Stella Pevsner, who is the author of eighteen books for children from 8 to 13 years, was voted Illinois Children’s Book Author of the Year 1987. Among her awards are The Golden Kite; the Carl Sandburg, the Society of Midland Authors, Arkansas State, Virginia State, and the Dorothy Canfield Fisher.
After a career in advertising and freelance writing, she turned to children’s books at the request of a young son who said his favorite author “didn’t write fast enough.” She wrote a book to fulfill her role as “the invincible parent” and enjoyed it so much that after the book-by-request (Break a Leg!) was published she kept on writing.
Early favorites among her books are The Night the Whole Class Slept Over; Me, My Goat and My Sister’s Wedding; A Smart Kid Like You; Cute is a 4-Letter Word; Sister of the Quints; I’m Emma: I’m a Quint. One of her prize-winning novels, And You Give Me a Pain, Elaine describes how a girl survives life with an out-of-bounds teenage sister and then a greater family tragedy. Teen suicide and its after-effects on the family is the subject of another awards book, How Could You Do It, Diane?
Her experiences tutoring at Literacy Chicago led to a book which depicted the life of her Chinese student, an outcast in north Viet Nam during the war. The young girl, along with other children, hid in the jungle during air raids, and finally, was forced to flee with her family. The book, called Sing for Your Father, Su Phan, is treasured by the former student, now a Chicago salon owner, as a record of more difficult times. A continued association with the Chinese family inspired Stella Pevsner to write a book about the friendship between an Asian and Caucasion girl, titled, Would My Fortune Cookie Lie?
Jon, Flora, and the Odd-Eyed Cat describes the secret meetings on summer nights between a boy recovering from rheumatic fever and the never-seen-in-daylight girl who owns a mysterious cat. A girl who feels the whole world has gone berserk is the heroine of Is Everyone Moonburned but Me?
“Although some of my books deal with serious situations in the lives of children, my underlying theme is that there is always hope and yes, humor, in day-to-day living,” the author says. In her frequent speeches to school children, she urges them to do their best since, in the words of Samuel Boswell, “The future is purchased by the present.” She hopes that kids who enjoy her books will be encouraged to go on reading forever.