|Even though Christopher Paul Curtis spent 13 years putting doors on cars at the Flint Fisher Body plant after graduating from high school, he never wasted an opportunity to write. Whenever he was on break, he used the time to write early drafts of his first book, THE WATSONS GO TO BIRMINGHAM, 1963. Christopher hated his job, so he used writing as a way to escape the boredom. Little did he know that all his writing and perseverance would later give him the opportunity to write for a living. Born in Flint, Michigan, Christopher was the son of very strict parents who inspired and influenced him greatly throughout his life. He spent most of his childhood and teenage years in Flint. After graduating from high school, he attended the University of Michigan, and won two awards-the Avery Hopwood Prize for major essays, and the Jules Hopwood Prize for an early draft of THE WATSONS GO TO BIRMINGHAM, 1963. As he continued to write while working at the factory, his wife encouraged him to take off a year and write a book. She knew he disliked his job and wanted him to do something he truly loved, so he decided to quit his job and began writing everyday in the library. When he was a young boy he loved being in the library; he adored the world it opened up for him, and would spend hours reading and writing. As he wrote, his son typed up the manuscript so he could concentrate on writing. Christopher had always felt that he was a writer inside, but never had the opportunity to do it full-time. Christopher says that he thinks of himself as a man who has played many parts: Christopher Curtis/Maintenance Man; Christopher Curtis/Factory Worker. But he knew that Christopher Curtis/Writer was inside of him, just waiting to come out. He decided to enter an early draft of his first book in the Delacorte First Young Adult Novel Contest so that he could get the book exposed to a publisher. It paid off! In 1996, he received a Newbery Honor Award and the Coretta Scott King Honor Award for the book. When the prizes for that book were announced, Curtis was working in the library on his second book, BUD, NOT BUDDY, which would later receive the 2000 Newbery Award and the Coretta Scott King Author Award! Curtis tells kids who are interested in writing that they should read and write every chance they get. A fun fact: a song that his daughter wrote appears in the book BUD, NOT BUDDY. He also won a 2008 Newbery Honor for ELIJAH OF BUXTON.