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Sheldon, Dyan (D.M. Quintano)

Sheldon, Dyan (D.M. Quintano)

PERSONAL:

Born in Brooklyn, NY; children: one daughter.

ADDRESSES:

Home—England. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Novelist and author of children's books.

AWARDS, HONORS:

American Library Association Recommended Books for Reluctant Young-Adult Readers designation and New York Public Library Books for the Teen Age designation, both 1999, both for Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen.

WRITINGS:

FOR CHILDREN

A Witch Got On at Paddington Station, illustrated by Wendy Smith, Dutton (New York, NY), 1987.

Alison and the Prince, illustrated by Helen Cusack, Methuen (London, England), 1988.

I Forgot, illustrated by John Rogan, Four Winds Press (New York, NY), 1988.

Jack and Alice, illustrated by Alice Garcia De Lynam, Hutchinson (London, England), 1990.

The Whales' Song, illustrated by Gary Blythe, Hutchinson (London, England), 1990, Dial (New York, NY), 1991.

Harry and Chicken, illustrated by Sue Heap, Walker Books (London, England), 1990, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 1992.

Harry the Explorer, illustrated by Sue Heap, Walker Books (London, England), 1991, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 1992.

Seymour Finds a Home, illustrated by Nigel McMullen, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1991.

Lilah's Monster, illustrated by Wendy Smith, Young Piper (London, England), 1992.

My Brother Is a Visitor from Another Planet, illustrated by Derek Brazell, Viking (London, England), 1992, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 1993.

Sky Watching, illustrated by Graham Percy, Walker Books (London, England), 1992.

Harry's Holiday, illustrated by Sue Heap, Walker Books (London, England), 1992, published as Harry on Vacation, Candlewick Press, 1993.

The Garden, illustrated by Gary Blythe, Hutchinson (London, England), 1993, published as Under the Moon, Dial (New York, NY), 1994.

A Night to Remember, illustrated by Robert Crowther, Walker Books (London, England), 1993.

Only Binky, illustrated by Honey de Lacey, Methuen (London, England), 1993.

Counting Cows, illustrated by Wendy Smith, Hutchinson (London, England), 1994.

Ride On, Sister Vincent, Walker Books (London, England), 1994.

Love, Your Bear, Pete, illustrated by Tania Hurt-Newton, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 1994.

A Bad Place for a Bus Stop, Pan Macmillan (London, England), 1994.

My Brother Is a Superhero, illustrated by Derek Brazell, Viking (London, England), 1994, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 1996.

Elena the Frog, illustrated by Sue Heap, Walker Books (London, England), 1997.

Unicorn Dreams, illustrated by Neil Reed, Dial (New York, NY), 1997.

Lizzie and Charley Go Shopping, Walker Books (London, England), 1999.

Leon Loves Bugs, illustrated by Scoular Anderson, Walker Books (London, England), 2000.

Undercover Angel, Walker Books (London, England), 2000.

Undercover Angel Strikes Again, Walker Books (London, England), 2000.

Clara and Buster Go Moondancing, illustrated by Caroline Anstey, Dorling Kindersley (New York, NY), 2001.

Lizzie and Charley Go to the Movies, Walker Books (London, England), 2001.

He's Not My Dog, illustrated by Kate Sheppard, Walker Books (London, England), 2001.

Lizzie and Charley Go Away for the Weekend, Walker Books (London, England), 2002.

The Last Angel, illustrated by Sophy Williams, Macmillan (London, England), 2003.

Vampire across the Way, Walker Books (London, England), 2004.

Contributor to anthologies, including Funny Stories, Walker Books (London, England), 1995; The Second Storybook Collection, Macdonald (Hemel Hempstead, England), 1995; Stories for Six Year Olds, Walker Books, 1995.

Author's works have been translated into several languages, including Arabic, Bengali, Chinese, Spanish, Vietnamese, and Urdu.

FOR YOUNG ADULTS

Tall, Thin, and Blonde, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 1993.

You Can Never Go Home Anymore ("Hauntings" series), Bantam (London, England), 1993.

Save the Last Dance for Me ("Hauntings" series), Bantam (New York, NY), 1993.

The Boy of My Dreams, Candlewick Press (Boston, MA), 1997.

Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 1999.

And Baby Makes Two, Walker Books (London, England), 2000.

My Perfect Life, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2002.

Planet Janet (also see below), Walker Books (London, England), 2002, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2003.

Sophie Pitt-Turnbull Discovers America, Walker Books (London, England), 2003, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2005.

