Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Joan Bauer  

Pen Name: None

Genre: Fiction

Audience: Children;

Born: 1951 in Oak Park, Illinois

-- Website --
-- Joan Bauer on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

Bauer was born in Oak Park and grew up in River Forest, Illinois.

Biographical and Professional Information

Joan Bauer worked as a freelancer for broadcast and television before she started writing children’s books. Her first book was an immediate success and received several awards. Joan Bauer currently resides in New York.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

Squashed (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition)
ISBN: 1417696257

Turtleback Books. 2005

FOR USE IN SCHOOLS AND LIBRARIES ONLY. As sixteen-year-old Ellie pursues her two goals--growing the biggest pumpkin in Iowa and losing twenty pounds herself--she strengthens her relationship with her father and meets a young man with interests similar to her own.

ISBN: 0142404292

Speak. 2005

From the Newbery Honor author of Hope Was Here, Thwonk is a delightful story overflowing with funny, stylish writing.

Imagine having a personal cupid—an actual winged being—pop into your life and offer to make your dreams come true. The catch is he can help you in only one way: artistically, academically, or romantically. That's what happens to aspiring photographer Allison Jean (A. J.) McCreary. A. J. knows she should concentrate on getting into a top-notch art school. But she's spent five torturous months obsessed with handsome hunk, Peter Terris. Just one shot from the cupid's bow and thwonk, A. J. will have the undying devotion of handsome Peter...forever.

ISBN: 0142404284

Speak. 2005

With the help of his grandmother, his dead father's best friend, and his own best friend—a math whiz—Mickey prepares to compete in the most important pool championship of his life, despite his mother's reservations.

Rules of the Road
ISBN: 0606343520

Demco Media. 2005

ISBN: 0142404349

Speak. 2005

Ivy doesn't want to be a lawyer. Who cares? Well, her father, for starters, who expects his daughter to take up the Breedlove family profession with dedication and enthusiasm. But Ivy wants to be a historian, a vocation that's getting quite a workout as she prepares a family history in honor of her beloved great-aunt Tib's eightieth birthday. This undertaking takes Ivy on a great journey, as she hikes into the wilds of the Adirondacks to find her reclusive aunt Jo -- and her own destiny.

Hope Was Here
ISBN: 0142404241

Puffin Books. 2005

A Newbery Honor Book

Joan Bauer's beloved Newbery Honor book--now with a great new look for middle grade readers!

When Hope and her aunt move to small-town Wisconsin to take over the local diner, Hope's not sure what to expect. But what they find is that the owner, G.T., isn't quite ready to give up yet--in fact, he's decided to run for mayor against a corrupt candidate. And as Hope starts to make her place at the diner, she also finds herself caught up in G.T.'s campaign--particularly his visions for the future. After all, as G.T. points out, everyone can use a little hope to help get through the tough times . . . even Hope herself.

Filled with heart, charm, and good old-fashioned fun, this is Joan Bauer at her best.

* “When it comes to creating strong, independent, and funny teenaged female characters, Bauer is in a class by herself ... Bauer tells a fast-paced, multilayered story with humor but does not gloss over the struggle[s].”—School Library Journal, starred review

“Bauer has succeeded in creating another quirky, poignant, and funny novel about a strong girl who admits her frailties ... Hope’s story is highly recommended for both middle and high school students.”—VOYA

“Another entry in Bauer’s growing collection of books about likable and appealing female teenagers with a strong vocational calling ... As always from Bauer, this novel is full of humor, starring a strong and idealistic protagonist, packed with funny lines, and peopled with interesting and quirky characters.” —Kirkus Reviews

Stand Tall
ISBN: 0142404276

Speak. 2005

Tree, a six-foot-three-inch twelve-year-old, copes with his parents' recent divorce and his failure as an athlete by helping his grandfather, a Vietnam vet and recent amputee, and Sophie, a new girl at school.

Best Foot Forward
ISBN: 0142406902

Speak. 2006

The must-read sequel to the beloved Rules of the Road, from award-winning author Joan Bauer.

Jenna Boller is dripping with newfound maturity after her life-altering summer on the road. She has a job she loves at Gladstone Shoes, a best friend who makes her laugh, and a dysfunctional family she's learning how to handle. Jenna feels ready for anything—until Tanner Cobb, a guy with a past, a police record, and dangerously good looks, walks into her life. Suddenly Jenna's surrounded by crises, including a shoe empire on the verge of crumbling. Tanner's street smarts seem to be what Jenna needs, but can she trust him enough when the going gets tough?

