Donna Jo Napoli
Donna Jo Napoli
|Born||February 28, 1948|
Miami, Florida, US
|Occupation||Linguist, fiction writer|
|Genre||Fantasy for young people, children's books, picture books|
She has worked in syntax, phonetics, phonology, morphology, historical and comparative linguistics, Romance studies, the structure of Japanese, structure of American Sign Language, poetics, writing for ESL students, and mathematical and linguistic analysis of folk dance. She has taught linguistics at Smith College, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Georgetown University, the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, the University of Pennsylvania, and is currently a professor of linguistics and social justice at Swarthmore College.
Her children's books have been translated into Chinese, Danish, Dutch, German, Greek, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Persian, Portuguese, Spanish, and will be in Thai and Polish. Many of her children's books are retellings of fairy tales, including The Magic Circle, Crazy Jack, Spinners, Zel, Breath, Bound, Beast, and The Wager for older children, and The Prince of the Pond, Ugly, and Mogo the Third Warthog for younger children. Other children's stories are historical fiction based in Italy, including Daughter of Venice, For the Love of Venice, and The Smile. Napoli has won numerous awards for her work, including the Golden Kite Award given by the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (for Stones in Water, and honor book Breath), the Sydney Taylor Award given by the Association of Jewish Libraries (for Stones in Water, and, honor book, The King of Mulberry Street and the Parents' Choice Gold Award (for Alligator Bayou and Silver awards for North and The King of Mulberry Street).
Her publications in linguistics include Syntactic argumentation (with Emily Rando). (Washington, DC: Georgetown Univ. Press, 1979), Syntax: Theory and Problems (Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 1993), Linguistics: An introduction (Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 1996), Humour in sign languages: The linguistic underpinnings (with Rachel Sutton-Spence) (Dublin: Trinity Press, 2009), with dozens of articles in the scholarly journals. She is a former member of the editorial board of the premiere journal Language.
Donna Jo Napoli was born the youngest of four children in Miami, February 28, 1948, to an Italian-American family. After correcting an eyesight problem left undiagnosed until the age of 10, Napoli became an avid reader. From then on she found solace in the escape provided by books, using reading as comfort during family troubles and instability stemming from her father's gambling problem. She was accepted to Harvard University for undergraduate education and received both her B.S. (Mathematics, 1970) and M.A./Ph.D. (Romance Languages, 1973). A postdoctoral fellowship in linguistics at M.I.T. in 1974 led to her resulting career in the field. She is married and has five children.
Napoli has dual citizenship in the U.S. and Italy.
Early linguistics career
Napoli began her linguistics career in generative syntax, with a focus on Italian and other Romance languages. Her dissertation in 1973 was titled The Two Si's of Italian: An Analysis of Reflexive, Inchoative, and Indefinite Subject Sentences in Modern Standard Italian. Her subsequent work spanned many topics within generatic syntax on Romance languages and English, including its interfaces with intonation, morphology, and other areas.
Early writing career
Although Napoli always had a love of writing, she decided not to pursue it as a career in early life. Her professional writing career began with the publication of her first book, The Hero of Barletta, in 1988. Napoli's novels tackle real-world problems children of any age may face, including family hardships, anxiety, phobias, and illness. As explained in a 2012 TED Talk, Napoli finds it important that children read stories about real-life problems they may face, to help comfort those who are experiencing similar difficulties.
Work with Deaf communities
Napoli has contributed to linguistic research on sign languages, including the publication of the book Primary movement in sign languages in 2011.
Combining her interest in language and literature, Napoli has collaborated with others to create bimodal bilingual ebooks for hearing parents to read to their deaf children. These are ebooks and videos that are both conveyed in oral language, and conveyed in sign language in a video. Languages represented in this project include American Sign Language, Brazilian Sign Language, Fijian Sign Language, Korean Sign Language, Irish Sign Language, Nepali Sign Language, Swedish Sign Language, and others. The books are translated into the oral language relevant for each signed language.
