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About Steven Kroll
Steven grew up in New York City, on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Steven's parents were very stylish. His father had a mustache and wore suits with a vest and a watch chain. His mother wore fashionable dresses and big hats. She was a great storyteller, which is probably where his love of telling stories began.
But he also had his Upper West Side neighborhood, a wonderful ethnic stew of Jewish, Latino, Chinese, and Viennese. Wandering those streets, experiencing the restaurants and the pastry shops, the delicatessens and the movie theater, the corner drug store and the corner book shop, Steven began to recognize a wider world, a world outside his own that would make him want to tell stories, travel, and be a writer.
Many of his books have come out of that neighborhood. The kids in his building all played downstairs together, under the watchful eye of Gordon, the doorman. The sharing they did can be found in THE BIGGEST PUMPKIN EVER and its sequels. The bullying, followed by sharing, can be found in JUNGLE BULLIES. The spark for his two novels of Italian immigrants in 1890's New York, SWEET AMERICA and WHEN I DREAM OF HEAVEN, came from hours listening to his night watchman, Tony, tell stories in the lobby after my Saturday night dates.
And there was Riverside Park, just a block away, where he played stickball near the railroad yards and cowboys and Indians on the green lawns, and where he watched an endless parade of dogs that morphed into an endless parade of dog stories, from IS MILTON MISSING?, his very first book, to A TALE OF TWO DOGS and POOCH ON THE LOOSE, his ode to New York at Christmastime.
Steven attended Hunter College Elementary School and McBurney. From there, he went to Harvard, graduating with a degree in American History and Literature. He decided to become an editor instead of a writer, improving other people's books instead of writing his own. But finally, he had to get out of publishing and write. He moved to Maine and struggled, writing now for both children and adults. Four years later, back in New York, Steven met a children's book editor named Margery Cuyler, who was the first to publish his work. He wrote 100 books for children, everything from picture books to American history to novels for young adults.
Steven married a journalist, Kathleen Beckett, and lived in NYC and an old carriage house in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. He spoke at schools and conferences all over the world.
Steven Kroll passed away on March 8, 2011 following complications from surgery. He was the beloved author of the New York Times Bestseller's list "Biggest Ever" series from Scholastic. Two writing awards have been established in Steven's name: the Steven Kroll/PEN American Center Award for the best text of an illustrated children's book, and the Steven Kroll Writing Award, given to a deserving student at St. Joseph's School in the Bronx.
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Books By Steven Kroll
A beautiful doll with long, dark curls and a velvet coat has been passed from owner to owner: a spoiled little girl, a farmer and his wife, a woman who works the ring-toss booth at a county fair, a chauffeur, a waiter, and a dirty-faced boy. Keep me and love me and give me a name, begs the doll. Finally, her luck changes when she meets a little girl who appreciates her and takes her home. Originally published in 1983, the slightly shortened text is beautifully interpreted in Dan Andreasen’s nostalgic oil-painted illustrations.
Great balls of fire! Drago wants to be in the flying contest. But he hasn’t learned to fly yet, and his family says he’s too little to learn. That doesn’t stop Drago! When his family’s asleep, he tries and tries, but SPLAT…he fails. Then he asks a bird to help him, and they practice, practice, practice. Comic book-style illustrations rendered in pencil, ink, and Photoshop bring Drago to life and show that being little can’t stop big dreams.
Bart loves his owner Max, but it’s Christmastime in the city, and Bart longs for some adventure. So when Max is busy bringing in his Christmas tree, Bart gets his chance and becomes a pooch on the loose! From a dance with the famed Rockettes to skating in Central Park, Bart experiences the dazzling New York sights and learns along the way that at home with Max is where Bart truly belongs.
Even bullies can learn to share.
Why should a large animal get away with bullying a smaller one? That’s what happens when Elephant takes Hippo’s spot in the pond, which causes Hippo to pick on Lion, Lion to pick on Leopard, and Leopard to pick on Monkey. Vincent Nguyen’s illustrations-a mix of watercolor, charcoal pencil, and digital techniques enrich the story as Monkey asks his mother for advice, and she comes up with just the right solution to solve the problem.
It’s the first night of Hanukkah, and the mouse family secretly looks on as Mr. Silman lights the first Hanukkah candle. Then they watch Rachel Silman open a gift from her family, a beautiful dollhouse with a wraparound porch and tiny lace curtains. “Just the right size for us,” whispers Mindy Mouse.
While the Silmans are asleep each night, the mouse family explores the dollhouse. On each night of the holiday, they enjoy the small pieces of furniture and dishes of food that magically appear. Finally, on the eighth night of Hanukkah, a small miracle occurs!
Pinch is a packrat. He collects lots of stuff. When his friends decide to hold a tag sale, Pinch is horrified. The last thing he wants to do is recycle his things. But then he realizes that he can make money at a tag sale—enough money to buy more stuff!
How Pinch changes and finds a way to beautify his town will reinforce the benefits of practicing the three R’s—reduce, reuse, and recycle!
Rain! Rain! Rain! The kids at school are bored…until Jimmy dreams up a game for them to play. He’ll start a story and pass it on to Ava, who will pass it on to Susan. The story will travel around the classroom until all the kids have a chance to add to the story. So, Jimmy starts: “Last Saturday, I was eating breakfast, when all of a sudden a tyrannosaurus came crashing through the window. And then what happens?” S.D. Schindler’s delightful watercolor illustrations provide delicious details as twelve children and a tyrannosaurus romp through the pages.