About the Author
Ilene Cooper is the author of over twenty books for young readers. Her latest from Morrow is The Dead Sea Scrolls, which introduces this fascinating subject to middlegrade and junior high readers. In 1947, a Bedouin teenager threw a rock into a cave near the Dead Sea. He was looking for treasure but instead found scrolls that came to be recognized as the greatest archaeological discovery of the twentieth century. These scrolls, and the other scrolls and scroll fragments that were found in the area later, are almost two thousand years old. They shed light on two of the world's greatest religions: Judaism, when it was changing, and Christianity, when it was being born.
Although she began her career with a biography of Susan B. Anthony, her return to nonfiction is a change of pace for Ms. Cooper. She is best known for her many fiction hooks, including the Kids from Kennedy middle school series (Morrow), which featured Choosing Sides, an IRA/CBC Children's Choice Book. In it, a sixth-grade boy is faced with a decision: Should he tough out the season with the school basketball team and become the star player his father hopes he'll be, or quit and follow his own interests? Other titles in the series include The Winning of Miss Lynn Ryan, Queen of the Sixth Grade, Mean Streah, and The New, Improved Gretchen Hubbard. Her other books include the Holiday Five series, about five girls who meet at camp and get together at holidays, and Buddy Love--Now on Video, about a boy whose life changes when he gets a video camera.
A Horn Book reviewer described Ms. Cooper as "an author who continues to prove herself particularly adept at writing popular, thoughtprovoking books about everyday school problems for middle-grade readers." And a reviewer from Kirkus Reviews wrote: "Cooper captures the dynamics of this vulnerable age-where peer pressure outweighs tender conscienceswith insight and precision."
Ilene Cooper has been a children's librarian and a consultant for ABC Afterschool Specials. She has also written for network television. Currently, Ms. Cooper is the children's book editor for Booklist magazine, the review journal for the American Library Association.