Laura Elliott grew up just outside Washington D.C., and came of age during the Vietnam War protests and Watergate, so she was very aware of history in the making. One of her first clear memories was of JFK’s tragic assassination. Fast upon that came the killing of his brother Bobby and another man of eloquence, Martin Luther King. From her front door she could see the distant dark clouds hanging over the capital city as it burned with the agonized riots that followed his shooting.
But her love of history came from knowing a number of elderly ladies in what was then a small town community. At garden parties, over fresh-squeezed lemonade, she heard talk of history — but not about dates, battles, or political figures. It was personal, about how their relatives (or they) survived hard times, how mothers worried about their children during epidemics and wars, where they were when Pearl Harbor was attacked and how they helped the war effort afterwards. From them she learned that history is a very human drama.
Elliott graduated from Wake Forest University and holds a masters degree in journalism from the University of North Carolina. A long-time writer for the Washingtonian magazine, Elliott was twice a finalist for the National Magazine Award and recipient of numerous Dateline awards. She wrote often on children, women’s issues, and health.
Elliott’s first YA historical novel, Under a War-torn Sky, grew out of an article about her father’s experiences as a B-24 pilot with the French Resistance during World War II. The book went on to win numerous awards and Elliott recently continued its story in A Troubled Peace. As a former journalist, she’s also “reported” on other important historical events through her books, including the Civil War in Annie, Between the States, the Revolutionary War in Give Me Liberty, and the civil rights movement in Flying South.
Elliott has also authored four picture books with New York Times best-selling illustrator, Lynn Munsinger: Hunter’s Best Friend at School, Hunter and Stripe and the Soccer Showdown, and Hunter’s Big Sister. Their Valentine’s Day book, A String of Hearts, will be released February 2011.
Elliott lives in Northern Virginia with her husband, two children, and their herd of pets.
See also: Unlocking the Past with Historical Fiction. Elliott offers educators and students a variety of resources to enjoy and appreciate history through reading and writing.