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About Steven Kroll
Steven grew up in New York City, on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Steven's parents were very stylish. His father had a mustache and wore suits with a vest and a watch chain. His mother wore fashionable dresses and big hats. She was a great storyteller, which is probably where his love of telling stories began.
But he also had his Upper West Side neighborhood, a wonderful ethnic stew of Jewish, Latino, Chinese, and Viennese. Wandering those streets, experiencing the restaurants and the pastry shops, the delicatessens and the movie theater, the corner drug store and the corner book shop, Steven began to recognize a wider world, a world outside his own that would make him want to tell stories, travel, and be a writer.
Many of his books have come out of that neighborhood. The kids in his building all played downstairs together, under the watchful eye of Gordon, the doorman. The sharing they did can be found in THE BIGGEST PUMPKIN EVER and its sequels. The bullying, followed by sharing, can be found in JUNGLE BULLIES. The spark for his two novels of Italian immigrants in 1890's New York, SWEET AMERICA and WHEN I DREAM OF HEAVEN, came from hours listening to his night watchman, Tony, tell stories in the lobby after my Saturday night dates.
And there was Riverside Park, just a block away, where he played stickball near the railroad yards and cowboys and Indians on the green lawns, and where he watched an endless parade of dogs that morphed into an endless parade of dog stories, from IS MILTON MISSING?, his very first book, to A TALE OF TWO DOGS and POOCH ON THE LOOSE, his ode to New York at Christmastime.
Steven attended Hunter College Elementary School and McBurney. From there, he went to Harvard, graduating with a degree in American History and Literature. He decided to become an editor instead of a writer, improving other people's books instead of writing his own. But finally, he had to get out of publishing and write. He moved to Maine and struggled, writing now for both children and adults. Four years later, back in New York, Steven met a children's book editor named Margery Cuyler, who was the first to publish his work. He wrote 100 books for children, everything from picture books to American history to novels for young adults.
Steven married a journalist, Kathleen Beckett, and lived in NYC and an old carriage house in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. He spoke at schools and conferences all over the world.
Steven Kroll passed away on March 8, 2011 following complications from surgery. He was the beloved author of the New York Times Bestseller's list "Biggest Ever" series from Scholastic. Two writing awards have been established in Steven's name: the Steven Kroll/PEN American Center Award for the best text of an illustrated children's book, and the Steven Kroll Writing Award, given to a deserving student at St. Joseph's School in the Bronx.
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