Illinois Authors

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Nancy J. Cavanaugh

Pen Name: None

Connection to Illinois: Cavanaugh grew up in Chicago and earned her Master's at the University of Illinois. After living in Florida for several years, she now resides in Chicago again.

Biography: Nancy Cavanaugh has been writing for over twenty five years. Her work has appeared in many publications, including: ELIC Communique, The Student Literature Portfolio, The Timothy Reflector, Christian Education Counselor, Christian Home & School, InnerVisions, Successful Young Adults News, Seek, ParentLife, Chicken Soup for the Teacher's Soul, Purpose, Standard, Skirt Magazine, Pinellas Public Library Cooperative Newsletter, JD Drama (online publication), Pentecostal Evangel and Short Short Stories for Reading Aloud. She graduated with a B.S. in Elementary Education from Northwestern College in Minnesota and a M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction from University of Illinois. Cavanaugh was an elementary and middle school teacher for more than 15 years and worked as a Library Media Specialist at an elementary school.

  • """This Journal Belongs to Ratchet"""
  • -- Starred Review, Kirkus
  • -- Children's Core Collections winner
  • -- Student Book Award title, Maine
  • -- Gold Medalist, Florida State Book Awards, 2013
  • -- Green Prize for Sustainable Literature
  • -- Notable Children's Books in the English Language Arts (NCTE), 2014
  • -- ILLINOIS READS Book Selection, Illinois Reading Council, 2017

Primary Literary Genre(s): Fiction

Primary Audience(s): Children; Young adult readers


Selected Titles

Always, Abigail /
ISBN: 149263557X OCLC: 918591254

Abigail, assigned a different homeroom than her two best friends and made only the alternate on the pom-pom squad, learns about popularity and friendship when paired with unpopular Gabby for a year-long "Friendly Letter Assignment."

Elsie Mae has something to say /
ISBN: 1492640220 OCLC: 991585107

With a letter to President Franklin Roosevelt and unexpected help from her Hallelujah-spouting cousin, Henry James, Elsie Mae tries to prevent a company from building a canal through the Okefenokee Swamp.

Just like me
ISBN: 9781492635956 OCLC: 913610295

Three very different girls, adopted as babies from the same Chinese orphanage, spend a week at a summer camp, where the adoption agency coordinator wants them to journal their bonding experience.

This journal belongs to Ratchet /
ISBN: 1402281064 OCLC: 808216700

Homeschooled by her mechanic-environmentalist father, eleven-year-old Rachel "Ratchet" Vance records her efforts to make friends, save a park, remember her mother, and find her own definition of "normal."

When I hit the road /
ISBN: 1492640255 OCLC: 1122687244

Samantha's journal relates a boring visit to her grandmother's condominium that takes an unexpected turn when she, Gram, Gram's friend Mimi, and Mimi's grandson Brandon set out across Florida for a seniors' karaoke contest. Includes recipe for chocolate chip cookies.