Meet the Author

Paul Fleischman

Paul Fleischman, the son of the well-known writer Sid Fleischman, grew up surrounded by the sound of language. His father regularly read chapters of his work to the family, and the family gave him suggestions about what should happen next in the story. From this experience, Paul Fleischman says, "We grew up knowing that words felt good in the ears and on the tongue, that they were as much fun to play with as toys." Music was also an important part of the Fleischman household. Fleischman and his mother played the piano, his sisters played the flute, and his father played the guitar. As an adult, Fleischman learned to play the recorder, and he even toured with a recorder group.

Fleischman's love for both music and language has shaped his writing. His books I Am Phoenix, Joyful Noise, and Big Talk are poems for two or four voices to read aloud, like different voices in a choir or instruments in an orchestra. Even in his novels and nonfiction books, Fleischman pays careful attention to the rhythm of his sentences and the sounds of the words he puts together. He has received many awards for his books, including the Newbury Medal in 1989 for Joyful Noise.


As children, Paul Fleischman and his sisters often biked around the streets and alleys of their hometown, Monterey, California, collecting thrown-out items from other people's trash cans. Fleischman still does this in a way, gathering together forgotten bits of history and quirky facts he learns from old books as he crafts a new piece of writing.

Other Books Written by Paul Fleischman

  • Coming-and-Going Men: Four Tales
    (illustrated by Randy Gaul)
  • I Am Phoenix: Poems for Two Voices
  • Rondo in C
  • Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices
    (illustrated by Eric Beddows)
  • Saturnalia
  • The Borning Room
  • Townsend's Warbler
  • Bull Run
    (illustrated by David Frampton)
  • A Fate Totally Worse than Death
    (illustrated by Jeff Wack)
  • Dateline: Troy
    (illustrated by Gwen Frankfeldt and Glenn Morrow)
  • Seedfolks
    (illustrated by Judy Pedersen)
  • Whirligig
  • Lost! A Story in String
    (illustrated by C. B. Mordan)
  • Big Talk: Poems for Four Voices
    (illustrated by Beppe Giacobbe)