ISBN: 0142414301

Speak. 2009

Hildy Biddle wants something monumental to happen so she can finally prove herself to be more than a high school journalist. The problem? Her town?s biggest story stars a ghost, which is not an easy interview. But while the local paper is playing up people?s fears with shocking headlines of creepy happenings, Hildy is determined to discover what?s really going on. Unfortunately, her desire to uncover the truth is starting to cause a stir. With rumors swirling and tensions high, can Hildy push past all the hype and find out the real truth?

Close to Famous
ISBN: 0142420174

Puffin Books. 2012

A novel full of heart, humor, and charm from Newbery Honor winner Joan Bauer!

When twelve-year-old Foster and her mother land in the tiny town of Culpepper, they don't know what to expect. But folks quickly warm to the woman with the great voice and the girl who can bake like nobody's business. Soon Foster - who dreams of having her own cooking show one day - lands herself a gig baking for the local coffee shop, and gets herself some much-needed help in overcoming her biggest challenge - learning to read . . . just as Foster and Mama start to feel at ease, their past catches up to them. Thanks to the folks in Culpepper, though Foster and her mama find the strength to put their troubles behind them for good.

Almost Home
ISBN: 0670012890

Viking Books for Young Readers. 2012

Newbery Honor winner Joan Bauer's new novel will touch your heart

When twelve-year-old Sugar's grandfather dies and her gambling father takes off yet again, Sugar and her mother lose their home in Missouri. They head to Chicago for a fresh start, only to discover that fresh starts aren't so easy to come by for the homeless. Nevertheless, Sugar's mother has taught her to be grateful no matter what, so Sugar does her best. With the help of a rescue dog, Shush a foster family a supportive teacher a love of poetry and her own grace and good humor, Sugar comes to understand that while she can't control the hand life deals her, she can control how she responds.

Tell Me
ISBN: 0451470338

Viking Books for Young Readers. 2014

The unofficial town motto is "Nothing bad ever happens in Rosemont" where twelve-year-old Anna has come to stay with her grandmother, Mim, hoping to forget her worries about her parents' troubled marriage. She'll be busy with the town's annual Flower Festival, a celebration with floats and bands that requires weeks of preparations.

But before long, Anna finds herself involved in a very big problem. When she observes a girl her own age who seems to be being held against her will, Anna can't forget the girl's frightened eyes and she is determined to investigate. "When you see something, say something" she's been told—but what good does it do to speak if no one will listen? Luckily, a take-charge girl like Anna is not going to give up.

Told with Joan Bauer's trademark mixture of humor and heart, Tell Me will enthrall her many fans and win her new ones.

ISBN: 0451470346

Viking Books for Young Readers. 2016

Newbery Honor–winner Joan Bauer's newest protagonist always sees the positive side of any situation—and readers will cheer him on!

Jeremiah is the world’s biggest baseball fan. He really loves baseball and he knows just about everything there is to know about his favorite sport. So when he’s told he can’t play baseball following an operation on his heart, Jeremiah decides he’ll do the next best thing and become a coach.

Hillcrest, where Jeremiah and his father Walt have just moved, is a town known for its championship baseball team. But Jeremiah finds the town caught up in a scandal and about ready to give up on baseball. It’s up to Jeremiah and his can-do spirit to get the town – and the team – back in the game.

Full of humor, heart, and baseball lore, Soar is Joan Bauer at her best.



  • Delacorte Prize for an Outstanding First Young Adult Novel
  • School Library Journal Best Book of the Year
  • Thwonk

  • ALA Best Book for Young Adults
  • ALA Top Ten Quick Pick for Young Adults
  • YALSA Popular Paperback
  • Backwater

  • Smithsonian Magazine Best Book
  • Hope Was Here

  • Newbery Honor Award
  • Christopher Award
  • Michigans Thumbs Up Award
  • M. Jerry Weiss Reading Award
  • ALA Notable Book
  • Stand Tall

  • ALA Notable Book
  • Best Foot Forward

  • NY Library Association, Book for All Seasons
  • ALA Best Book for Young Adults
  • Rules of the Road

  • 2013 ILLINOIS READS Book
  • ALA Top Young Adult Books of the Quarter Century
  • Los Angeles Times Book Prize
  • Golden Kite Award of the Society of Childrens Book Writers and Illustrators
  • ALA Notable Book
  • ALA Best Book for Young Adults
  • ALA Quick Pick
  • School Library Journal Best Book of the Year
  • American Bookseller Pick of the Lists
  • BCCB Blue Ribbon Book
  • Close to Famous

  • American Library Associations Schneider Family Book Award
  • Christopher Award
  • Judy Lopez Memorial Prize
  • Almost Home

  • Texas Lone Star Book
  • 2013 Bank Street College Best Childrens Book

    Speaking Engagements

    Speaking Engagement Availability (Yes)

    , contact author by writing to Joan Bauer c/o Penguin Putnam Books for Young Readers 345 Hudson St. NY NY 10014