Laurie Halse Anderson, Young Adult Author

Anderson, born October 23, 1961, grew up in Northern New York and from an early age loved to write. She attended Georgetown University and graduated with a degree in languages and linguistics. After graduation, she worked several different jobs including cleaning banks and working as a stockbroker. Anderson did some writing as a freelance reporter for newspapers and magazines and worked for the Philadelphia Inquirer. She published her first book in 1996 and has been writing ever since. Anderson is married to Scot Larabee and together they have four children.

Laurie Halse Anderson’s Books

Anderson’s writing career is prolific. She’s written picture books, fiction for young readers, nonfiction for young readers, historical fiction, and young adult books. Here are some of her most well-known books for teens and tweens.

  • Speak (Speak, 2006. ISBN: 9780142407325)
  • Twisted (Speak, 2008. ISBN: 9780142411841)
  • Fever, 1793 (Simon and Schuster, 2002. ISBN: 9780689848919)
  • Prom (Puffin, 2006. ISBN: 9780142405703)
  • Catalyst (Speak, 2003. ISBN: 9780142400012)
  • Wintergirls (Turtleback, 2010. ISBN: 9780606151955)
  • Chains (Atheneum, 2010. ISBN: 9781416905868)
  • Forge (Atheneum, 2010. ISBN: 9781416961444)

Awards and Recognition

Anderson’ s award list is long and continues to grow. Besides being a New York Times bestselling author and having her books listed multiple times on the American Library Association’s many teen lists, she has received starred reviews from the Horn Book, Kirkus Reviews, and School Library Journal. Her most prestigious awards are the following:


  • 1999 National Book Award Finalist
  • 2000 Printz Honor book
  • Edgar Allan Poe Award Finalist


  • 2008 National Book Award Finalist
  • 2009 Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction


  •  2002 Odyssey Book Award

In 2009 Anderson received the American Library Association’s Margaret A. Edwards Award for significant and lasting achievement in young adult literature. The award focused specifically on Anderson’s books Speak, Fever 1793, and Catalyst.

Censorship and Banning Controversies

Some of Anderson’s books have been challenged based on their content. The book Speak is listed by the American Library Association as one of the top 100 books challenged between the years 2000-2009 and has been banned from some middle and high schools for sexuality, situations of suicidal thoughts in teens, and gritty teenage situations. School Library Journal interviewed Anderson about Speak after a Missouri man tried to get it banned. According to Anderson, there was a huge outpouring of support with people posting comments and stories. Anderson also received several requests for interviews and comments.

Anderson takes a strong stance against censorship and discusses the topic along with her books on her Web site.

Movie Adaptations

A movie adaption of Speak was made in 2005 starring Kristen Stewart of Twilight fame.

Laurie Halse Anderson Trivia

  • Anderson milked cows and worked on a dairy farm to earn money for college.
  • She loves listening to Mozart’s’ Requiem.
  • A motto that Anderson lives by is: When life gets tough, pick up a book and read.
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Kendall, Jennifer. "Laurie Halse Anderson, Young Adult Author." ThoughtCo, Jan. 29, 2020, Kendall, Jennifer. (2020, January 29). Laurie Halse Anderson, Young Adult Author. Retrieved from Kendall, Jennifer. "Laurie Halse Anderson, Young Adult Author." ThoughtCo. (accessed May 29, 2023).