Carolyn Coman

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Carolyn Coman (born October 28, 1951)[1][2] is an American writer best known for children's books. Her novels What Jamie Saw (1995) and Many Stones (2000) were among the runners-up for major annual awards by the American Library Association (ALA) and the National Book Foundation.


Carolyn Coman was born October 28, 1951, in Evanston, Illinois, near Chicago.[1][2] She worked as a bookbinder 1975-84 and later as an editor with Heinemann before she became a full-time writer.[1] She edited Body and Soul, a photo-portrait documentary by Judy Dater, and wrote the text of a children's picture book, prior to completing four young-adult novels from 1993 to 2000. Her novels for middle-grade readers (2004 and 2007) combine humour, investigation and a sense of nostalgia.

In the YA novels, "She explores the darker sides of growing up: dealing with parent's abandonment through death in Tell Me Everything, abuse by a stepparent in What Jamie Saw, sibling incest in Bee and Jacky and a political-inspired tragedy in Many Stones."[1] Many Stones was inspired by the murder of Amy Biehl.[1]

What Jamie Saw (1995) was Newbery Medal honor book and a National Book Award for Young People's Literature finalist. Many Stones (2000) was a Michael L. Printz Award Honor Book and another National Book Award finalist.[1] (From 1922 the ALA Newbery Medal recognizes the previous year's "most distinguished contribution to American literature for children", with some designated runners-up now called "Honor Books". From 2000, the Newbery and Printz separately recognize books for "children" and "teens".)

Coman has two children and lives in South Hampton, New Hampshire.[3]


  • Body and Soul: ten American women, edited by Coman, photographs by Judy Dater (Boston: Hill & Co., 1988), LCCN 87-32696
  • Losing Things at Mr. Mudd's, illustrated by Lance Hidy (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1992), picture book - "Youngsters at the book's intended age range may be put off by Mr. Mudd's gruffness--even his eventual relenting bears a grudging tone. Despite the collaborators' evident talents, their work generally lacks child appeal."[4]
  • Tell me Everything (Farrar, 1993)
  • What Jamie Saw (Arden, NC: Front Street, 1995)
  • Bee and Jacky (Front Street, 1998) - "Coman's (What Jamie Saw) latest is the literary equivalent of a Diane Arbus photograph: it presents a sharp, shocking picture of pathology, but leaves it to the audience to imagine the world beyond the frame."[5]
  • Many Stones (Front Street, 2000), Berry (16) reconnects with her father during their journey to South Africa.[6] - "Writing with her usual economy and penetrating insight, Coman (Bee & Jacky, 1998, etc) portrays a young person searching for something—she's not sure what—and finding it in keeping the link that her sister forged with an amazing people. It's an uplifting tale: harsh, complex, but lit at the end by a promise of reconciliation."[7]
  • The Big House, illustrated by Rob Shepperson (Front Street, 2004)
  • Sneaking Suspicions, illus. Shepperson (Front Street, 2007) – sequel to The Big House
  • The Memory Bank, illus. Shepperson (Arthur A. Levine Books, 2010), 288 pp.[2] - "Brilliantly crafted, thoroughly enjoyable and, though so very like Dahl, unique as a fascinating new way to ponder dreams and memories."[8]
  • Writing Stories: ideas, exercises, and encouragements for teachers and writers of all ages, illus. Shepperson (Portland, ME: Stenhouse Publishers, 2011), LCCN 2011-7002


  1. ^ a b c d e f Something about the Author; Vol 197; pp. 32–36. Gale, 2009. ISBN 978-1-4144-2169-8.
  2. ^ a b c "Carolyn Comans – Summary Bibliography". ISFDB. Retrieved 2014-09-24. Select a title to see its linked publication history and general information. Select a particular edition (title) for more data at that level, such as a front cover image or linked contents.
  3. ^ "Carolyn Coman". Random House. Retrieved 2014-09-24.
  4. ^ "Losing Things at Mr. Mudd's". PWxyz LLC. Retrieved 20 July 2015.
  5. ^ "Bee and Jacky". PWxyz LLC. Retrieved 20 July 2015.
  6. ^ Many stones;
  7. ^ "Many Stones". Kirkus Media LLC. 15 October 2000. Retrieved 20 July 2015.
  8. ^ "The Memory Bank". Kirkus Media LLC. 16 September 2010. Retrieved 20 July 2015.

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