Blankenship, LeeAnn 1944–
Blankenship, LeeAnn 1944–
Born November 11, 1944, in Huntington, WV; daughter of Ed Bennett (a mechanical engineer) and Jewel A. Bennett Ward (an office nurse); married G. Barry Blan-
kenship (a fire chief), March 4, 1967; children: Tracy Luna, Todd, Teri Engelmann. Education: West Virginia Wesleyan College, B.A. (education); University of Maryland. Religion: Jehovah's Witness. Hobbies and other interests: Travel, gardening, reading, sewing, Apache history and culture.
Home—Kent, OH. E-mail—[email protected]
Social worker, author, and educator. Licensed clinical social worker in Wayne County, WV, 1967-71, and Portage County, OH, 1973-76; Family and Community Services, OH, director of adoption program, 1982-87. Teacher in Cabell County, WV, and Portage County, OH; former realtor.
International Board on Books for Young People, Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (Northern Ohio chapter; former volunteer coordinator).
International Reading Association Notable Book of the Year designation, and New Hampshire Ladybug Award nomination, both 2006, both for Mr. Tuggle's Trouble.
Mr. Tuggle's Troubles, illustrated by Karen Dugan, Boyds Mills Press (Honesdale, PA), 2005.
Contributor to periodicals, including Cricket, Appleseeds, Cobblestone, and Highlights for Children.
LeeAnn Blankenship told SATA: "I often encourage other aspiring writers by telling them, ‘Don't give up on your dreams.’ I first began writing for children shortly after the birth of my son in 1973. That picture book was never accepted for publication, but a complimentary response I received from an editor helped keep my dream alive. For the next twenty years, raising my family and working at a ‘regular’ job occupied my time. Finally, when my youngest child was almost grown, I decided it was time to take my dream of being a children's author off the back burner and move it to the front of the stovetop!
"I enrolled in a writing course with the Institute of Children's Literature and began writing more regularly. Eventually my nonfiction history articles were published in the magazine market. I wrote the first draft of my humorous picture book, Mr. Tuggle's Troubles, in 1995. For the next seven and a half years, I continued
to revise and polish the text while submitting it to various publishing companies. Encouraging rejection letters kept my hopes high and in 2003 I got an exciting phone call from Kent Brown with Boyds Mills Press telling me that his company would like to purchase my manuscript for publication. I was sixty years old when my dream of writing a children's book became a reality. I tell others that you're never too old to work for your dreams.
"With my writing, I hope to foster a love for books and reading in youngsters. I love history and with my historical pieces I try to make history fun, exciting, and interesting."
Biographical and Critical Sources
Kirkus Reviews, September 15, 2005, review of Mr. Tuggle's Troubles, p. 1021.
School Library Journal, October, 2005, Linda Staskus, review of Mr. Tuggle's Troubles, p. 103.
Boyds Mills Press Web site,http://www.boydsmillspress.com/ (July 20, 2007), "LeeAnn Blankenship."