All About Adolescent Literacy

All about adolescent literacy. Resources for parents and educators of kids in grades 4-12.
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A video interview with

Tamora Pierce

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Tamora Pierce was born in Fayette County Pennsylvania, in 1954. Her father worked for the telephone company while her mother went to college for her degree in English, intending to become a teacher. Pierce grew up surrounded by books — World Book encyclopedias, Winnie the Pooh books and lots of Dr. Seuss. As a young person, Pierce wrote "Star Trek" stories, "Here Come the Bride" stories, "Time Tunnel" stories and when one of Pierce's English teachers introduced her to The Lord of the Rings trilogy, she was hooked on Fantasy.

After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in Psychology, Pierce moved to Manhattan to work in publishing and on her own writing. To help make ends meet, Pierce earned extra money doing all sorts of odd jobs — reviewing martial arts movies; editing Silhouette Romances; and writing, acting and directing programs for a radio company. In 1992 Pierce's books had developed such an following that she was able to quit her other jobs and focus on her writing full-time.

In contrast to a lot of science fiction and fantasy, Pierce's books, like Trickster's Queen, The Will of the Empress, and The Song of the Lioness quartet, include females characters who are fearless, bold, athletic creatures, not powerless victims or love interests.

Pierce relishes her book tours and the chance to meet her fans and thank them in person for reading her books.

Selected Books

from Tamora Pierce

Alanna: The First Adventure

Age Level: 12-14

The first book in Pierce's The Song of The Lioness quartet introduces Alanna, a young noble-born girl who dreams of becoming a knight of Tortall instead of a lady. Her twin brother Thom, who would rather become a wizard than a knight, goes to the convent in her place to study magic and Alanna, calling herself Alan, begins her adventure, facing many challenges and trials in her journey to become a warrior and a woman.

Buy Alanna: The First Adventure

Wild Magic

Age Level: 12-14

After she's orphaned when raiders attack her village, Daine finds work with the Queen's Riders and learns that her special connection with animals is actually rare magic. Under the tutelage of the powerful mage Numair Salmalín, Daine learns to control her magic and help her friends, be they human, animal, or Immortal.

Buy Wild Magic

First Test

Age Level: 12-14

Times have changed in the Kingdom of Tortall. Keladry of Mindelan, who dreams of a knight's shield of her own, is the first girl without a disguise to train for knighthood. Without disguise does not mean without difficulty however and the series follows Kel as she's tested by bullies, skeptics, and her own fears.

Buy First Test


Age Level: 12-14

In Tortall, two centuries before the Lioness rides, 16-year-old Rebakah (Beka) Cooper begins her work for the Provost's Guard. She's long dreamed of this position with the police, and she tells her story through the journal she keeps beginning on with her first day as a trainee or "Puppy." She, her fellow "Dogs," and the purple-eyed cat Pounce, work hard to make the city safer, especially the crime-ridden slums where Beka grew up.

Buy Terrier

Tortall: A Spy's Guide

Age Level: 12-14

Part history, part spy training manual, and entirely fascinating, this beautiful guide is ideal for anyone who loves Alanna, King Jonathan, Queen Thayet, Kel, Neal, Aly, Thom, Daine, Numair, and the unforgettable world of Tortall.

Buy Tortall: A Spy's Guide

Tempests and Slaughter

Age Level: 12-14

The never-before-told story of how Numair Salmalín came to Tortall. In this first book of the Numair Chronicles, three student mages (Arram, Varice, Ozorne) are bound by fate and fated for trouble.

Buy Tempests and Slaughter