Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Esme Raji Codell  

Pen Name: None


Audience: Adult; Young Adult; Children;

Born: 1968 in Chicago

-- Website --
-- Esme Raji Codell on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

Codell lives in Evanston.

Biographical and Professional Information

Esmé Raji Codell is a teacher and librarian and the author of many award-winning books for children. She worked at a children's bookstore, selling books, storytelling and organizing programs that would attract people to the stores. She began teaching after graduating form Northeastern Illinois University. In 2003 she turned to writing fiction. You can find more story-time fun and support for your child's precious preschool years at her website.

Published Works

  • Educating Esme, A Diary of a Teacher`s First Year, Algonquin Books, 1999
  • How to Get Your Child to Love Reading: For Ravenous and Reluctant Readers, Algonquin Books, 2003
  • Sahara Special, Hyperion Books, 2004
  • Diary of a Fairy Godmother, Hyperion Books, 2005
  • Hanukkah, Schmanukkah, Hyperion Books, 2005
  • Vive La Paris, Hyperion Books, 2006
  • Sing a Song of Tuna Fish, Hyperion Books, 2006
  • Fairly Fairy Tales, Aladdin, 2011
  • The Basket Ball, Abrams Books for Children, 2011
  • Seed by Seed: The Legend and Legacy of John Appleseed Chapman, Greenwillow Books, 2012
  • It's Time for Preschool!, Greenwillow Books, 2012

Selected Titles At Your Library

Educating Esmé :
ISBN: 1565122798. OCLC Number:

. .

"Educating Esme" is the uncensored diary of Codell's first year teaching in a Chicago public school.

How to get your child to love reading /
ISBN: 1565123085. OCLC Number:

Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill,. Chapel Hill, N.C. :. ©2003.

Blending her experience as both a teacher and a parent with a passion for children's literature, Codell presents this indispensable resource for parents that puts kids on the road to reading. Includes fun-filled activities that emphasize excitement and thousands of book recommendations on a variety of subjects.

Sahara Special /
ISBN: 0439653703. OCLC Number:

Scholastic Inc.,. New York :. [2004], ©2003.

Struggling with school and her feelings since her father left, Sahara gets a fresh start with a new and unique teacher who supports her writing talents and the individuality of each of her classmates.

Diary of a fairy godmother /
ISBN: 0786809663. OCLC Number:

Hyperion Books for Children,. New York :. 2006, ©2005.

Hunky Dory is at the top of her class in charm school. She could make flowers wilt like wet spaghetti and thunder rumble like a whale's bellyache. But her interest in wishcraft over witchcraft gets her kicked out of charm school. Now she's determined to follow her heart and become a fairy godmother. But how to go about doing it? She gives a woodsman a new mustache, and grants Wolf his strange wish for a grandmother costume. Yet it all seems so unsatisfying, somehow. Finally, motivated by jealousy over her friend Rumpelstiltskin's crush on the girl in the roomful of straw, she meets the ticket to realizing her career dream -- Cinderella.

Hanukkah, shmanukkah! /
ISBN: 0786851791. OCLC Number:

Hyperion Books for Children,. New York, N.Y. :. ©2005.

In early 1900s New York City, miserly Scroogemacher, a waistcoat factory owner, is visited by the Rabbis of Hanukkah Past, Present, and Future and learns the value of carrying on Jewish tradition. Includes glossary of Yiddish terms and historical notes.

Vive la Paris /
ISBN: 0786851252. OCLC Number:

Hyperion Paperbacks for Children,. New York :. 2007, ©2006.

Fifth-grader Paris learns some lessons about dealing with bullies of all kinds as she wonders how to stop a classmate from beating up her brother at school and as she learns about the Holocaust from her piano teacher, Mrs. Rosen.

Sing a song of tuna fish :
ISBN: 0786836520. OCLC Number:

Hyperion Paperbacks For Children,. New York :. 2006.

Biography of a little girl's life in Chicago while she is in the fifth grade.

Fairly fairy tales /
ISBN: 1416990860. OCLC Number:

Aladdin,. New York :. 2011.

Offers a different look at some classic stories, as a parent and child read before bedtime.

The Basket ball /
ISBN: 1419700073. OCLC Number:

Abrams Books for Young Readers,. New York :. 2011.

After the boys won't let her join in their basketball game, Lulu decides to host a Basket Ball, where girls from all over come to participate and, with Lulu as captain, end up forming a special team.

Seed by seed :
ISBN: 0061455156. OCLC Number:

Greenwillow Books,. New York :. 2012.

Recounts the life of John Chapman, the legendary Johnny Appleseed.

It's time for preschool! /
ISBN: 0061455180. OCLC Number:

Greenwillow Books,. New York :. ©2012.

Introduces typical activities a child might encounter at preschool.


Fairly Fairy Tales


Speaking Engagements

Speaking Engagement Availability (Yes)