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Author Profile: Katherine Applegate

Each month, we research our authors so that you can learn more about their background and how their stories came to life.



Where she comes from & where she is now: Applegate was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan. She has lived all across the US: in Texas, Florida, California, Minnesota, Illinois, North Carolina. She also lived abroad in Pelago, Italy, for a year. She now lives in Irvine, California, with her husband and her three children.

Where she studied: Applegate attending the University of Texas at Austin.

You might know her from: Applegate is the author of an astounding number of works (find the complete list at this link here ). In 2013, she won the Newbery Medal for her book The One and Only Ivan , a 2012 children’s novel about a silverback gorilla named Ivan who lives in a cage at the mall.

When’s she’s not writing: a unique job Applegate used to hold - writing psychology quizzes for a now out-of-print teen magazine.

Applegate on writing: [on the role of hunger in Crenshaw ]: “I went into this book after visiting a school for homeless children in San Diego. It focuses only on homeless kids. Their stories stayed with me. I wanted to explore the issue of the working poor in America. So often when you visit a Title 1 school, you see these kids whose parents are struggling. They are so aware—they know about money. It is an issue that we really don’t talk about, [and we don’t talk about] the strain that it places on the family.

In this case, I wanted the family to be an intact, loving family, with parents who are working multiple jobs just to make ends meet. Teachers and librarians see families like that all the time. They see kids coming to school hungry. They see kids who don’t know where they’ll be sleeping that night. These kids don’t want to hear about income inequality or hidden hunger. They just want a friend to tell them everything’s going to be ok. For Jackson, that friend just happens to be Crenshaw, a very large, imaginary cat.” - Applegate

There’s so much more to know: Click this link to find a video of Applegate explaining the elements of the cover design for Crenshaw