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Blue Balliett

Born: 1955 in New York City, New York
Pen Name: None

Connection to Illinois: Balliett lives in Chicago's Hyde Park.

Biography: 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

Primary Literary Genre(s): Fiction; History; Non-Fiction

Primary Audience(s): Adult readers; Children


Selected Titles

Chasing Vermeer
ISBN: 9780439372978 OCLC: 51172514

Scholastic Press, New York : 2004.

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: 801928204

Scholastic Press, New York : 2013.

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: 70212018

Down East Books, Camden, Me. : ©2006.

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: 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: 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: 171287569

Scholastic Press, New York : 2008.

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: 567195272

Scholastic Press, New York : 2010.

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: 11623399

[Down East Books], [Camden, Me.] : [©1984]

The Wright 3 /
ISBN: 0439693683 OCLC: 61204254

Scholastic Press, New York : 2006.

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.