Planet Janet in Orbit (also see below), Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2004.

(Under name D.M. Quintano) Perfect, Macmillan (London, England), 2005.

Confessions of a Hollywood Star, Walker Books (London, England), 2005, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2006.

I Conquer Britain, Walker Books (London, England), 2006, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2007.

Deep and Meaningful Diaries from Planet Janet (contains Planet Janet and Planet Janet in Orbit), Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2007.

FOR ADULTS

Victim of Love, Heinemann (London, England), 1982, Viking (New York, NY), 1993.

The Dreams of an Average Man, Heinemann (London, England), 1985, Crown (New York, NY), 1986.

My Life as a Whale, Villard (New York, NY), 1992.

On the Road Reluctantly, Little, Brown (London, England), 1995, published as Dream Catching: A Wander 'round the Americas, Abacus (London, England), 1995.

ADAPTATIONS:

Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen was adapted by Gail Parent as a feature film, directed by Sara Sugarman, 2004.

SIDELIGHTS:

After finding success writing two novels for adults, Dyan Sheldon expanded her audience to children and, a decade later, to young adults. A prolific writer, she has penned over thirty books for children as well as over a dozen books for teen readers since beginning her career in children's literature in the late 1980s, and has even seen one of her teen novels, Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen, adapted as a feature film starring actress Lindsay Lohan. Among Sheldon's other books for teens are Tall, Thin, and Blonde, My Perfect Life, and Sophie Pitt-Turnbull Discovers America, while her books Harry and Chicken and My Brother Is a Superhero appeal to elementary-grade readers.

Although Sheldon now makes England her home, she was born in Brooklyn, New York. At age six, she and her family moved to Long Island, where Sheldon's parents hoped that the young girl could experience the benefits of fresh air, sunshine, and the freedom to roam the countryside. Although Sheldon never warmed to her rural surroundings, the move made her more adaptable to change, and after leaving home after high school she spent time in upstate New York, New England, Mississippi, New Jersey, and several New York City boroughs before leaving the United States altogether. As an American in London, she quickly learned that she had many things to learn about culture and language. These experiences helped inspire her young-adult novels I Conquer Britain and Sophie Pitt-Turnbull Discovers America.

In Sophie Pitt-Turnbull Discovers America, a London teen from an affluent family spends the summer in New York City, where things prove far less exciting than she hoped. Trading places with the daughter of her mother's friend from art school, Sophie finds herself taking care of two children and sharing the family's small, chaotic Brooklyn home with a dog, an iguana, and a pig. After learning to accept the differences between British and American culture, the teen makes some new close friends and learns to be more accepting of others in a novel that Kliatt reviewer Claire Rosser dubbed "lighthearted fun."

Sixteen-year-old British teen Janet Bandry is the star of Planet Janet and Planet Janet in Orbit, two novels that unfold in diary form. Janet is frustrated with typical teen issues: annoying parents, unreasonably demanding school teachers, and worries over her place in the world. Responding to their intellectual interests, in Planet Janet Janet and her best friend Disha decide to enter their "Dark Phase" by adopting pseudo-Bohemian posturing that finds them dressing in black, dying their hair purple, piercing their noses, adopting vegetarianism, drowning their melancholy with jazz, and struggling through a challenging literary novel. Janet's self-absorbed journalings reveal other facts that give the novel a poignancy, and also lead readers to the sequel. The teen's summer job, her parents' failing marriage, and Disha's all-consuming romance fill the pages of Planet Janet in Orbit, which finds Janet taking a break from the seriousness of the Dark Side. Praising Janet's "hilarious misadventures" in Planet Janet in Orbit, School Library Journal reviewer Jane Cronkhite recommended Janet's saga for fans of teen writers Meg Cabot and Louise Rennison, while Gillian Engberg predicted in Booklist that Sheldon's "fast-paced, clever writing … will keep teens eagerly reading." Calling Janet "an incredibly witty teen," a Kirkus Reviews writer concluded that Planet Janet in Orbit showcases it author's "deft ability with funny dialogue and a wacky setting, while still delivering a smart story."

Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen takes readers to Woodford, an upper-crust New Jersey suburb, where Manhattan teen Mary Elizabeth Cep finds herself after her parents relocate the family there. Disappointed by the lack of excitement in her new town, Mary soon sees an opportunity: she decides that being the new girl in town is the perfect opportunity to transform herself into sassy fashionista Lola. Hoping to inject excitement into her school, Lola makes a new best friend in Ella, crashes a celebrity concert, and then winds up as a heroine in her own teen drama when she runs afoul of the snobby budding socialite Carla Santini. Calling Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen "hilarious," Booklist contributor Frances Bradburn added that in Lola, Sheldon creates "a real teenager— warped judgment, mercurial moods, and all." The novel's humorous plot pits a "deliciously despicable villainess against an irresistible heroine glittering with wit and charm," noted a Publishers Weekly contributor in another positive review of the novel. In Kliatt, Paula Rohrlick praised the book as "a fast and funny read, narrated by the lively Lola and peopled by realistic characters."

Lola returns in My Perfect Life and Confessions of a Hollywood Star. My Perfect Life finds the outspoken teen planning campaign strategy for Ella, who is running for student council president against the ultra popular Carla. Lola pursues her own dream—becoming a famous stage actress—in My Perfect Life. Lola and Ella have graduated from high school in Confessions of a Hollywood Star, and the larger-than-Woodford world now beckons. Prevented by her mom from attending London's Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, the teen decides to track down a film director shooting his new film in town. Reviewing My Perfect Life, Booklist contributor Anne O'Malley described the novel as "a delightfully zany spoof of high school, politics, and affluent suburbia, capturing teen angst with wit and poignancy." Featuring what Engberg described as "over-the-top high jinks and unlikely, entertaining adventures," Confessions of a Hollywood Star rewards readers expecting the same level of humor generated by Sheldon's previous novels. "Lola's expressive wit and wholesomeness make her an appealing heroine," concluded Erin Schirota in her School Library Journal review of the series.

Sheldon's stories for the upper-elementary grades are My Brother Is a Visitor from Another Planet and My Brother Is a Superhero. The two novels focus on Adam, who finds it frustrating to unsuccessfully measure up to the standards set by his perfect older brother, Keith. Trying to distance himself from Keith, Adam joins his own friends on several adventures and sometimes winds up needing the help Keith is willing to provide. Noting the book's value to reluctant readers, Janice Del Negro wrote in Booklist that the humor in My Brother Is a Superhero "lightens the text, and the plot moves quickly to a satisfactory conclusion."

Geared for younger elementary-grade readers, Sheldon's "Harry" series focuses on a cat-like creature from outer space who, with a human girl named Chicken, has many adventures after landing on Earth. The two meet in Harry and Chicken as Chicken adopts the creature her parents believe is a cat and Harry quickly begins getting into a series of humorous scrapes. The adventures continue in Harry on Vacation in which the two share a camping vacation, and Harry the Explorer. Sheldon's "short, fast-moving story abounds with humorous exaggeration and snappy dialogue," noted a Publishers Weekly contributor in a review of Harry and Chicken.

While Sheldon has become well known for her teen novels in recent years, one of her early works is considered something of a childhood classic. First published in 1991, The Whales' Song describes a young girl's visit to her grandmother's home on the coast. Lilly listens to the stories her grandmother tells about growing up with the whales, recalling that when she left the whales a small gift such as a shell or pretty stone, they rewarded her in return. When the girl leaves her own gift for the whales, she is rewarded later that night when she hears her name in the creatures' song. Brought to life in "haunting, evocative" realistic paintings by Gary Blythe, "Sheldon's poetic text manages to overlay a homespun practicality with an ethereal, fairy-tale magic," according to a Publishers Weekly reviewer.

"Being a writer is like being a spy (but without the guns and stuff like that)," Sheldon noted on the Walker Books Web site. "You look like just a regular person, staggering onto the bus with your shopping, but you're not. You're always watching and listening. You take notes. You take stories or lines people told you and you use them shamelessly. You never think ‘Wow, I wish I'd said that!’ You think, ‘I'll be saying that soon.’"

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, May 1, 1992, Donna Seaman, review of My Life as a Whale, p. 1585; October 15, 1992, Ilene Cooper, review of Harry the Explorer, p. 431; June 1, 1993, Ellen Mandel, review of Harry on Vacation, p. 1836; August, 1993, Chris Sherman, review of My Brother Is a Visitor from Another Planet, p. 2036; November 1, 1993, Susan DeRonne, review of Tall, Thin, and Blonde, p. 515; June 1, 1994, Mary Harris Veeder, review of Under the Moon, p. 1845; June 1, 1994, Kathryn Broderick, review of Love, Your Bear, Pete, p. 1845; May 1, 1996, Janice Del Negro, review of My Brother Is a Superhero, p. 1508; November 1, 1997, Anne O'Malley, review of The Boy of My Dreams, p. 462; February 1, 1998, Helen Rosenberg, review of Unicorn Dreams, p. 924; November 1, 1999, Frances Bradburn, review of Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen, p. 526; July, 2002, Anne O'Malley, review of My Perfect Life, p. 1847; March 15, 2003, Gillian Engberg, review of Planet Janet, p. 1319; April 1, 2005, Hazel Rochman, review of Sophie Pitt-Turnbull Discovers America, p. 1355; October 1, 2005, Cindy Dobrez, review of Planet Janet in Orbit, p. 50; June 1, 2006, Gillian Engberg, review of Confessions of a Hollywood Star, p. 64.

