Betsy Byars

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Betsy Byars
Born Betsy Cromer
(1928-08-07) August 7, 1928 (age 90)
Charlotte, North Carolina, US
Occupation Children's author, novelist, freelance writer
Period 1962–present
Genre Children's fiction, Young adult fiction, Historical fiction, Realistic fiction
Notable works
Notable awards Newbery Medal
National Book Award

Betsy Cromer Byars (born August 7, 1928) is an American author of children's books. Her novel Summer of the Swans won the 1971 Newbery Medal.[1] She has also received a National Book Award in category Children's Fiction for The Night Swimmers (1980)[2] and an Edgar Award for Wanted ... Mud Blossom (1991).

Byars has been called "one of the ten best writers for children in the world" by Nancy Chambers, editor of the British literary journal Signal,[3] and in 1987 Byars received the Regina Medal for lifetime achievement from the Catholic Library Association.[4] Due to the popularity of her books with children, she has also been listed as one of the Educational Paperback Association's top 100 authors.[5]


Byars was born Betsy Cromer August 7, 1928, in Charlotte, North Carolina to George Guy, a cotton mill executive, and Nan (née Rugheimer) Cromer, a homemaker.[5] Her early childhood was spent during the Great Depression. She attended Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina, from 1946 to 1948, before transferring to Queens College in Charlotte, where she graduated in 1950 with a bachelor's degree in English.[5]

After graduating, Cromer met Edward Ford Byars, a graduate student in engineering at Clemson University, and they married on June 24, 1950. They had three daughters and a son between 1951 and 1958: Laurie, Betsy Ann, Nan, and Guy.[5] In 1956, the family moved from Clemson, South Carolina to Urbana, Illinois where Edward pursued further graduate work at the University of Illinois, eventually becoming a professor of engineering.[5] While her husband was busy during the day with his studies, Betsy began writing for magazines. Her work was eventually featured in The Saturday Evening Post, Look, Everywoman's Magazine, and TV Guide. Her first novel, Clementine, was published in 1962.[5][6] Betsy and Ed Byars are both licensed aircraft pilots and live on an airstrip in Seneca, South Carolina, the bottom floor of their house being a hangar.[1]

Daughters Betsy Duffey and Laurie Myers are also children's writers, and the three of them are currently (as of February 2009) working on their fourth book together.[7]


Collaborations with daughters Betsy Duffey and Laurie Myers[edit]

  • 2000 My Dog, My Hero
  • 2004 The SOS File
  • 2007 Dog Diaries
  • 2010 Cat Diaries


  • 1991 The Moon and I

Short Stories[edit]

  • Look back at the sea


  1. ^ a b Author's website
  2. ^ a b "National Book Awards – 1981". National Book Foundation. Retrieved 2012-02-27.
  3. ^ Kuznets, Lois R. (1981). "Betsy Byars' Slice of 'American Pie'". Children's Literature Association Quarterly. Johns Hopkins University Press. 5 (4): 31–33. doi:10.1353/chq.0.1857. 
  4. ^ "Regina Medal" Archived 2012-04-27 at the Wayback Machine.. Catholic Library Association. Retrieved 2013-11-24.
  5. ^ a b c d e f "Byars, Betsy". EBMA's Top 100 Authors. Educational Paperback Association. Archived from the original on 29 September 2011. Retrieved 20 May 2011. 
  6. ^ Autobiography from author's website.
  7. ^ "Children's author Byars tells her own tale". Reuters. February 11, 2009. 

External links[edit]