Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Leanne Statland Ellis  

Pen Name: None

Genre: Fiction


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Illinois Connection

Statland Ellis grew up in Lincolnwood, Illinois and teaches there today.

Biographical and Professional Information

Leanne Statland Ellis loves to travel. She has taught in Los Angeles and now teaches third, fourth and fifth grade students in the Chicago area. As a teacher, she has encountered countless students who care deeply about the environment and want to take action to help in any way they can. She wrote ''Tree Huggers'' to remind children everywhere that they are powerful people who should never be told that they can’t make a difference because they are “just kids”.Among her most exciting teaching assignments were the summer science programs in Hawaii, the Galapagos Islands, Alaska and Midway Island. She has also been the recipient of Earthwatch grants to study in India and Kenya.She was inspired to write ''The Ugly One'' by her travels in Peru, including two visits to Machu Picchu. It is a story about a young girl in Peru whose life changes when a stranger visiting her Incan village gives her a baby macaw.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

Tree Huggers
ISBN: 0880925213

Royal Fireworks Publishing. 2010

The trees in Alex's neighborhood are being cut down by the town government, and she and her friend Josh don't like it. They decide to join BUST, Belwood United to Save the Trees, a group of people who are trying to save the final few trees that are still standing. When your favorite tree in the whole world, Luna, is about to be hacked to the ground, and you kind of like your friend Josh as more than a friend and have some stiff competition from the pretty, shiny-haired Hailey, another girl who has joined the group to get closer to Josh? Josh is ready to chain himself to the trees in protest, but how far is Alex willing to go to save her beloved Luna?

Leanne Statland Ellis wrote Tree Huggers because she has encountered countless students who care deeply about the environment and want to take action to help in any way they can. When she was a teacher in Los Angeles, Leanne and her students studied the environment and became citizen foresters, often volunteering their time to plant trees with a local nonprofit organization. Many of the events in this book are true. Leanne is now a teacher of the gifted in Lincolnwood, Illinois. The Lincolnwood Review has written about the author and Tree Huggers, September 20, 2010.

In the article some of Leanne Ellis's 11 year-old students were quoted: Nick liked the suspense that kept him anxious to know what would happen next. And he especially enjoyed the twists and turns in the plot that kept him guessing whether the tree-huggers plan would work or not. Tiara liked the message that children can change the world. Ellis sent through the main characters, Alex and Josh. "I related to the characters because we all know how it feels to really want something," said Kosta. "I related to the main character's best friend, Josh, because he was going straight forward to rescue Luna, even though he was risking going to jail," said Julia. "That's what I would do, too, without a doubt."

The Ugly One
ISBN: 0547640234

Clarion Books. 2013

I had always been ugly, as far back as I could remember.

Micay has a deep scar that runs like a river from her right eye to her lip. The boys in her Incan village bully her because of it, and most of the adults ignore her. So she keeps to herself and tries to hide the scar with her long hair, drawing comfort from her family and her faith in the Sun God, Inti. Then a stranger traveling from his jungle homeland to the Sacred Sun City at Machu Picchu gives her a baby macaw, and the path of her life changes. Perhaps she isn’t destined to be the Ugly One forever. Vivid storytelling and rich details capture the life and landscape of the Incan Empire as seen through the eyes of a young girl who is an outsider among her own people.


The Ugly One

  • Junior Library Guild Selection Parent's Choice Award, Fiction Books

  • 2015 ILLINOIS READS Book

    Speaking Engagements

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