Young, Amy L.

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Young, Amy L.


Born in MA; married; husband's name Paul. Education: Attended Cleveland Institute of Art; Yale University, B.A.; Indiana University, M.F.A. (painting); Harvard University, J.D. Hobbies and other interests: Swimming, sailing, reading, tutoring, spending time with friends.


Home—Spring Lake, MI.


Author and illustrator. Practiced law for seven years; illustrator, beginning 1995. Worked variously as a waitress, construction worker, farm hand, and teaching assistant. Member of board, Harbor Humane Society.


Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators.



Belinda the Ballerina, Viking (New York, NY), 2002.

Belinda in Paris, Viking (New York, NY), 2005.

Belinda and the Glass Slipper, Viking (New York, NY), 2006.

Belinda Begins Ballet, Viking (New York, NY), 2008.


Heather Sellers, Spike and Cubby's Ice Cream Island Adventure, Henry Holt (New York, NY), 2004.

Cari Meister, My Pony Jack, Viking (New York, NY), 2005.

Cari Meister, My Pony Jack at Riding Lessons, Viking (New York, NY), 2005.

Cari Meister, My Pony Jack at the Horse Show, Viking (New York, NY), 2006.

Lynn Cullen, Moi and Marie Antoinette, Bloomsbury (New York, NY), 2006.


Amy L. Young took a rather unusual path to becoming a children's book author and illustrator: she started by getting her law degree and working as an attorney. Fortunately for young readers, her lifelong love of drawing and being creative won out, and in 1995 she left her law practice to become a full-time illustrator. Her first children's book, Belinda the Ballerina, which she both wrote and illustrated, was published seven years later. In addition to creating several more original stories that feature Belinda, Young has also created artwork for picture books by authors Heather Sellers, Cari Meister, and

Lynn Cullen. Praising Belinda the Ballerina, a Kirkus Reviews writer noted that "Young shows considerable potential in both her lively gouache paintings and her restrained, polished prose that captures the heart of a dancer."

Belinda is a girl whose love of ballet helps her overcome a rather significant impediment: two very large feet. The girl's story starts in Belinda Begins Ballet, when she is young and gets her first exposure to the dance. Cast in the role of a clown in the school talent show, Belinda finds the role a challenge because of the size of her feet. However, watching an older schoolmate rehearsing a ballet routine inspires Belinda to study each dance move and practice at home. Belinda the Ballerina finds the girl older but no less in love with ballet. Studying and practicing has improved her ability, but Belinda is still grounded to the stage by the same overly large feet. Rejected by the judges of the Spring Recital because of the size of her feet, Belinda tries to forget about dancing by working as a waitress at a local restaurant. When a trio performs during her shift waiting tables, Belinda cannot help it; she starts to dance and ultimately attracts the attention of a very special restaurant patron: the maestro of the city ballet! In Publishers Weekly a contributor cited Young's "optimistic" approach, calling Belinda the Ballerina a "tale of just deserts and an irrepressible urge to dance."

Audience acclaim quickly fuels Belinda's career as a prima ballerina, and in Belinda in Paris she is scheduled to appear on stage in Paris. However, her grandiose pink satin ballet shoes disappear during the trip, and readers join the dancer in worrying whether Belinda can replace them in time. Of course, Belinda is not the only dancer with talent, and in Belinda and the Glass Slipper she must deal with a jealous dance rival in the form of Miss Lola Mudge. When Belinda is scheduled to perform the leading role in the ballet Cinderella, Lola attempts to keep the star away from the state so that she can perform the role herself. Fortunately, Belinda's magical story also features a magical fairy godmother to save the day. Young's "droll text and … distinctive … gouache paintings … will make this witty book a pleasure to read aloud," Carolyn Phelan wrote in her Booklist review of Belinda and the Glass Slipper. Equally enthusiastic about Belinda in Paris, Phelan concluded of the work that it "features an engaging story, graceful illustrations, and, in Belinda, an instantly recognizable character who is simply magnifique." In School Library Journal, Carol Schene wrote that Belinda in Paris serves up "whimsy, humor, and an engaging glimpse of France."

On her home page, Young offered aspiring authors this advice: "Read as many children's books you can. Read the classics. Read the new ones. Read the good ones. Read the bad ones. Reread the good ones. Read them aloud. Read them to children. Read them to your goldfish. Develop that ear! Listen for the rhythm, the pacing, the syntax, the drama. Read!"

Biographical and Critical Sources


Booklist, March 1, 2003, Carolyn Phelan, review of Belinda the Ballerina, p. 1205; January 1, 2005, Carolyn Phelan, review of Belinda in Paris, p. 876; May 1, 2005, Gillian Engberg, review of My Pony Jack, p. 1592; October 15, 2005, Carolyn Phelan, review of My Pony Jack at Riding School, p. 57; October 1, 2006, Carolyn Phelan, review of Belinda and the Glass Slipper, p. 61; November 1, 2006, Shelle Rosenfeld, review of Moi and Marie Antoinette, p. 60.

Kirkus Reviews, February 15, 2003, review of Belinda the Ballerina, p. 318; January 15, 2005, review of Belinda in Paris, p. 127; August 1, 2006, review of Belinda and the Glass Slipper, p. 799; September 15, 2006, review of Moi and Marie Antoinette, p. 950.

Magpies, November, 2003, review of Belinda the Ballerina, p. 28.

Publishers Weekly, December 23, 2002, review of Belinda the Ballerina, p. 69; October 9, 2006, review of Moi and Marie Antoinette, p. 55.

School Library Journal, March, 2003, Susan Pine, review of Belinda the Ballerina, p. 210; April, 2005, Carol Schene, review of Belinda in Paris, p. 117; August, 2005, Melinda Piehler, review of My Pony, Jack, p. 103; October, 2005, Laurel L. Takovakis, review of My Pony Jack at Riding School, p. 122; October, 2006, Catherine Callegari, review of Belinda and the Glass Slipper, p. 131.


Amy L. Young Home Page, (December 10, 2007).

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Young, Amy L.

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