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, May, 1988, review of I Forgot, p. 188; July, 1988, review of Alison and the Prince, p. 238; May, 1991, review of The Whales' Song, p. 226; May, 1994, review of Under the Moon, p. 302; September, 1997, review of The Boy of My Dreams, p. 26; December, 1999, review of Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen, p. 149; March, 2003, review of Planet Janet, p. 289; May, 2005, review of Sophie Pitt-Turnbull Discovers America, p. 402.

Horn Book, July-August, 2006, Anita L. Burkam, review of Confessions of a Hollywood Star, p. 451.

Kirkus Reviews, January 15, 2003, review of Planet Janet, p. 146; May 1, 2005, review of Sophie Pitt-Turnbull Discovers America, p. 546; October 1, 2005, review of Planet Janet in Orbit, p. 1089; June 15, 2006, review of Confessions of a Hollywood Star, p. 637.

Kliatt, July, 2002, Paula Rohrlick, review of Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen, p. 24; September, 2002, Paula Rohrlick, review of My Perfect Life, p. 13; May, 2005, Claire Rosser, review of Sophie Pitt-Turnbull Discovers America, p. 18; Paula Rohrlick, review of My Perfect Life, p. 30.

Library Journal, February 15, 1983, review of Victim of Love, p. 414; May 1, 1992, Rosellen Brewer, review of My Life as a Whale, p 120.

Publishers Weekly, February 18, 1983, review of Victim of Love, p. 114; May 9, 1986, review of Dreams of an Average Man, p. 246; May 20, 1988, review of Alison and the Prince, p. 90; May 10, 1991, review of The Whales' Song, p. 281; March 9, 1992, review of My Life as a Whale, p. 45; May 4, 1992, review of Harry and Chicken, p. 56; November 8, 1993, review of Tall, Thin, and Blonde, p. 78; December, 1993, review of Love, Your Bear, Pete, p. 70; March 21, 1994, review of Under the Moon, p. 71; July 14, 1997, review of The Boy of My Dreams, p. 84; October 27, 1997, review of Unicorn Dreams, p. 75; April 27, 1998, review of My Brother Is a Superhero, p. 69; August 9, 1999, review of Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen, p. 353; January 6, 2003, review of Planet Janet, p. 61.

School Library Journal, July, 1991, Shirley Wilton, review of The Whales' Song, p. 64; September, 1992, Carolyn Jenks, review of Harry the Explorer, p. 211; June, 1993, Margaret C. Howell, review of Harry on Vacation, p. 110; November, 1993, Sharon Korbeck, review of Tall, Thin, and Blonde, p. 125; June, 1994, Patricia Dooley, review of Under the Moon, p. 113; April, 1996, Christina Door, review of My Brother Is a Superhero, p. 142; October, 1997, Connie Tyrell Burns, review of The Boy of My Dreams, p. 139; January, 1998, Jeanne Clancy Watkins, review of Unicorn Dreams, p. 92; October, 1999, Jane Halsall, review of Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen, p. 158; August, 2002, Susan Geye, review of My Perfect Life, p. 197; May, 2003, Susan Riley, review of Planet Janet, p. 160; June, 2005, Zusanne Gordon, review of Sophie Pitt-Turnbull Discovers America, p. 169; November, 2005, Jane Cronkhite, review of Planet Janet in Orbit, p. 148; October, 2006, Erin Schirota, review of Confessions of a Hollywood Star, p. 171.

Voice of Youth Advocates, February, 1994, review of Tall, Thin, and Blonde, p. 373; February, 1998, review of The Boy of My Dreams, p. 391; February, 2000, review of Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen, p. 409; December, 2002, review of My Perfect Life, p. 392.

ONLINE

Dyan Sheldon Home Page,http://www.dyansheldon.com (August 15, 2007).

Walker Books Web site,http://www.walkerbooks.co.uk/ (August 15, 2007), "Dyan Sheldon."

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