Young Adult novels
- The Magic Circle, 1993 Dutton Penguin, 1995 Puffin Books (Paperback)
- Zel, 1996 Dutton Penguin, 1998 Puffin Books (Paperback)
- Song of the Magdalene, 1996 Scholastic, 1998 (Paperback), 2004 Simon & Schuster (Paperback)
- Stones in Water, 1997, 1999 (Paperback) Dutton Penguin
- For the Love of Venice, 1998, 2000 (Paperback) Delacorte Press
- Sirena, 1998, 2000 (Paperback) Scholastic
- Spinners, 1999, 2001 (Paperback) Dutton Penguin
- Crazy Jack, 1999, 2001 (Paperback) Delacorte Press
- Beast, 2000, 2002 (Paperback) Simon & Schuster
- Daughter of Venice, 2002, 2003 (Paperback) Delacorte Press
- The Great God Pan, 2003, 2005 (Paperback) Delacorte Press
- Breath, 2003, 2005 (Paperback) Simon & Schuster
- North, 2004, 2005 (Paperback) Greenwillow
- Bound, 2004, 2006 Simon & Schuster
- The King of Mulberry Street, 2005, 2007 (Paperback) Delacorte Press
- Fire in the Hills, 2006, 2008 (Paperback) Dutton Press
- Hush: An Irish Princess' Tale, 2007, 2008 (Paperback) Simon & Schuster
- The Smile, 2008, 2009 (Paperback) Dutton Press
- Alligator Bayou, 2009, 2010 (Paperback) Random House
- The Wager, 2010, 2014 (Paperback) Henry Holt and Company
- Skin, 2013 Skyscape
- Storm, 2014 Simon & Schuster
- Hidden: An Irish Princess' Tale, 2014 Paula Wiseman Books
- Dark Shimmer, 2015 Random House
Elementary- and middle-school novels
- Soccer Shock, 1991 Dutton Penguin, 1993 Puffin Books (Paperback)
- The Prince of the Pond, 1992 Dutton Penguin, 1994 Puffin Books (Paperback)
- When the Water Closes over my Head, 1994 Dutton Penguin, 1996 Puffin Books (Paperback)
- Shark Shock, 1994 Dutton Penguin, 1997 Puffin Books (Paperback)
- The Bravest Thing, 1995 Dutton Penguin, 1997 Puffin Books (Paperback)
- Jimmy, the Pickpocket of the Palace, 1995 Dutton Penguin, 1997 Puffin Books (Paperback)
- On Guard, 1997 Dutton Penguin, 1999 Puffin Books (Paperback)
- Trouble on the Tracks, 1998 Scholastic
- Changing Tunes, 1998 Dutton Penguin, 2000 Puffin Books (Paperback)
- Shelley Shock, 2000 Dutton Penguin, 2002 Puffin Books (Paperback)
- Three Days, 2001 Dutton Penguin, 2003 Puffin Books (Paperback)
- Gracie, the Pixie of the Puddle, 2004 Dutton Penguin
- Sly the Sleuth and the Pet Mysteries, 2005 Dial Press, 2007 Scholastic (Paperback)
- Ugly, 2006, 2008 (Paperback) Hyperion Books
- Sly the Sleuth and the Sports Mysteries, 2006 Dial Press
- Sly the Sleuth and the Food Mysteries, 2007 Dial Press
- Mogo, the Third Warthog, 2008 Hyperion Books
- Sly the Sleuth and the Code Mysteries, 2009 Dial Press
- Lights On The Nile, 2011 HarperCollins
- Treasury of Greek Mythology: Classic Stories of Gods, Goddesses, Heroes & Monsters, 2011 National Geographic
- Treasury of Egyptian Mythology: Classic Stories of Gods, Goddesses, Monsters & Mortals, 2013 National Geographic
- Treasury of Norse Mythology: Stories Of Intrigue, Trickery, Love & Revenge, 2015 National Geographic
- Tales From the Arabian Nights: Stories of Adventure, Magic, Love, and Betrayal, 2016 National Geographic
- Treasury of Bible Stories, 2019 National Geographic
The Angelwings Series
Published by Simon & Schuster 1999-2001
- Friends Everywhere
- Little Creatures
- On Her Own
- One Leap Forward
- Give and Take
- No Fair!
