and Baltimore again. She spent part of every summer with her grandmother on Virginia’s Eastern Shore, where the days were “long and hot and there was absolutely nothing to do.” Then she discovered the library (it had been a church) which she visited the three afternoons a week it was open as well as her grandmother's attic, that held all the books her mother and aunt had read as children. She began to read.

As a child something kept prodding her to be a writer. Once, when she was about ten years old, she woke her mother in the middle of the night and said, "Who shall I dedicate my first book to?" Her mother said matter of factly, "Why don't you write it first."

Rodowsky attended a Georgetown preparatory school and then enrolled in Maryland's College of Notre Dame. There she edited the college literary magazine, worked on the yearbook, and wrote poetry extensively. She graduated with an English degree and became an elementary school teacher for third grade and special needs children. She dedicated herself as a stay-at-home mom when the first of their six children arrived. As she said, “I got married (to a lawyer who is now a judge) and had six children (five girls and one boy) and learned to make cupcakes and Halloween costumes and peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches.”

One of Rodowsky's former teachers visited and inspired her writing career. "We weren't talking about writing; we were just talking about books," Rodowsky said. Sister Maura “stopped what she was saying and looked at me and said, ‘Just think; you have all your writing still ahead of you.' “So, at 40, when her children were old enough to make their own cupcakes and Halloween costumes, Rodowsky responded to her urges and began to write for children and young adults. Her stories reflect her early life and her young characters live in a tough world characterized by unpredictable events and undependable authority figures. Their efforts to cope with parental abandonment, poverty, and even death, are aided by warm and loving individuals. Frequently, because of their meaning to Rodowsky, libraries and attics pop up in the stories she writes.

She received an American Library Association Notable Book citation for Not My Dog and The Gathering Room, the School Library Journal Best Books of the Year citation for Sydney, Herself; and a Best Books for Young Adults citation for Julie's Daughter, Hannah in Between, and Remembering Mog.

Genre: Children’s Literature

Children's literature or juvenile literature includes stories, books, magazines, and poems made for children. Rodowsky writes stories that feature children going through tough times and being helped and encouraged by an adult outside the immediate family.

Sample Reading List: Not My Dog; The Gathering Room; Julie's Daughter; Hannah in Between; Remembering Mog; Sydney, Herself.

Writer's Prompt - Fun With Words

MWA invites you to have fun writing a young adult going through tough times with the help of an understanding adult and include an attic or a library. Pick or make up a special occasion, venue opening, or dedication and write a poem in honor of the event.

Submit your 100 words by the 25th of the month and receive an MWA Fun With Words Submission Certificate.  

Submit Your FUN WITH WORDS Prompt

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