|Mine was an inescapable career. Soon after I was born my family began
to read to me. At five I began to read to myself, and at eight I
read to my new baby sister. I was ten when my mother sold her first
children's book and began writing and illustrating full time. For mom I
served as reader, model, critic and fan. By the time I was thirteen
children's books had become a sort of specialty. In my first job, working
in a bookstore, I recommended titles to parents shopping for
their children. They liked that I still remembered what my favorite
book was in third grade, and I liked being an expert. I continued working
in bookstores throughout highschool and college. And I continued
to deny the inevitable. I didn't want to be a children's writer.
I wanted to be a teacher and an astronaut. I wanted to be a traveler,
translator and social worker. I wanted to be a bookseller.
An editor. A chef. I didn't want to be just like my mom.
When, in college, I discovered joy in writing, I thought to myself, "Okay, you can do this, and you won't really be like your mom. You'll be different. You'll write for adults." So I wrote for adults, and my teachers read it and said, "Have you thought about writing for children?"
I did think about writing for children. I thought, and I wrote, and I graduated. After graduation my parents took me with them to a Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators Convention. I wanted to go and make connections in publishing, the industry I wanted to break in to. (Yes, it involved children's books but was still different enough from mom's job. I mean it was in an office.) During a speech titled "Weathering the Tough Times", I noticed mom jotting notes for a story we'd talked about. I took her notes and rearranged them. We passed them back and forth through the lecture, and at the end we had BEAN.
Six months later, when BEAN and her two sister books sold, I
was working in Boston in Houghton Mifllin Company's Children's Book Department.
My husband was going to school at Rhode Island School of Design and working
with me on more children's book ideas. I had finally embraced what
I'd maybe always known, what I'd been apprenticing for most
of my years: Children's books are my life.
After working for a while as Assistant Editor for Houghton Mifflin, Juvenile Fiction editor for Lucas Licensing, and temporary editor at Chronicle Books, Sarah, along with partner Jane Mason--both with new babies-- struck out on their own. They hav, separately and together, written many books for Scholastic, Simon and Schuster, Chronicle, others. Some of the books have thier names on them, and some have been written under pseudonyms.
As of 2011, Sarah is mother of Emmett, (9 years) and Violet (6). Along with parenting and writing, she heads up a great Eco-literacy program as the "Garden Teacher" at their elementary school in Oakland, California.
Sarah and Nathan during the Christmas holidays, 2000.
Sarah with Emmett at about six weeks.