Jane Yolen

Jane Hyatt Yolen (born February 11, 1939 in New York City) is an American author and editor of almost 300 books. These include folklore, fantasy, science fiction, and children's books. She wrote the Nebula Award-winning Sister Emily's Lightship (short story) and "Lost Girls" (novelette), as well as Owl Moon and The Emperor and the Kite, Caldecott Medal winners, the Commander Toad series and How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight.

Personal life

Yolen was born in New York City and raised in California, Virginia, New York and Connecticut. Her father was a journalist and publicist. She received her bachelor's degree from Smith College in 1960 and her master's degree in education from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 1976. She was married to computer scientist David Stemple from 1962 until his death from cancer on March 22, 2006. She has three children: Heidi Stemple, Adam Stemple, and Jason Stemple, and several grandchildren. Yolen maintains homes in Hatfield, Massachusetts and in St Andrews, Scotland.


Newsweek called Jane Yolen "the Hans Christian Andersen of America" and The New York Times labeled her "a modern equivalent of Aesop."

Her many short stories can be found in books as diverse as Am I Blue?: Coming out from the Silence and White as Snow (The Fairy Tales Series). One example is "Memoirs of a Bottle Djinni" in Arabesques (edited by Susan Schwartz in 1988). Yolen also has a gift for the very short story, as evidenced by "Angelica" in 100 Great Fantasy Short-Short Stories. This latter anthology was edited by Isaac Asimov, Martin H. Greenberg and Carr in 1985.

Year's Best Science Fiction and Fantasy for Teens, Favorite Folktales From Around the World, Xanadu and Xanadu 2 are among the works that she has edited.

Her writing also includes poetry. Many of her poems, like her books, have won awards. Some of her awards to date: the Caldecott Medal, two Nebula Awards, two Christopher Medals, the World Fantasy Award, three Mythopoeic Awards, the Golden Kite Award, the Jewish Book Award, and the Association of Jewish Libraries Award.

In the children's writing community, she is known for her pithy observations and her generosity toward beginning writers and illustrators. Yolen has also criticized the Harry Potter series. This is based on the suspicious similarities between Yolen's own book Wizard's Hall, published years before the first Harry Potter book.

I read the first three. The fourth one stopped me in my tracks, partially because even though the story moves along, I just don't feel like they're well written. Besides, I wrote a book called "Wizard's Hall" [in 1991, eight years before the first "Harry Potter" book]. And there's an awful lot of "Wizard's Hall" in it [the Harry Potter books]. I always tell people that if Ms. Rowling would like to cut me a very large check, I would cash it. ["Wizard's Hall"] has got a boy named Henry [who] goes to wizard school, doesn't think he has talent. He has a good friend with red hair. There's a wicked wizard who's trying to destroy the school, and the pictures on the wall move and speak and change. I have kids who write to me all the time and say, "I thought you had stolen Harry Potter, but my teacher pointed out that you published it eight years before Harry Potter.


The Pit Dragon Trilogy

  1. Dragon's Blood (1982)
  2. Heart's Blood (1984)
  3. A Sending of Dragons (1987)
  4. Dragon's Heart (2008: forthcoming)

Various books

(she has over 280.)

  • Trust a City Kid (1966)
  • The Bird of Time (illustrated by Mercer Mayer) (1971)
  • The Gift of Sarah Barker (1981)
  • Children of the Wolf (1984)
  • The Stone Silenus (1984)
  • Sister Light, Sister Dark (1988)
  • White Jenna (1989)
  • The Dragon's Boy (1990)
  • Sister Light, Sister Dark (1990, Nebula Award finalist)
  • Greyling (1991, picture book)
  • Wings (1991, picture book)
  • White Jenna (1991, Nebula Award finalist)
  • Briar Rose (1992, Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Adult Literature)
  • Wizard's Hall (1991)
  • The One Armed Queen (1998)
  • Armageddon Summer (1998, with Bruce Coville, ALA Best Book for Young Adults, ALA Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers)
  • Queen's Own Fool (2000, with Robert J. Harris)
  • White as Snow (The Fairy Tales Series) (2001)
  • Girl in a Cage (2002, with Robert J. Harris)
  • Sword of the Rightful King (2003, ALA Best Books 2004, ALA Best Books for Young Adults 2004, ALA Top 10 Fantasy Books for Youth 2004)
  • Prince Across the Water (2004, with Robert J. Harris)
  • The Young Merlin Trilogy: Passager, Hobby, and Merlin (2004)
  • Pay the Piper: a rock and roll fairy tale (2005, with Adam Stemple)

Selected Novellas

Selected Short Stories

  • "Boris Chernevsky's Hands" in Hecate's Cauldron (1982, edited by Susan Schwartz)
  • "Angelica" in 100 Great Fantasy Short-Short Stories (1985, edited by Asimov, Greenberg and Carr)
  • "The Ballad of the Quick Levars" in Liavek: The Players of Luck (1986, edited by Emma Bull and Will Shetterly)
  • "Memoirs of a Bottle Djinni" in Arabesques (1988, edited by Susan Schwartz)
  • "The True Tale of Count Dashif's Demise" in Liavek: Festival Week (1990, edited by Emma Bull and Will Shetterly)
  • "Blood Sister" in Am I Blue?: Coming out from the Silence (1995, edited by Marion Dane Bauer)
  • "Sister Emily's Lightship" in Starlight (1996, edited by Patrick Nielsen Hayden)

Selected Poems

  • "Tintagel Morning: Song" (Asimov's Science Fiction, v.14 #4, April 1990)
  • "Angels Fly Because They Take Themselves Lightly" (Asimov's Science Fiction, v.15 #14, No.179, December 1991) (1991 Asimov's Readers' Award, poetry)
  • "Will" (Broadside, Midsummer Night's Press; The Magazine of Speculative Poetry, Spring 1992) (1993 Rhysling Award winner)
  • "Lies" (Paradox, Issue 8, Winter 2005-2006)
  • "War Memorial: Edinburgh" (Paradox, Issue 8, Winter 2005-2006)
  • "Fife Map" (Paradox, Issue 9, Summer 2006)

Short story anthologies edited by Jane Yolen

Folklore collection edited by Jane Yolen

  • Favorite Folktales From Around the World (winner of the World Fantasy Award)

Notes and references

External links

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