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DuPrau received a BA in English Literature from Scripps College in Claremont, California. She has been a high school English teacher, an editor for educational publishing companies. On her website and several other online biographies, DuPrau is described as a gardening enthusiast and dog lover. She is also an ice skater, a bird watcher, a meditator, a house builder, a gardener, a piano player,and a gourmet vegetarian cook. DuPrau has no children. She has two nephews and a niece.Her favorite saying is "A writer is someone for whom writing is harder than it is for other people."
On her website, Jeanne DuPrau writes:
I didn't really set out to "be a writer." I just wrote. Reading and writing have always been my favorite things, though for a while I wanted to be a writer and an illustrator. I still have my very first book, which I wrote when I was about six years old. It's called Frosty the Snowman, has five pages, and is illustrated with red and green crayon.