|Laurie Halse Anderson grew up in Syracuse, New York. Ever since she was a young girl, she loved to read books. Even though she tended to read many books at once (a habit that she still has!), her favorite book was J.R.R Tolkein's THE HOBBIT. Now that she's a role model for many young aspiring writers, Laurie has three important things that she thinks kids who want to write should know: 1.) Read everything you can get your hands on, 2.) Be kind to your English teachers, 3.) Don't be one of "those people" who just talks about being a writer--BE a writer! It seems that Laura followed her own advice, because her first young adult novel, SPEAK, was nominated for the 1999 National Book Award for Young People's Literature. When Laurie found out that she had been nominated, she felt "stunned, honored, grateful, giddy, bewildered, amazed, thrilled. And happy. Very happy." Laurie feels that the highest reward any author can receive is to know that he or she has written a good story. Besides this award-winning young adult novel, she has also written three picture books: NO TIME FOR MOTHER'S DAY, TURKEY POX, AND NDITO RUNS, all of which were received with praise. Laurie's favorite writers are Chris Crutcher, Francesca Lia Block, Karen Hesse, Karen Cushman, and Robert Cormier. A fun fact: her grandfather was a forest ranger.