Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book


Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Charles J. Shields  

Pen Name: None

Genre: Non-Fiction Other

Audience: Adult; Young Adult; Children;

Born: 1951 in Chester, Pennsylvania


-- Charles J. Shields on WorldCat -- http://www.worldcat.org/search?q=charles+j.+shields


Illinois Connection

Charles Shields was raised in Park Forest, Illinois, attended the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, where he received degrees in English and American history.

Biographical and Professional Information

Charles Shields is a biographer, primarily of 20th century American novelists. In 1997, Shields left a career in high school teaching and administration to write independently. Over the course of the next six years, he published 20 histories and biographies for young people, including a biography of writer Amy Tan, selected by the New York Public Library as one of the “Best Books for the Teen Age” in 2003. Shields published his first biography for adults in 2006, and ''Mockingbird: A Portrait of Harper Lee'' went on to became a New York Times bestseller.In 2009, with fellow biographers Nigel Hamilton, James McGrath Morris, and Debby Applegate, Shields co-founded ''Biographers International Organization'' (BIO), a non-profit organization founded to promote the art and craft of biography, and to further the professional interests of its practitioners. As of July 2011, BIO has members in 43 American states and 10 nations, including Australia, India, Kenya, and the Netherlands.Shields currently resides in Virginia and is the associate director of the ''Great Lives Lecture Series'' at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia which brings prominent biographers and historians to campus.


Published Works

    Biographies:''Amy Tan, Chelsea House Publishers, 2002Annie Oakley, Chelsea House Publishers, 2002Buffalo Bill Cody, Chelsea House Publishers, 2002George Lucas, Chelsea House Publishers, 2002Martha Stewart, Chelsea House Publishers, 2002Mohandas K. Gandhi, Chelsea House Publishers, 2002Mythmaker: The Story of J.K. Rowling, Chelsea House Publishers, 2002Roald Dahl, Chelsea House Publishers, 2002Spike Lee, Chelsea House Publishers, 2002Saddam Hussein, Chelsea House Publishers, 2003Vladimir Putin, Chelsea House Publishers, 2003Mockingbird: A Portrait of Harper Lee , Henry Holt, 2007I Am Scout: The Biography of Harper Lee, Henry Holt, 2008And So It Goes: Kurt Vonnegut: A Life, Henry Holt, 2011'History:James Cook and the Exploration of the Pacific, Chelsea House Publishers, 2002John Cabot and the Rediscovery of North America, Chelsea House Publishers, 2002The 1993 World Trade Center Bombing, Chelsea House Publishers, 2002The Great Plague and Fire of London, Chelsea House Publishers, 2002Geography:Belize, Mason Crest Publishers, 2003Central America: Facts and Figures, Mason Crest Publishers, 2003Costa Rica, Mason Crest Publishers, 2003El Salvador, Mason Crest Publishers, 2003Guatemala, Mason Crest Publishers, 2003Honduras, Mason Crest Publishers, 2003Nicaragua, Mason Crest Publishers, 2003Panama, Mason Crest Publishers, 2003Argentina, Mason Crest Publishers, 2004Brazil, Mason Crest Publishers, 2004Chile, Mason Crest Publishers, 2004Peru, Mason Crest Publishers, 2004Uruguay, Mason Crest Publishers, 2004Venezuela, Mason Crest Publishers, 2004College Career Guides:The College Guide for Parents, Surrey Books, 1986, 3rd edition, College Entrance Exam Board, 1995How to Help Your Teenager Find the Right Career, College Entrance Examination Board, 1988Back In School: A Guide for Adult Learners, Career Press, 1994Mental Health:'Mental Illness and Its Effects on School and Work Environments, Chelsea House Publishers, 2000Sexual Disorders'', Chelsea House Publishers, 2001


Selected Titles At Your Library

Buffalo Bill Cody /
ISBN: 0791064980. OCLC Number:

Chelsea House Publishers,. Philadelphia :. ©2002.

Examines the life and times of the frontiersman whose many careers included Pony Express rider, Indian fighter, scout, and star of his own Wild West Show.

Mockingbird :
ISBN: 0805083197. OCLC Number:

Henry Holt,. New York :. 2006.

To Kill a Mockingbird, the twentieth century's most widely read American novel, still sells a million copies yearly. Yet despite the book's perennial popularity, its creator remains a somewhat mysterious figure. Journalist Shields brings to life the warmhearted, high-spirited, and occasionally hardheaded woman who gave us two of American literature's most unforgettable characters--Atticus Finch and his daughter, Scout--and who contributed to the success of her lifelong friend Truman Capote's masterpiece, In Cold Blood. At the center of the book is Lee's struggle to create her famous novel. But her life contains many other highlights: her girlhood as a tomboy in overalls in tiny Monroeville, Alabama; the murder trial that made her father's reputation and inspired her great work; her journey to Kansas as Capote's ally and research assistant on the story of the Clutter murders; the surrogate family she found in New York City.--From publisher description.

I am Scout :
ISBN: 0805083340. OCLC Number:

. .

This biography tells the story of how Harper Lee struggled to become an author and created one of the most popular novels of the 20th century.

And so it goes :
ISBN: 0805086935. OCLC Number:

Henry Holt and Co.,. New York, N.Y. :. 2011.

An authorized portrait of the influential twentieth-century American writer draws on first-person accounts and Vonnegut's private letters while offering insight into his youth, the inspirations for his work, and his enduring literary impact.

Belize /
ISBN: 1422207110. OCLC Number:

Mason Crest Publishers,. Broomall, Pa. :. ©2009.

Learn all about Belize.

Costa Rica /
ISBN: 1422207137. OCLC Number:

Mason Crest Publishers,. Broomall, Pa. :. ©2009.

Discusses the land, history, economy, culture, and people of this Central American country.

El Salvador /
ISBN: 1422207145. OCLC Number:

Mason Crest Publishers.,. Broomall, Pa. :. ©2009.

Discusses the land, history, economy, culture, and people of this Central American country.

Guatemala /
ISBN: 1422207153. OCLC Number:

Mason Crest Publishers,. Broomall, Pa. :. ©2009.

Discusses the history, languages, foreign relations, economy, and culture of Guatemala.

Honduras /
ISBN: 1422207161. OCLC Number:

Mason Crest Publishers,. Broomall, Pa. :. ©2009.

An introduction to Honduras, discussing the history, economy, people, language, religion, and society of the Central American country, and including a calendar of Honduran festivals, recipes, a glossary, project and report ideas, a chronology, and resources.

Nicaragua /
ISBN: 142220717X. OCLC Number:

Mason Crest Publishers,. Broomall, Pa. :. ©2009.

Discusses the land, history, economy, culture, and people of this Central American country.


Speaking Engagements

Speaking Engagement Availability (Yes)

Contact Agent

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