Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Daniel Kraus  

Pen Name: None

Genre: Fiction

Audience: Adult; Young Adult;

Born: 1975 Midland, Michigan

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Illinois Connection

Kraus lives in Chicago.

Biographical and Professional Information

Daniel Kraus is a New York Times bestselling author of numerous novels, including Rotters, the Death and Life of Zebulon Finch duology, and Bent Heavens. With Guillermo del Toro, he wrote the New York Times bestselling The Shape of Water (the companion novel to the Academy Award-winning film) and Trollhunters (the inspiration for the Netflix series). The Living Dead, is a posthumous collaboration with legendary filmmaker George A. Romero.

An editor and film director, Kraus has directed six feature films, including Sheriff and Musician. An editor at the American Library Association, Krause is also a regular contributor to different publications including Cosmopolitan, Playboy, Maxim, and


The Monster Variations

100 Best Stuff for Teens, New York Public Library, 2009


Top 10 Horror Fiction, Booklist

Blue Ribbon List Winner, BCCB

Editors Choice List, Booklist

Amazing Audiobooks List, American Library Association

Earphones Award Winner, AudioFile

Bram Stoker Award Finalist, 2011

Top Fiction Book, Rue Morgue Magazine, 2011

Odyssey Award, 2012

Parent's Choice Gold Award for Fiction, 2012

Top 10 Youth Books, Minneapolis Star Tribune, 2012

ILLINOIS READS Selection, 2015


Best Fiction for Young Adults, YALSA

Tayshas Reading List

A Best Book of the Year, Stacked

A Best Book of the Year, Liz Burns

Editor's Choice, Booklist

Best YA/Kids Books, Buzzfeed, 2013

Junior Library Guild Selection, 2013

20 Best YA Books, Chicago Public Library, 2013

Top 10 Horror Novels, Bloody Disgusting, 2013

Top 10 Audiobooks, YALSA, 2014

Odyssey Award, 2014

The Death and Life of Zebulon Finch

Top Ten Books of the Year, Entertainment Weekly, 2015

The Shape of Water

New York Times Bestseller

Bent Heavens

Starred Review, Booklist, 2020

Starred Review, School Library Journal, 2020

Blood Sugar

Best of the Year Pick, LitReactor, 2019

Starred Review, Booklist, 2019

Speaking Engagements

Speaking Engagement Availability (Yes)

Selected Titles At Your Library

Bent heavens /
ISBN: 1250151678. OCLC Number: 1089263150

. .

"Two years after the disappearance of her father, seventeen-year-old Liv and her friend capture an alien in the Iowa countryside, and instead of turning him over to the authorities, they choose a different path." --

Blood sugar /
ISBN: 1789091934. OCLC Number: 1112386411

. .

"At the end of Yellow Street, in a ruined junkyard of a house, an angry outcast hatches a scheme to take revenge for all the wrongs he has suffered. With the help of three alienated neighborhood kids, he plans to hide razor blades, poison, drugs, and broken glass in Halloween candy and use the deadly treats to maim or kill dozens of innocent children. But as the clock ticks closer to sundown, will one of his helpers--an innocent himself, in his own streetwise way--carry out or defeat the plan?"--Provided by publisher.

Rotters /
ISBN: 0385738579. OCLC Number: 598304908

Delacorte Press,. .

Sixteen-year-old Joey's life takes a very strange turn when his mother's tragic death forces him to move from Chicago to rural Iowa with the father he has never known, and who is the town pariah.

Scowler /
ISBN: 0385743092. OCLC Number: 781594011

Delacorte Press,. .

In the midst of a 1981 meteor shower in Iowa, a homicidal maniac escapes from prison and returns to the farm where his nineteen-year-old son, Ry, must summon three childhood toys, including one called Scowler, to protect himself, his eleven-year-old sister, Sarah, and their mother.

The death and life of Zebulon Finch.
ISBN: 148141139X. OCLC Number: 894670557

. .

"The story follows Zebulon Finch, a teenager murdered in 1896 Chicago who inexplicably returns from the dead and searches for redemption through the ages"--

The death and life of Zebulon Finch.
ISBN: 148141142X. OCLC Number: 957414200

. .

"The conclusion to Daniel Kraus's saga about a murdered teen who is resurrected to walk the earth for decades to come"--

The living dead :
ISBN: 1250305128. OCLC Number: 1176469794

. .

"Set in the present day, The Living Dead is an entirely new tale, the story of the zombie plague as George A. Romero wanted to tell it. A pair of medical examiners find themselves battling a dead man who won't stay dead. In a Midwestern trailer park, a Black teenage girl and a Muslim immigrant battle newly-risen friends and family. On a US aircraft carrier, living sailors hide from dead ones while a fanatic makes a new religion out of death. At a cable news station, a surviving anchor keeps broadcasting while his undead colleagues try to devour him. In DC, an autistic federal employee charts the outbreak, preserving data for a future that may never come."--Provided by publisher.

The monster variations /
ISBN: 0385737335. OCLC Number: 237324956

Delacorte Press,. .

On his way to State University, nineteen-year-old James runs into a former friend and is immersed in memories from the year they were twelve and learned that monsters exist in the world--and within themselves.

The shape of water /
ISBN: 1250165342. OCLC Number: 1023432577

. .

In an otherworldly story set against the backdrop of Cold War-era America, an amphibious man is discovered in the Amazon--and subsequently finds love within the human race. In 1962, Elisa Esposito-- mute her whole life-- works as a janitor working the graveyard shift at Baltimore's Occam Aerospace Research Center. Only Zelda, a protective coworker, and Giles, her loving neighbor, help her make it through her day. Then she sees something she was never meant to see: an amphibious man, captured in the Amazon, to be studied for Cold War advancements. Using sign language, the two learn to communicate. Richard Strickland, the obsessed soldier who tracked the asset through the Amazon, wants nothing more than to dissect it before the Russians get a chance to steal it.

ISBN: 125022442X. OCLC Number: 1201179991

. .

They threw us away /
ISBN: 1250224403. OCLC Number: 1145104783

. .

Buddy wakes up in a garbage dump and, after finding other teddy bears there, becomes their leader as they embark on a perilous journey to fulfill their destiny.

Trollhunters /
ISBN: 1423125983. OCLC Number: 883650064

. .

Jim Sturges is your typical teen in suburban San Bernardino-one with an embarrassingly overprotective dad, a best friend named "Tubby" who shares his hatred of all things torturous (like gym class), and a crush on a girl who doesn't know he exists. But everything changes for Jim when a 45-year old mystery resurfaces, threatening the lives of everyone in his seemingly sleepy town. Soon Jim has to team up with a band of unlikely (and some un-human) heroes to battle the monsters he never knew existed.