Jill Paton Walsh: An English Author

Gillian Bliss was born April 29, 1937, in London. She grew up during Britain's dark days of World War II. Like the children in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, she was sent off to stay with her grandparents far away from the bombs falling on London. For years she lived away from her parents in a beautiful part of England called Cornwall. Cornwall is linked to many legends, including the stories of King Arthur and Merlin.

Jill, as she was nicknamed, was lucky to study at Oxford, where she listened to lectures from professors C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. Jill married soon after college to Antony Edmund Paton Walsh. She wrote her first books when she was being a stay-at-home mother in the 1960s. The Paton Walsh's had The Green Book three children and then divorced. In 2004, she married John Rowe Townsend, who is also a children's writer. She and he live in Cambridge, England. Jill enjoys history and writing as well as photography, gardening, cooking, and carpentry.

Among her many writing awards are the Smarties Prize Grand Prix, the Phoenix Award, the Book World Festival Award, and Boston Globe-Horn Book Award. She was appointed by the Queen to the rank of CBE (Commander—Order of the British Empire) for her work.

These are the books that Jill Paton Walsh has written for children that are owned by the Central Rappahannock Regional Library. She has also written for young adult and adult readers.

Pepi and the Secret Names
In ancient Egypt, Pepi's father must paint dangerous animals on walls of a Prince's tomb. Pepi can help his father finish this job because he has learned the secret of the animals' names. Includes a quick guide for translating the sounds in English words into hieroglyphics.

The Green Book
In the future, families leave a dying Earth and try to settle an alien, hostile planet with almost no supplies to help them.

Books about Birdy
Birdy is a young Scottish girl whose gift of second sight lets her see ghosts and creatures of other realms. Set in Britain's misty past, these stories are full of folklore and fun for independent elementary readers or to be read aloud.

Birdy and the Ghosties
When Birdy discovers that her second sight helps her see the ghostly passengers on her father's ferry boat, she learns not to be afraid of them—but also not to take their promises at face value.Fireweed

Matthew and the Sea Singer
Birdy rescues Matthew from an orphan's life of cruel work only to lose him again when otherworldly spirits steal him away because of his beautiful voice.

Read more about the author on the Web:

Jill Paton Walsh's Home Page
Find here an interview for young readers, a short biography, a list of her children's books as well as a list of all of her books.

Use the library's OneSearch system to find reference articles on Jill Paton Walsh from Contemporary Authors Online, Authors and Artists for Young Adults, and St. James Guide to Young Adult Writers.

Photo Credit: BBC's Jill Paton Walsh--A Quest for Justice