Children’s author Cynthia Rylant was born June 6, 1954, in Hopewell, West Virginia.
She was raised in Raleigh County and earned degrees from Morris Harvey College—which is now the University of Charleston—and Marshall and Kent State universities.
She credits her youthful experiences in West Virginia as the wellspring of her writing, including the children’s books When I Was Young in the Mountains and The Relatives Came, both of which received the prestigious Caldecott Honor for children’s literature. Her first book of poetry, Waiting to Waltz, draws upon the decade she lived in the town of Beaver.
Rylant has also published picture books, short stories, poetry collections, nonfiction, and novels. And her popular Henry and Mudge series for young readers features more than 20 books.
Rylant’s work has won every major award in the field of children’s literature. A Fine White Dust received a Newbery Honor. Appalachia: The Voices of Sleeping Birds won the 1991 Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for nonfiction, and her book Missing May received the same award for children’s fiction in addition to the Newbery Medal.
Today, Cynthia Rylant lives and writes in Oregon.