Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Blue Balliett  

Pen Name: None

Genre: Fiction History Non-Fiction

Audience: Adult; Children;

Born: 1955 in New York City, New York

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Illinois Connection

Balliett lives in Chicago's Hyde Park.

Biographical and Professional Information

Blue Balliett grew up in New York City, where she often visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Guggenheim Museum, and the Frick Collection. She took public transportation to school around the city, and discovered early that every crowded bus or train is packed with mystery and drama and that stories are everywhere. Balliett studied art history at Brown University. She and her family lived year-round on Nantucket Island for many years, and now live in Chicago. Before becoming a full-time writer, she taught at the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools. Balliett is a recipient of the Chicago Public Library’s 21st Century Award, the first time the award was given to a children’s book writer.


'Chasing Vermeer '

New York Times Notable Book, 2004 - NYT Bestseller for over 30 weeks

Publishers Weekly Bestseller

Book Sense Book of the Year Award, American Booksellers Association

Book Sense Bestseller

Edgar Allen Poe Award, Mystery Writers of America, Best Juvenile Novel

Agatha Award

The Great Lakes Book Award

Chicago Tribune Prize for Young Adult Fiction, 2004

Booklist Top Ten Youth Mysteries

Booklist Editor's Choice

Borders Original Voices Award

Midwest Booksellers Choice Award for Children's Literature

Child Magazine Best Children's Book

Parents Choice Silver Honor Book

Al's Book Club for Kids Selection, NBC Today Show, 2008

Starred Review, Publisher's Weekly and Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

'Danger Box '

Junior Library Guild selection, Fall 2010

Chicago Tribune's Chicagoan of the Year for Literature, 2010

Parents' Choice Silver Award Winner

Dorothy Canfield Fisher Award master list, 2011-12

Book Worm Angels, 2012

Kermit W. Myers Achievement Award

Oklahoma Sequoyah Book Award Masterlist, 2012-13

Starred Review, School Library Journal

ILLINOIS READS Book list, Illinois Reading Council, 2013

'Hold Fast '

New York Times Bestseller

Editor's Choice, Chicago Tribune, May 2013 Great Lakes Great Reads Award, Winter 2013 Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People selection, NCSS and CBC, 2014

Iowa Children's Choice Award Master List, 2014-15

William Allen White Award Master List, 2015-16 Starred Review, Kirkus, Booklist and School Library Journal

ILLINOIS READS Book list, Illinois Reading Council, 2016

Out of the Wild Night

Starred Review, Kirkus

'Pieces and Players '

Junior Library Guild Selection, spring 2015 Great Lakes Great Reads Award Short List, 2015

'The Calder Game '

Friends of American Writers Literary Award Winner

Publishers Weekly Bestseller

Indie Bound Bestseller

Starred Review, Booklist

Five Star Review,

'The Wright 3 '

New York Times Bestseller

Best Children's Book of the Year, Child Magazine

21st Century Award, Chicago Public Library - First time the award was given to a children's book author

Gamepuzzles Annual Excellence Award USA Today Bestseller

Book Sense Bestseller

Starred Review, Kirkus

Speaking Engagements

Speaking Engagement Availability (No)

Selected Titles At Your Library

Chasing Vermeer
ISBN: 9780439372978. OCLC Number: 51172514

Scholastic Press,. .

When strange and seemingly unrelated events start to happen and a precious Vermeer painting disappears, eleven-year-olds Petra and Calder combine their talents to solve an international art scandal. First book in the series featuring art sleuth friends Calder and Petra.

Hold fast /
ISBN: 0545299888. OCLC Number: 801928204

Scholastic Press,. .

On a cold winter day in Chicago, Early's father disappeared, and now she, her mother and her brother have been forced to flee their apartment and join the ranks of the homeless--and it is up to Early to hold her family together and solve the mystery surrounding her father.

Nantucket ghosts :
ISBN: 0892727179. OCLC Number: 70212018

Down East Books,. .

Nantucket Island has just more than 10,000 year-round residents -- and a sizeable population of very real ghosts. The 44 tales in this book were collected as oral history. Some of these spirits are benign, even protective; others terrorize the humans who encounter them. All are memorable.

Out of the wild night /
ISBN: 0545867568. OCLC Number: 1011543199

. .

Mary W. Chase died on Nantucket Island just over one hundred years ago, but she is still there, in the house she once lived in, and she wants to keep it that way-- but first she must somehow contact a group of children who are interested in preserving historic homes on the island.

Pieces and players /
ISBN: 054529990X. OCLC Number: 889739698

. .

When thirteen high-value pieces of art are stolen from a secret museum, Calder, Petra, and Tommy are grouped with two new companions to solve puzzles that are complicated by the clever Mrs. Sharpe.

The Calder game /
ISBN: 0439852072. OCLC Number: 171287569

Scholastic Press,. .

When seventh-grader Calder Pillay disappears from a remote English village--along with an Alexander Calder sculpture to which he has felt strangely drawn--his friends Petra and Tommy fly from Chicago to help his father find him. Third book in the series featuring art sleuth friends Calder, Petra, and Tommy.

The Danger Box /
ISBN: 0439852099. OCLC Number: 567195272

Scholastic Press,. .

In small-town Michigan, twelve-year-old Zoomy and his new friend Lorrol investigate the journal found inside a mysterious box and find family secrets and a more valuable treasure, while a dangerous stranger watches and waits.

The ghosts of Nantucket :
ISBN: 089272191X. OCLC Number: 11623399

[Down East Books],. .

The Wright 3 /
ISBN: 0439693683. OCLC Number: 61204254

Scholastic Press,. .

In the midst of a series of unexplained accidents and mysterious coincidences, sixth-graders Calder, Petra, and Tommy lead their classmates in an attempt to keep Frank Lloyd Wright's famous Robie House from being demolished. Second book in the series featuring art sleuth friends Calder, Petra, and Tommy.