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Michael J. Rosen

Photo of Michael J. Rosen

In his various roles, Michael has created more than 150 books over a forty- year career. His wide range of books for young readers range from Chanukah Lights, a poetic collaboration with pop-up master Robert Sabuda (Candlewick) to Our Farm: Four Seasons with Five Kids on One Family’s Farm (Darby Creek/Lerner), a 144-page oral history of an Ohio farm family that he photo-chronicled and supplemented with sidebars of local- and natural history.
Many of his books engage his degree in zoology, medical-school training, and his passion for nature and the creatures who share this world. For the last 22 years, he’s lived on 100 forested acres in the foothills of the Appalachians, east of Columbus, Ohio, where he spent most of his life. Workman Publishing released three volumes of heavily researched writing: his comprehensive,  go-to-handbook, My Dog! A Kids’ Guide to Keeping a Happy, Healthy Dog; his eco-wise guide to freshwater fishing, Kids’ Book of Fishing; and The 60-Second Encyclopedia, a witty fact- and math-packed compendium of minute-measurements that come from nearly every subject area. Candlewick published four volumes of jos haiku with natural-history endnotes on birds, on cats, on dogs, and on horses. His latest book from Doubleday, In the Quiet, NOISY Woods, is a cumulative sound narrative of eight creatures who share his acres.

Fifteen of his books including SPEAK!, Down to Earth, and The Greatest Table (Harcourt), and Home (HarperCollins) were created with the generosity of hundreds of the country’s best-known illustrators, photographers, authors, and cartoonists as creative philanthropy. Along with several adult books, profits from these collections benefitted Share Our Strength’s work to end childhood hunger and a granting program Rosen created, The Company of Animals Fund, that awarded over $375,000 to 100 animal-welfare organizations.

Among the many distinguished citations his work have received are:
• The Sydney Taylor Book Award from the Association of Jewish Libraries for Chanukah Lights. (Candlewick)
• The inaugural Simon Wiesenthal Museum of Tolerance Once Upon a World Book Award for the best children’s book that promotes diversity and tolerance for A School for Pompey Walker. (Harcourt) This is a book-length, first-person narrative based on the true story of a man who repeatedly sold himself into and escaped from slavery in order to build a school for children in Ohio.
• The Ohioana Library Career Citation awarded by the state of Ohio.
• The National Jewish Book Award for Elijah’s Angel, a picture book based on Rosen’s friendship with the renowned folk artist Elijah Pierce.
• Share Our Strength’s first lifetime achievement away for his creative and devotion to ending childhood hunger in America.
Several of his books have been Junior Library Guild featured selections and Scholastic Book Club picks, while others have been featured as “Best Books of the Year” by Kirkus, CCBC, Bank Street Books, Hungry Mind Review, Essence, The Today Show, The Horn Book, Miami Herald, and the ASPCA. His works have been adapted as a PBS documentary (“Our Farm: Four Seasons with Five Kids on One Family Farm”); a family opera (composer Robert Kapilow’s “Elijah’s Angel”); and a short film (director Christopher Rowley’s “The Remembering Movies”).

Among his recent books are Sailing the Unknown: Around the World with Captain Cook, a free-verse diary based on the life of a stowaway who sailed aboard the ship Endeavor for over a thousand days. (Creative Editions)
• Mind-Boggling Numbers (Millbrook/Lerner). Ms. Mary Math unpacks a dozen doozies in a humorous, arithmetic ramp through such unlikely story problems as how long would it take to hike to the moon, how many earthworms are in an acre, and how long would it take someone to mow the lawn if everyone on Earth had the same size yard.
•  Outrageous Animal Adaptations (Twenty-first Century Books/Lerner), a middle-grade guide to two dozen profiles of creatures who occupy the most extreme, hazardous, and competitive niches on the planet.
•  The Tale of Rescue (Candlewick), a short novel about a cattle dog who heroically saves a family lost in an Ohio blizzard—“a lovely prose-poem adventure,” wrote Publishers’ Weekly in a starred review.

Michael has been active in professional development, writers’ residencies, curriculum development,  and creative-writing workshops with readers, writers, and teachers for over 40 years, including 20 years as program director of the Thurber House, a literary center in Columbus, Ohio. His fifth and sixth collection of Thurber’s uncollected and unpublished works were published in conjunction with the humorist’s 125th birthday: Collected Fables (HarperCollins) and A Mile and a Half of Lines: The Art of James Thurber (Ohio State University Press).

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