Gary D. Schmidt

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Gary D. Schmidt
Schmidt at the Mazza Museum in 2012
Schmidt at the Mazza Museum in 2012
Born (1957-04-14) April 14, 1957 (age 64)[1]
Hicksville, NY[2]
OccupationAcademic, writer
GenreRealistic fiction
Notable works
Notable awards
Anne E Stickney
(m. 1979; died 2013)

Gary David Schmidt[5] (born April 14, 1957) is an American author of children's and young adults' fiction books. He currently resides in Alto, Michigan, where he is a professor of English at Calvin University.

Life and literary career[edit]

Early life and education[edit]

Gary D. Schmidt was born in Hicksville, New York, in 1957. As a child, Schmidt says he was underestimated by teachers at an elementary school where students were classified by aptitude. Concerning his early education, Schmidt explained in an interview with NPR: "If you're Track One you're the college-bound kid; if you're Track Two you'll have a good job; if you're Track Three you're the stupid kid. And I was tracked as Track Three."[6] After intervention from a concerned teacher, Schmidt found a love for reading, an event which served as inspiration for his novel The Wednesday Wars.[6]

In the mid 1970s, Schmidt attended Gordon College, earning an undergraduate degree in English in 1979. Thereafter he attended University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, obtaining a master's degree in English in 1981 before graduating with a PhD in medieval literature in 1985. Schmidt has since worked as a professor for the English department at Calvin College.[7]

Awards and honors[edit]

In 2005, Schmidt's novel Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy was awarded a Newbery Honor, which recognizes "the most distinguished contribution[s] to American literature for children",[8] and a Printz Honor. In 2008, he was awarded a second Newbery Honor for The Wednesday Wars.[9]

Schmidt's novel Okay for Now, the 2011 sequel to The Wednesday Wars, was a National Book Award finalist.[10]

Personal life[edit]

In 1996, Schmidt was diagnosed with lymphatic cancer. While being treated, he was exposed to a variety of other cancer patients whose stories, he claims, served as inspiration for future novels and encouraged him to write primarily for children and young adults.[11]

Schmidt and his late wife, Anne, have six children; one is a teacher. He is a practicing Christian and describes himself as religious.[11] He also enjoys teaching writing courses in prisons and detention centers, and experiences there served as inspiration for his novel Orbiting Jupiter.[12]

Selected bibliography[edit]

(In order of publication)

  • The Sin Eater (Dutton Publishers; New York; 1996)
  • The Blessing of the Lord (Eerdmans; 1997)
  • William Bradford: Plymouth's Faithful Pilgrim (Eerdmans Publishing Company; Grand Rapids; 1999)
  • Anson's Way (Clarion Books; New York; 1999)
  • Ciaran: The Tale of a Saint of Ireland (Eerdmans Publishing Company; Grand Rapids, MI; 2000)
  • Mara's Stories (Henry Holt; New York; 2001)
  • Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy (New York; Clarion Books; 2004)
  • In God's Hands (Jewish Lights Publications; Woodstock, Vermont; 2005)
  • First Boy (Henry Holt; New York; 2005)
  • The Wednesday Wars (Clarion Books; New York; 2007)
  • Trouble (Clarion Books; New York; 2008)
  • Straw into Gold (Clarion; 2009)
  • Okay for Now (Clarion Books; New York; 2011)
  • What Came from the Stars (Clarion Books; New York; 2012)
  • Martín de Porres: The rose in the desert (Clarion; 2012)
  • Orbiting Jupiter (Clarion; 2015)
  • Pay Attention, Carter Jones (Clarion; 2019)
  • Just Like That (Clarion; 2021)[13]


  1. ^ "Schmidt, Gary D. 1957–".
  2. ^ Something About the Author Volume 193, p. 169.
  3. ^ Anderson, Myrna DeVries (Spring 2006). "Opening the Book that is Gary Schmidt". Spark. Calvin College. Retrieved May 16, 2018.
  4. ^ "Announcing the New Anne Stickney Schmidt Scholarship in Young People's Literature". Hamline University. Retrieved May 16, 2018.
  5. ^ Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy in libraries (WorldCat catalog).
  6. ^ a b "With Audubon's Help, Beat-Up Kid Is 'Okay For Now'". NPR. Retrieved November 12, 2017.
  7. ^ "Gary Schmidt". Calvin College. Retrieved November 12, 2017.
  8. ^ admin (November 30, 1999). "Book & Media Awards". Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC). Retrieved November 12, 2017.
  9. ^ "Gary Schmidt". Retrieved March 25, 2010.
  10. ^ "Gary D. Schmidt, Okay for Now – National Book Award YPL Finalist, The National Book Foundation". Retrieved November 12, 2017.
  11. ^ a b "Calvin College". Retrieved November 12, 2017.
  12. ^ "Gary D. Schmidt | Kirkus Reviews". Kirkus Reviews. Retrieved November 12, 2017.
  13. ^ "Just Like That | HMH Books". Retrieved March 3, 2020.

External links[edit]