As a kid, Margaret Peterson Haddix was a real bookworm: she remembers her mother asking her to please put down her books to enjoy some of the scenery on family vacations. Haddix was so attached to reading, that she considered the characters in books like Harriet the Spy and Little Women to be her friends. Haddix herself writes YA fiction that critics have called "absorbing and realistic;" science fiction that is "chilling and intelligent," and younger grades fiction that is "sympathetic but not simplistic."
You can watch the interview below, view the interview transcript, read a short biography on Margaret Peterson Haddix, or see a selected list of her children's books. (This video is also available on YouTube and iTunes.)
Margaret Peterson Haddix grew up on a farm in a small town in Ohio, in a family of farmers and bookworms, and she read widely: classic fiction, but also the newspaper and Time magazine. She also found time to participate in activities that she later drew on as material for her books: school plays; playing flute and piccolo in the marching, pep and symphonic bands; singing in the school choir; working on the school newspaper; running track; and volunteering with her 4-H club. At Miami University (Ohio), she worked on the school paper and double majored in Creative Writing and Journalism.
After college, Haddix worked for a while as a newspaper reporter, but longed to write stories from her imagination. She eventually took the leap to writing fiction and experienced her share of rejection, before having a book accepted. With young children, Haddix had to write those earlier stories around the children's nap times.
Her kids are now teenagers, so Haddix has more time to write, including the Shadow Children series, the Missing series, Dexter the Tough, and an installment of the wildly successful The 39 Clues series.
Margaret Peterson Haddix and her family live in Columbus, Ohio.