The 100 Most Popular Young Adult Authors: Biographical Sketches and Bibliographies

By Bernard A. Drew | Go to book overview

Barbara Wersba

Family drama

Chicago, Illinois
August 19, 1932

The Dream Watcher

Writing is the process of “unlearning all of the prejudices and conventional ideas that we're taught when we're young,” Barbara Wersba told Paul Janeczko. “To be a writer you have to see the world for the first time and pretend you know nothing about it. You have to stay very fresh and open, and you have to get rid of the preconceptions formed in childhood. Writing is a very primitive and simple thing. People tend to complicate it and intellectualize it, but it's mostly a sensuous response to nature rather than an intellectual one.”

Wersba attended Bard College and studied at the Neighborhood Playhouse and the Paul Mann Actors Workshop. She has worked as an actress in radio and television, summer stock, off-Broadway, and touring companies. She also has taught writing. She has been an active writer since 1960.

“Writing is a process of self-discovery,” Wersba continued. “Many writers, if you read what they say about themselves, say they write a book to find out what they think. I write a book to find out who I am. It's a process of awakening; one of the richest ways of finding out what you think and who you are. Every book is yourself. You may disguise the characters, but they're all you and it's a very exciting experience for those who can stick with it.”

Her first young adult novel was The Dream Watcher (1968), which J. A. Morrison said “explores a fine relationship between a suicidal young dropout, son of a neurotic, thwarted 'House Beautiful' mother and an alcoholic father, and an octogenarian ex-actress recluse—or so we thought.”

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The 100 Most Popular Young Adult Authors: Biographical Sketches and Bibliographies
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Introduction xxvii
  • Joan Aiken 1
  • Louisa May Alcott 8
  • Lloyd Alexander 12
  • V. C. Andrews 17
  • Piers Anthony 22
  • Avi 30
  • Jay Bennett 35
  • Cynthia Blair 39
  • Francesca Lia Block 42
  • Judy Blume 45
  • Sue Ellen Bridgers 50
  • Bruce Brooks 53
  • Betsy Byars 56
  • Alice Childress 61
  • James L. Collier Christopher Collier 65
  • Caroline B. Cooney 69
  • Susan Cooper 73
  • Robert Cormier 77
  • Chris Crutcher 83
  • Richie Tankersley Cusick 86
  • Paula Danziger 89
  • Peter Dickinson 93
  • Franklin W. Dixon 98
  • Lois Duncan 109
  • Paula Fox 115
  • Jean Craighead George 120
  • Eileen Goudge 124
  • Bette Greene 128
  • Rosa Guy 131
  • Lynn Hall 135
  • Virginia Hamilton 139
  • Jamake Highwater 143
  • S. E. Hinton 147
  • Isabelle Holland 151
  • H. M. Hoover 156
  • Monica Hughes 159
  • Hadley Irwin 163
  • Brian Jacques 167
  • Diana Wynne Jones 170
  • Carolyn Keene 174
  • M. E. Kerr 191
  • Stephen King 197
  • Norma Klein 205
  • Rouald Koertge 211
  • E. L. Konigsburg 214
  • Gordon Korman 217
  • Madeleine L'Engle 220
  • C. S. Lewis 225
  • Robert Lipsyte 230
  • Jack London 234
  • Lois Lowry 240
  • Margaret Mahy 244
  • Ann M. Martin 249
  • Harry Mazer 257
  • Norma Fox Mazer 261
  • Anne Mccaffrey 266
  • Lurlene Mcdaniel 273
  • Robin Mckinley 277
  • Nicholasa Mohr 281
  • Lucy Maud Montgomery 284
  • Walter Dean Myers 289
  • Phyllis Reynolds Naylor 295
  • Joan Lowery Nixon 301
  • Andre Norton 308
  • Scott O'Dell 316
  • Janette Oke 320
  • Francine Pascal 324
  • Katherine Paterson 337
  • Gary Paulsen 341
  • Richard Peck 347
  • Robert Nowton Pack 352
  • Susan Beth Pfeffer 356
  • Christopher Pike 360
  • Janet Quin-Harkin 365
  • Ann Rinaldi 369
  • Cynthia Rylant 372
  • Marilyn Sachs 375
  • J. D. Salinger 378
  • Ouida Sebestyen 382
  • William Sleator 385
  • Gary Soto 388
  • Jerry Spinelli 391
  • R. L. Stine 394
  • Todd Strasser 402
  • Mildred D. Taylor 406
  • Theodore Taylor 409
  • Joyce Carol Thomas 413
  • Julian F. Thompson 416
  • J. R. R. Tolkien 419
  • Mark Twain 423
  • Cynthia Voigt 429
  • Jill Paton Walsh 433
  • Barbara Wersba 436
  • Robert Westall 439
  • Phyllis A. Whitney 443
  • Patricia C. Wrede 448
  • Patricia Wrightson 451
  • Laurence Yep 454
  • Jane Yolen 459
  • Paul Zindel 465
  • Author/Title/Series Index 471
  • Genre Index 527
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