Gennifer Choldenko
Gennifer Choldenko
THE FORMAL BIO

Choldenko is best known for her Tales from Alcatraz series, which has sold more than 2 million copies. Book #1: Al Capone Does My Shirts was a Newbery Honor Book and the recipient of twenty other awards. Book #4: Al Capone Throws Me a Curve is due out in 2018. BookPage said of her most recent novel, Chasing Secrets: “Choldenko’s ability to research obscure yet intriguing topics is uncanny, and as she did with the popular Al Capone trilogy she turns a tough topic into a high interest read … a compelling work of historical fiction.” Gennifer lives with her loyal husband and naughty dog in the San Francisco Bay Area. 

WHAT GENNIFER SAYS ABOUT HERSELF

How did a girl named Snot-Nose end up publishing children’s books?

Here are the facts as I know them . . .

I am the youngest of four kids, all of whom have big mouths. We were so loud that once a lady asked my brother if our mother was deaf.

She was not.

The only sibling who did not have the trademark Johnson big mouth was my sister, Gina, who had Autism. My parents worked very hard to try to figure out how to help Gina, but being the parent of a child with severe Autism is like riding a unicycle in an earthquake.

Since I was the youngest, I spent a lot of time by myself making up words, stories, songs, and jokes (known as Gennifer Jokes), none of which made a lot of sense. Luckily, I kept most of these strange imaginings to myself.

After graduating from Brandeis University with a degree in English, I went to work writing advertising. I spent my days trying to convince people to take out a second mortgage or upgrade their printer or buy death and dismemberment insurance. I wrote copy for seven years until all of my words began to sound like the work of a big mouth twelve-year-old. At which point I went to Art School. With a second degree from Rhode Island School of Design. I was supposed to get my portfolio together, but instead I wrote my first novel. (I do my best work when I’m supposed to be doing something else.) And that was the beginning. I have been a twelve-year old for twenty years now. I have no plans to turn thirteen.

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