Emily Arnold McCully

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Emily Arnold McCully (born July 1, 1939) is an American writer and illustrator who is best known for children's books. She won the annual Caldecott Medal for U.S. picture book illustration in 1993 recognizing Mirette on the High Wire which she also wrote.


Arnold was born in Galesburg, Illinois, but grew up in Garden City, New York. She graduated from Pembroke College, now a part of Brown University, in 1961 and earned an M.A. in Art History from Columbia University. At Brown she acted in the inaugural evening of Production Workshop and other plays, co-wrote the annual musical, Brownbrokers, and earned a Phi Beta Kappa key.

In 1976, she published a short story in The Massachusetts Review. It was selected for the O'Henry Collection: Best Short Stories of the Year. Two novels followed: A Craving in 1982, and Life Drawing in 1986. In 2012, McCully published Ballerina Swan with Holiday House Books for Young People, written by legendary prima ballerina Allegra Kent. It has received rave reviews from The New York Times,[1] Kirkus Reviews,[2] and School Library Journal.[3]

As an actor, she performed in Equity productions of Elizabeth DiggsSaint Florence at Capital Rep in Albany and The Vineyard Theater in New York City.

Among other awards and honors, McCully has received a Christopher Award for Picnic, the two children's book of Caldecott Medal for Mirette on the High Wire, the Jane Addams Award, the Giverney Award, and an honorary doctorate from Brown University.[4][5]

Partial bibliography[edit]

Children's picture books[edit]

  • Grandmas series
    • The Grandma Mix-Up (1988)
    • Grandmas at the Lake (1990)
    • Grandmas at Bat (1993)
    • The Mixed-Up Grandmas Treasury (1997)
    • Grandmas Trick-Or-Treat (2001)
  • Mirette Series
  • The Pirate Queen (1998)
  • Hurry! (2000)
  • Mouse Practice (2001)
  • The orphan singer (2002)
  • Battle for St. Michaels (2002)
  • Picnic (2003)
  • First Snow (2004)
  • Squirrel and John Muir (2004)
  • School (2005)
  • The Bobbin Girl (2009)
  • Ballerina Swan (2012), written by Allegra Kent
  • Popcorn at the Palace (2014)
  • Clara : the (mostly) true story of the rhinoceros who dazzled kings, inspired artists, and won the hearts of everyone ... while she ate her way up and down a continent!

Children's non-fiction[edit]

  • Manjiro: The Boy Who Risked His Life for Two Countries (2008)
  • My Heart Glow: Alice Cogswell, Thomas Gallaudet, and the Birth of American Sign Language (2008)
  • The Secret Cave: Discovering Lascaux (2010)
  • Wonder Horse: The True Story of the World's Smartest Horse (2013), non-fiction picture book about Beautiful Jim Key.
  • Marvelous Mattie: How Margaret E. Knight Became an Inventor (2013)
  • Strongheart: The World's First Movie Star Dog (2014)
  • Queen of the Diamond: The Lizzie Murphy Story (2015)
  • Caroline's Comets: A True Story (2017), biography of Caroline Herschel.


  1. ^ "Step by Step: Ballerina Swan, Bea at Ballet and Invitation to Ballet". Jennifer B. McDonald. The New York Times. May 9, 2012.
  2. ^ "BALLERINA SWAN by Allegra Kent, Emily Arnold McCully". Kirkus Reviews. April 15, 2012. Retrieved 2013-05-16.
  3. ^ "Allegra Kent on Unusual Casting". School Library Journal. April 3, 2012. Retrieved 2013-05-16.
    2014-04-11: unavailable after May 2013; conversion and migration to new website (slj.com) is in ongoing.
  4. ^ "Caldecott Medal & Honor Books, 1938–Present". Association for Library Service to Children. American Library Association.
  5. ^ "Emily Arnold McCully". Scholastic Teachers (scholastic.com/teachers).

External links[edit]