- April Flowers
- Playing Games
- Lies and Lemons
- Running Away
- New Voices
- Left Out
- Happy Holidays
- Hang In There
Picture books and early readers
- The Hero of Barletta, Illustrations by Dana Gustafson, Carolrhoda Books, 1988
- Albert, Illustrations by Jim LaMarche, Harcourt, 2001
- How Hungry are You?, Illustrations by Amy Walrod, Simon & Schuster, 2001
- Rocky, the Cat who Barks, Illustrations by Tamara Petrosino, Dutton Children's Books, 2002
- Flamingo Dream, Illustrated by Cathie Felstead, Greenwillow, 2002
- Hotel Jungle, Illustrations by Kenneth J. Spengler, Mondo Publishing 2004
- Pink Magic, Illustrations by Chad Cameron, Clarion Books, 2005
- Bobby the Bold, Illustrations by Ard Hoyt, Dial Books for Young Readers, 2006
- The Wishing Club: A Story About Fractions, Illustrations by Anna Currey, Henry Holt and Company, 2007
- Corkscrew Counts: A Story About Multiplication, Illustrations by Anna Currey, Henry Holt and Company, 2008
- Ready to Dream, Illustrations by Bronwyn Bancroft, Bloomsbury USA, 2009
- The Earth Shook: A Persian Tale Illustrations by Gabi Swiatkowska Hyperion Books, 2009
- Handy Stories to Read and Sign, Illustrations by Maureen Klusza, Gallaudet University Press, 2009
- Mama Miti: Wangari Maathai and the Trees of Kenya, Illustrations by Kadir Nelson, Simon & Schuster, 2010
- The Crossing, Illustrations by Jim Madsen, Simon & Schuster, 2011
- A Single Pearl, Illustrations by Jim LaMarche, Hyperion Books, 2013
- Hands & Hearts, Illustrations by Amy Bates, Abrams Books, 2014
Recently announced eBooks
- Hang In There, 2015
- Left Out, 2015
- Partners, 2015
- Happy Holidays, 2015
- Know-It-All, 2015
- No Fair!, 2015
- Playing Games, 2015
- April Flowers, 2015
- One Leap Forward, 2015
- Give And Take, 2015
- On Her Own, 2015
- Song Of The Magdalene, 2015
- Friends Everywhere, 2015
- Little Creatures, 2015
- Donna Jo Napoli at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database (ISFDB). Retrieved 2014-02-20.
- "Donna Jo Napoli". www.swarthmore.edu. November 24, 2014. Retrieved March 22, 2019.
- "Donna Jo Napoli Biography - life, family, children, parents, story, school, mother, young, son". www.notablebiographies.com. Retrieved March 22, 2019.
- "Biography". www.donnajonapoli.com. Retrieved March 22, 2019.
- Napoli, D.J. "Curriculum Vitae" (PDF).
- TEDx Talks (April 3, 2012), TEDxSwarthmore - Donna Jo Napoli - What Children (and Everyone Else) Need to Read, retrieved March 22, 2019
- "access". access. Retrieved March 22, 2019.
- Official website
- Curriculum vitae
- Profile and Interview at TeenReads (2000)
- Donna Jo Napoli: A Hunger for Words, Scott Philips (September 19, 2006)
- Cover art and reviews at FantasyLiterature.net
- Donna Jo Napoli at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database
- Donna Jo Napoli at Library of Congress Authorities, with 95 catalog records