Kathi Appelt was born in the front seat of a Ford as her father drove wildly to the Army hospital at Ft. Bragg, North Carolina. He arrived there just moments after she and her mother met each other for the first time. When the M.P.'s who were chasing him across the fort realized what was going on, they decided not to arrest him. Kathi still loves cars and has never been good at waiting.

She grew up in Houston with two sisters, her mom and dad, and a host of relatives, including step-relatives. There were always pets in the household too, including dogs, cats, mice, and even chickens.

Kathi is the author of over forty books for children and young adults. Her debut novel, The Underneath (Atheneum / Simon & Schuster 2008), illustrated by David Small, won a Newbery Honor Medal, the USA PEN Center Award for Children's Literature, and was chosen as a National Book Award finalist.

Keeper, with illustrations by August Hall, was named a Best Book of the Year (2010) by School Library Journal, Horn Book and Kirkus, and was the final runner up in the “Battle of the Books,” sponsored by School Library Journal. 


The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp (Simon & Schuster / Atheneum 2013) was a finalist for the National Book Award. It was given the Green Earth Award by Nature Generation, the Texas Institute of Letters Award, and was also named a Notable Book in the Language Arts by NCTE. In addition, Lyle Lovett did the recording for the audio edition. 

Her newest novel, co-written by Alison McGhee, Maybe a Fox, (Caitlyn Dlouhy Books/Atheneum 2016) has received three starred reviews and has been chosen by the Junior Library Guild.

She is the proud author of a number of picture books, including Mogie, the Heart of the House, illustrated by Marc Rosenthal (Atheneum/Simon & Schuster 2014) and Counting Crows, illustrated by Rob Dunlavey (Atheneum/Simon & Schuster 2015).

When Otis Courted Mama, illustrated by Jill McElmurry (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), 2015, was named an Honor Book for the Charlotte Zolotow Award, given by CCBC.

Kathi is a faculty advisor at the Vermont College MFA Program in Creative Writing for Children and Young Adults.

She and her husband Ken live in College Station, TX with five cats--Jazz, Chica, Mingus, D’jango and Peach. Their two sons, Jacob and Cooper, are all grown up. They're both musicians and both play the double bass. Cooper is married to the wonderful Laurel Kathleen, who won Kathi over with their mutual love for coffee and books. 

Kathi Appelt is represented by Holly McGhee.
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