For Patricia Reilly Giff, reading played a crucial role in her childhood. She spent her time reading in bed late at night, early in the morning and on long summer days, so much so that her sister had to grab a book out of her hands to get any sense out of her. But it took a snowy day and a husband who built a writing room before she really began her writing career.
Patricia worked as a Reading Teacher for twenty years, helping children with severe learning disabilities. All of her books are based in some way on personal experiences, or the experiences of family members, or the stories kids would tell her at school. She wrote Pictures of Hollis Woods (recently published in the UK by Orchard Books) about her mother: "Everything in the book has to do with both of us: the names my mother cared for-Beatrice, her best friend growing up; Henry, her cousin; Josie Cahill, her favourite aunt. Hollis was a foster child similar to many of the children I had worked with during my teaching years."
Hollis Woods has run away from so many foster homes, she can hardly remember them all. Except for one special place last summer. When Hollis meets Josie, an elderly artist, she decides to stay with her. But when Social Services want to move Hollis on, she runs away again, only this time she takes Josie with her. But can Hollis really forget what happened last summer, and how badly it all went wrong?
When she's not writing, Patricia enjoys reading in the bathtub, and going to movies and eating popcorn. She and her husband live in Weston, Connecticut. They have three children and five grandchildren. In 1990, Patricia opened The Dinosaur's Paw, a children's bookshop and this plays a part in her quest to bring children and books together. She and her family are trying to "share our love of children's books and writing and to help others explore the world of children's books."
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