Cynthia Rylant was born on June 6, 1954, in Hopewell, Virginia. Her parents divorced when she was four and she grew up at her grandparents' house, which had no electricity or running water. Most of the settings in her books are based on her young life in the Appalachian scenery of West Virginia.

Rylant earned her master's in English at Marshall University, then worked as a waitress for a while until she started working in the children's section at the Akron Public Library. Here she was able to read billions of children's books. She became a professional librarian and completed her Master's in Library Science at Kent State University in Ohio.

Rylant grew up reading mostly comic books, since there were no libraries or bookstores near her small-town home. She didn't walk through the doors of a public library until she was 23 years old. She believes that her lack of early exposure to books made her a better children's author. Says it allowed her to develop a fuller imagination and saved her from being intimidated by expectations of "great" literature. Her role models, especially James Agee and Harper Lee, write for adults, and she says this influences her to use language beautifully in her own books. She does not believe in "writing down" to kids, yay, and does not write with a specific audience in mind.

Cynthia currently lives in Eugene, Oregon, up the street from her sweetie, Dav Pilkey.


"I don't know why I became a writer. I didn't write much as a child. The only stories I ever tried were called 'My Adventures with the Beatles.' That was in sixth grade when I was madly in love with Paul McCartney. But that's the only time I can recall ever writing creatively on my own time -- otherwise, I just did it for dumb school assignments like everybody else."

"I'm not interested in trying to entertain only children. If they like the books, that's fine, but I really expect everybody to like them."


All I See

An Angel for Solomon Singer

Appalachia: The Voices of Sleeping Birds

Bear Day

Best Wishes

Birthday Presents

The Bird House

Bless Us All: A Child's Yearbook of Blessings

The Blue Hill Meadows

A Blue-Eyed Daisy

The Bookshop Dog

Bunny Bungalow

But I'll Be Back Again

The Case of the Climbing Cat

The Case of the Missing Monkey

Cat Heaven

Children of Christmas : Stories for the Season

The Cookie-Store Cat

A Couple of Kooks and Other Stories About Love

Dog Heaven

An Everyday Book / Everyday Children / Everyday Garden / Everyday House / Everyday Pets / Everyday Town / Every Living Thing

A Fine White Dust

Give Me Grace : A Child's Daybook of Prayers

Gooseberry Park
The Heavenly Village

Henry and Mudge / Henry and Mudge and Annie's Good Move / Henry and Mudge and Annie's Perfect Pet / Henry and Mudge and the Bedtime Thumps / Henry and Mudge and the Best Day of All / Henry and Mudge and the Great Grandpas / Henry and Mudge and the Happy Cat / Henry and Mudge Get the Cold Shivers / Henry and Mudge and the Careful Cousin / Henry and Mudge and the Forever Sea
Henry and Mudge and the Happy Cat / Henry and Mudge and the Long Weekend / Henry and Mudge and the Sneaky Crackers / Henry and Mudge and the Snowman Plan / Henry and Mudge and the Starry Night / Henry and Mudge and the Wild Wind / Henry and Mudge Get the Cold Shivers / Henry and Mudge in Puddle Trouble / Henry and Mudge in the Family Trees / Henry and Mudge in the Green Time / Henry and Mudge in the Sparkle Days / Henry and Mudge Take the Big Test / Henry and Mudge Under the Yellow Moon

I Had Seen Castles

In Aunt Lucy's Kitchen

The Islander

A Little Shopping

Margaret, Frank, and Andy : Three Writers' Stories

Missing May (1993 Newbery Award)

Mr. Griggs' Work

Mr. Putter and Tabby Bake the Cake / Mr. Putter and Tabby Fly the Plane / Mr. Putter and Tabby Paint the Porch / Mr. Putter and Tabby Pick the Pears / Mr. Putter and Tabby Pour the Tea / Mr. Putter and Tabby Row the Boat / Mr. Putter and Tabby Take the Train / Mr. Putter and Tabby Toot the Horn / Mr. Putter and Tabby Walk the Dog

Night in the Country

The Old Woman Who Named Things

Pet Stories: You Don't Have to Walk

Poppleton / Poppleton and Friends / Poppleton Everyday / Poppleton Forever / Poppleton Has Fun / Poppleton in Fall / Poppleton in Spring / Poppleton Through and Through

The Relatives Came


Silver Packages : An Appalachian Christmas Story

Soda Jerk

Some Good News

Something Permanent

Special Gifts

Thimbleberry Stories

This Year's Garden

Tulip Sees America

The Van Gogh Cafe

The Whales

When I Was Young in the Mountains

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