NYLA 2012 Farewell Luncheon Welcomes Rebecca Stead

Rebecca Stead was lucky enough to attend the kind of elementary school where a person could sit in a windowsill, or even under a table, and read a book, and no one told that person to come out and be serious (well, eventually someone did, but not right away). It was at school that she began writing stories. Much, much later, she became a lawyer (she believed that being a writer was impractical), got married, and started working as a public defender. But she still wrote stories (for adults) when she could find the time. One day, her three-year-old son, though fabulous, accidentally pushed her laptop off the dining-room table, and the stories were gone. Poof.

So. It was time to write something new. Something joyful (to cheer her up: she was pretty grouchy about the lost stories). She went to a bookstore and bought an armload of books that she remembered loving as a kid. She read them, went back to the store, bought more books, and read them.

And then she began to write books for children, and to love writing. She has written three novels, When You Reach Me, winner of the Newbery Medal and the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for Fiction; First Light, a Bank Street College "Best Book for Children," a Junior Library Guild selection, and a New York Public Library "Teen Read," and the recently released Liar & Spy (Wendy Lamb Books, August 2012).