Library of Congress

National Book Festival

Rebecca Stead has been writing since childhood but became a lawyer before pursuing a professional writing career. She says that "one day, my then-4-year-old son, though fabulous, accidentally pushed my laptop off the dining-room table, and the Very Serious Stories [she had been working on] were gone. Poof. So, it was time to write something new. Something joyful (to cheer me up: I was pretty grouchy about the lost stories). I went to a bookstore and bought an armload of books that I remembered loving as a kid. I read them. I went back to the store and bought more books. I read them. And then I began to write, and I began to love writing. That's when I became a writer." Her first novel was "First Light," which The New York Times reviewed very favorably. Her second and current novel, "When You Reach Me" (Random House Children's Books) received the 2010 Newbery Medal, one of the most prestigious honors in children's literature. Stead lives in New York.

Previous National Book Festival Appearances

Rebecca Stead

Photo by Joanne Dugan