First of all, this list includes illustrators, but if you look them up in our on-line catalog, you will see that they are listed under "authors." The authors listed have some sort of connection with Takoma Park, but only a few are currently living here. Websites for these authors and also others who live in the D.C. area can be cunningly tracked down by going to the site of the Children's Book Guild of Washington.
Claudia Mills lived on Birch Avenue for many years. Her earlier fiction books reflect life in a town like Takoma Park - her more recent ones, Boulder, Colorado, where she lives now. Her picture book, Phoebe’s Parade, was inspired by our 4th of July parade and is dedicated to the children of Takoma Park. She has also written the delightful series of readers featuring Gus and Grandpa.
Katherine Paterson is our most famous Takoma Park children’s author. Her husband John was the pastor at the T.P Presbyterian Church for a number of years. She has written many wonderful fiction books including two Newbery Award winners. The famous Bridge to Terabithia was inspired by the life and death of Lisa, her son David’s friend at Takoma Park Elementary School. The Great Gilly Hopkins takes place in “Thomson Park,” a thinly-disguised T.P. She has also written non-fiction , quasi-fairy tales, and readers.
Gene Inyart Namovicz was a close friend of Katherine Paterson’s, and she was also a very good friend to our Library. Her first books were written under her maiden name, but we have put them all under the name Namovicz. She has four fiction titles on our shelves, though a friend may be sending us more.
Phyllis Naylor is also a friend of Claudia, Katherine, and Gene. She may be as famous as Katherine Paterson on account of her Alice books. She lives in Bethesda, but her recent prequels concerning Alice show Alice living in Takoma Park. I don’t know when Alice moved!
Miriam Cohen must have lived in Takoma Park many years ago. Ellen Arnold-Robbins remembers her checking out books here. I had no idea! She wrote those wonderful little school stories in the picture book section, illustrated by Lillian Hoban, books like Will I have a friend? More recently she has written stories about Mimmy and Sophie ( one amongst the picture books and one in juvenile fiction.)
Enid Romanek is a Takoma Park illustrator who wrote and illustrated the picture book Teddy. She also illustrated an African folktale, The First Morning.
Jill McElmurry is an illustrator who lived in Takoma Park for a short while. I don’t know where she lives now. Her picture book is called Mad About Plaid , but she has also illustrated a book of poems as well as the best Hannukah storybook I have ever read.
Beth Baker, who has lived in Takoma Park a long time, has written Sylvia Earle, Guardian of the Sea about the famous “living legend” marine biologist .
Denis J. Hauptly once lived in Takoma Park - does he still? If you don’t read fiction at all (!!) , you could tackle one of his books on the Constitutional Convention, on the history of the western world, or Vietnam, or Puerto Rico.
From the adult side, check out Beowabbit,a parody which was published in T.P.by Centa Press. Or one of the sci-fi books by Roger MacBride Allen. There are other Takoma Park authors who have published books for adults that older kids might possibly enjoy - ask a Librarian! And tell us who we missed on this list, so we can fix our omissions and mistakes.
P.S. I have found a wonderful storytelling blog by a person who I think once lived in Takoma Park. Check it out !
Two additions to our list of Takoma Park authors and illustrators! Hally Childs reminded me of Abby Bardi's The Book of Fred, which she loved (so did I.) Though it is catalogued as an adult book, it is a marvelous book for "young adults," about 15-year-old Mary Fred who was raised in an isolated fundamentalist sect. Abby Bardi writes the "Sin of the Month" column for the Takoma Voice.
Paige Billin-Frye is an artist who lives in Takoma D.C. She often makes collages and 3-dimensional pieces that are photographed for picture books. She led a workshop in this technique some years back here at the Library. Some watercolor illustrations cane be seen in this mini-on-line portfolio.