Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Wendy McClure  

Pen Name: None


Born: 1971 in Oak Park, Illinois

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Illinois Connection

McClure was born and raised in Oak Park and currently resides in Chicago.

Biographical and Professional Information

Wendy McClure is an author, columnist and a senior editor of middle grade and young adult books at Albert Whitman & Co. She graduated from the Iowa Writers' Workshop and has been writing for well over a decade. Her essays have appeared in the ''The New York Times Magazine'', ''The Chicago Sun-Times'', and in numerous anthologies. McClure has also written the ebook - ''Don't Trade the Baby for a Horse: And Other Ways to Make Your Life a Little More Laura Ingalls Wilder'' and gathered a collection of the notorious retro Weight Watchers recipe cards in a collection titled - ''The Amazing Mackerel Pudding Plan: Classic Diet Recipe Cards from the 1970s''. Her book, ''I'm Not the New Me'', is a memoir.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

The Princess and the Peanut Allergy
ISBN: 0807566233

Albert Whitman & Company. 2009

Regina and her mom are busy preparing for her birthday party. It’s going to be a princess party with the perfect cake that looks like a castle and has ice cream cone towers. Regina is inviting all the girls in her class, including her best friend, Paula. Paula is excited, too, until she finds out about the cake. It will have nutty fudge brownies and peanut butter candies. Paula can’t eat that cake—she can’t go anywhere near that cake—because she has a peanut allergy. Regina really wants her cake, and she and Paula fight about it. That afternoon they both go home mad. But that night, after Regina reads her favorite story, "The Princess and the Pea," she thinks more about her friend and the cake. The next morning she has a great plan that will please everyone.

ISBN: 1595147012

Razorbill. 2014


Jack, Frances, and Frances’s younger brother Harold have been ripped from the world they knew in New York and sent to Kansas on an orphan train at the turn of the century. As the train chugs closer and closer to its destination, the children begin to hear terrible rumors about the lives that await them. And so they decide to change their fate the only way they know how. . . .

They jump off the train.

There, in the middle of the woods, they meet a boy who will transform their lives forever. His name is Alexander, and he tells them they've come to a place nobody knows about—especially not adults—and "where all children in need of freedom are accepted." It's a place called Wanderville, Alexander says, and now Jack, Frances, and Harold are its very first citizens.

On Track for Treasure (Wanderville)
ISBN: 1595147039

Razorbill. 2015

Ride the rails to a spirited adventure at the turn of the century!

When the town sheriff discovers the exact location of “Wanderville,” the orphans who live there—Jack, Frances, Harold, Alexander, and their new friends—must flee their home in the woods.

They take to the rails and, after nearly being caught, are rescued by a seemingly kind reverend and his wife. The pair brings the children to their home, telling them that if they help the sharecroppers who run their farm, they will eventually be adopted.

But Frances can’t stop thinking about a mysterious treasure mentioned to her by a hobo they met during their travels, and when a young African-American sharecropper is blamed for stealing a fiddle her brother Harold actually nabbed, the citizens of Wanderville will have to decide whether their community is heading in the right direction or whether they need to get their “town” back on track.

Escape to the World's Fair (Wanderville)
ISBN: 1595148205

Razorbill. 2015

Catch a ferry to the 1904 World's Fair with the orphans of Wanderville!

The orphans of Wanderville have decided to never again let themselves be confused by adults offering them shiny red apples and warm beds. They’re going to make their way to California and establish a more permanent spot for Wanderville.

But when they’re suddenly left without means of transportation, the orphans must find a new way of getting to their “town.” Enter a dandy motorist with a proposition: If the orphans agree to take a mysterious artifact to the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair on his behalf, they will receive a handsome reward that will allow them to book passage west.

The citizens of Wanderville conclude that this is their best bet. What they don’t realize, however, is just how treacherous the journey to the fair will be and how much they will need to sacrifice to finally find themselves a new home.

I'm Not the New Me
ISBN: 1594480745

Riverhead Books. 2005

A hilarious and sometimes poignant look at the absurdities of weight-loss culture from an appealing and original voice.

I'm Not The New Me
is about coming to terms with a family heritage of fat and drastic surgeries, and about self-esteem issues that are nobody's business but your own. It's wondering what's left of yourself after you lose weight-and just who the hell you are if you gain it back. It's about the absurdities of online identities and fat girl clichs, and the sheer terror of appearing live and in person in your very own life.

The Wilder Life: My Adventures in the Lost World of Little House on the Prairie
ISBN: 1594487804

Riverhead Books. 2011

For anyone who has ever wanted to step into the world of a favorite book, here is a pioneer pilgrimage, a tribute to Laura Ingalls Wilder, and a hilarious account of butter-churning obsession.

Wendy McClure is on a quest to find the world of beloved Little House on the Prairie author Laura Ingalls Wilder-a fantastic realm of fiction, history, and places she's never been to, yet somehow knows by heart. She retraces the pioneer journey of the Ingalls family- looking for the Big Woods among the medium trees in Wisconsin, wading in Plum Creek, and enduring a prairie hailstorm in South Dakota. She immerses herself in all things Little House, and explores the story from fact to fiction, and from the TV shows to the annual summer pageants in Laura's hometowns. Whether she's churning butter in her apartment or sitting in a replica log cabin, McClure is always in pursuit of "the Laura experience." Along the way she comes to understand how Wilder's life and work have shaped our ideas about girlhood and the American West.

The Wilder Life is a loving, irreverent, spirited tribute to a series of books that have inspired generations of American women. It is also an incredibly funny first-person account of obsessive reading, and a story about what happens when we reconnect with our childhood touchstones-and find that our old love has only deepened.



  • 2016 ILLINOIS READS Book
  • The Wilder Life

  • Midwest Booksellers Choice Award
  • Barnes & Noble Discover Selection
  • Starred Review, Publishers Weekly

    Speaking Engagements

    Speaking Engagement Availability (Yes)

    For school visits Complete the ''Author at Penguin Young Readers. For large-scale events with adult audiences, inquire through the ''Wendy.