Camper, Cathy 1956–

views updated

Camper, Cathy 1956–


Born 1956, in Madison, WI. Ethnicity: "Arab-American." Education: A.M.L.S. (library science). Hobbies and other interests: Fossilized insects, martial arts films, swimming, running, exploring, music, making art out of seeds and toy robots out of "junk."


Home—Portland, OR. Agent—c/o Author Mail, Simon & Schuster, 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020. E-mail[email protected]


Librarian and author. Minneapolis Public Library, Minneapolis, MN, librarian until 2005; currently librarian in Portland, OR. Sugar Needle, co-editor; member of board of Mizna (Arab-American literary journal), 2000–05. Freelance writer and lecturer.


Bugs before Time: Prehistoric Insects and Their Relatives, illustrated by Steve Kirk, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2002.

Contributor of articles, short fiction, and artwork to periodicals, including Cicada, Cricket, Wired, Mizna, Boy Trouble, Other Voices, Musician, Utne Reader, Sugar Needle, and Giant Robot. Contributor of reviews to periodicals, including School Library Journal, Kirkus Reviews, Five Owls, and Women's Review of Books.

Work in Progress

A trilogy of novels for young adults: Circle A, Land of Nod, and Beautiful Mistakes.


An interest in paleontology, along with her work as a librarian and book reviewer for periodicals such as School Library Journal and Kirkus Reviews, helped inspire Cathy Camper to write the children's book Bugs before Time: Prehistoric Insects and Their Relatives. She has worked hard to promote alternative materials and ideas via her writing, and in libraries, and to support Arab-American culture. In addition to writing, Camper lectures on insect matters to school and library groups, is a first-degree black belt in tae kwon do, and has been creating "seed art"—pictures made from various seeds—since the late 1980s. Her colorful work, featuring political and cultural figures ranging from civil-rights activist Malcolm X to television's Xena the Warrior Princess, as well as animal images, has been a tradition at the Minnesota State Fair since 1989.

Bugs before Time provides young readers with an informative and entertaining look at the evolution of insects since prehistoric times. In addition, the book examines several related topics, such as how fossils are formed and the manner in which Earth's tectonic plates have shifted over time. Illustrator Steve Kirk's bright illustrations, along with a colorful time line that accompanies the story, help to engross readers even further. Bugs before Time "is sure to entrance budding entomologists and surprise dinophiles with the Arthropoda's long evolutionary history," commented Patricia Manning in a review for School Library Journal. Kay Weisman, writing in Booklist, also thoroughly enjoyed Camper's publishing debut, stating that the book "will be popular with dinosaur enthusiasts who are ready to branch out to other prehistoric species." A Kirkus Reviews critic predicted that Camper's "irresistible" "title will fly off the shelves and send shivers of delight."

Biographical and Critical Sources


Booklist, March 15, 2002, Kay Weisman, review of Bugs before Time: Prehistoric Insects and Their Relatives, p. 1252.

Kirkus Reviews, March 1, 2002, review of Bugs before Time, p. 330.

[Image not available for copyright reasons]

School Library Journal, May, 2002, Patricia Manning, review of Bugs before Time, p. 166.

Science Books & Films, November, 2002, review of Bugs before Time, p. 564.


Cathy Camper Home Page, (April 11, 2006).

Children's Literature Network, (April 11, 2006), "Cathy Camper."

Crop Art Gallery Web site, (April 11, 2006), "Cathy Camper."