Mel Boring

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Mel Boring
Born Melvin Lyle Boring
(1939-09-12) September 12, 1939 (age 75)
St. Clair Shores, Michigan, U.S.
Occupation American children's author; educator
Official website

Melvin Lyle "Mel" Boring (born September 12, 1939) is an American children's author specializing in non-fiction. A member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, Boring has produced works such as Incredible Constructions and the People Who Built Them; Caterpillars, Bugs, and Butterflies; and Guinea Pig Scientists: Bold Self-Experimenters in Science and Medicine (coauthored with Leslie Dendy). Boring also travels the world to speak to students about book writing and publishing while he wears a Cat-in-the-Hat costume.


Melvin Lyle Boring was born in St. Clair Shores, Michigan to Harold Truman (an electrician) and Helen Irene (née Hatfield) Boring. Boring earned his B.A. from Sterling College, Kansas, in 1961, and attended Princeton Theological Seminary, where he received his Master of Divinity (M. Div.) in 1965. He began as an educator, which sparked his interest in writing books for children. He claims he had difficulty learning to read in early childhood, although he loved to hear books read to him. Those books, especially Dr. Seuss' The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins, served as inspiration for his career in writing.[1]


He married his second wife, Carol Lynne Trettin, a registered nurse, on June 21, 1975; the couple has two children: Zachery and Katrina. He has two sons from his first marriage, Joshua and Jeremy.


Boring has published 12 books and over 25 stories in such magazines as Highlights for Children and Cricket. Boring's first 12 fiction submissions to children's magazines received a total of 143 rejections with only one acceptance.[2] He spent 18 years as an Institute of Children's Literature instructor, teaching hundreds of his students how to write for children.[2]

Outside of writing[edit]

  • Elementary school teacher, Meriden, Kansas, 1961–62
  • Assistant director, Chi Alpha Student Center, Berkeley, California, 1965–67
  • Ordained interdenominational minister, 1966
  • Director of student conferences and seminars, Inter-Church Team Ministries, Newhall, California, 1967–69
  • Elementary school teacher, Monroe Center, Michigan, 1969–71
  • Junior high school mathematics teacher, Palmdale, California, 1971–76
  • Fireman, Volunteer Fire Department, Green Valley, California, 1972–76
  • Radio announcer, 1976–80
  • High school teacher of social studies, Vergennes, Vermont, 1978–80
  • Writer and editor, Hoffman Information Systems, 1972–74
  • Editor, Children's Writer's E-News, 2003–06



  • Sealth: The Story of an American Indian, Dillon, 1978.
  • The Rainmaker, Random House (New York, New York), 1980.
  • Clowns: The Fun Makers, Messner, 1980.
  • Wovoka: The Story of an American Indian, Dillon, 1980.
  • Incredible Constructions and the People Who Built Them, Walker (New York, New York), 1984.
  • Birds, Nests, and Eggs, NorthWord (Minnetonka, Minnesota), 1996.
  • Caterpillars, Bugs, and Butterflies, NorthWord (Minnetonka, Minnesota), 1996.
  • Rabbits, Squirrels, and Chipmunks, illustrated by Linda Garrow, NorthWord (Minnetonka, MN), 1996; 2nd. ed., Gareth Stevens (Milwaukee, Wisconsin), 2000.
  • Fun with Nature, co-authored with Diane L. Burns and Leslie Dendy, illustrated by Linda Garrow, NorthWord (Minnetonka, Minnesota), 1999.
  • Guinea Pig Scientists: Bold Self-Experimenters in Science and Medicine, co-authored with Leslie Dendy, illustrated by C.B. Mordan, Holt (New York, New York), 2005.
  • Flamingos, Loons, and Pelicans, illustrated by Andrew Recher, NorthWord (Minnetonka, Minnesota), 2006.

Honors and awards[edit]

  • Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators of Iowa Award
  • Booklist Top Ten Science Books for Youth designation (2005)
  • Book Links Lasting Connections designation (2005)
  • Subaru Science Books and Films Prize finalist (2006)
  • American Library Association Best Books for Young Adults designation (2006)
  • New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age designation (2006)


  1. ^ Profile,, April 4, 2007.
  2. ^ a b Profile of Mel Boring, April 4, 2007.[dead link]

External links[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • "Mel Boring", Something About the Author, ed. Anne Commire, vol. 35, 1984, Gale Res, p. 314.
  • "Mel Boring" profile, Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators of Iowa website, March 27, 2007.