Please visit Priscilla at her website: www.priscillacummings.com
Most people think I'm from Maryland because I've written so many stories about Chadwick the Crab and even set some of my novels for older children on the Chesapeake Bay. But actually, I grew up the middle of three children on a dairy farm in western Massachusetts, far from the water. I loved living on a farm where I was surrounded by animals and always in touch with nature. And lucky me, I had a palomino horse named Goldenboy that I galloped up and down the pastures almost every day after school.
As a young girl, I had other passions; I loved to read and I loved to write my own stories. Usually, those stories were about animals on the farm. Often, I illustrated the tales and made them into little books. I kept diaries and journals, wrote to my grandmothers and in third grade joined a pen pal club and had more than 20 pen pals all over the world. In high school and college I wrote for my school newspapers, which led to my first career as a journalist. After graduating from the University of New Hampshire with a degree in English literature, I was a reporter for ten years. I worked for four different newspapers in four different states. For three years after that I was a magazine editor and writer.
When I moved to Maryland I was inspired by the Chesapeake Bay to write my first picture book, Chadwick the Crab. Since then, I have written 13 more picture books and six novles, including Red Kayak, for older children. I live in Annapolis, Maryland, with my family. We have two cats named Shoogie and Romeo, but no cows or horses. And no crabs! When I'm not writing or visiting schools I enjoy reading and taking long walks by the creek near out house, or through town. I think a lot on my walks, and often, I daydream about my days growing up on the farm.
My Picture Books
BEDDY BY IN THE BAY
With illustrations by Marcy Dunn Ramsey
Schiffer Publishing, 2010, $14.99
The creatures of the Chesapeake Bay come to life in this delightful, informative story about how and where they sleep. Herons, crabs, clams, turtles and fish each find a different place to rest in the water and along the shore.
Illustrated by Marcy Dunn Ramsey
Tidewater, 2008, $13.95
Beneath the back steps, by a rock in the shade, Beetle Boddiker lives in the house that he made...A cautious old beetle, he rarely leaves home. "The backyard is a jungle," he says. "I won't roam." But one day Beetle Boddiker finds the courage to cross the backyard to see his brother and the adventures begin.
SANTA CLAWS, THE CHRISTMAS CRAB
with illustrations by Marcy Dunn Ramsey
Tidewater, 2006, $10.50, ISBN: 978-0-87033-576-1
CHADWICK THE CRAB*
Tidewater, 1986, $8.95, ISBN 0-87033-347-X
CHADWICK AND THE GARPLEGRUNGEN*
Tidewater, 1987, $8.95, ISBN O-87033-377-1
Tidewater, 1989, $8.95, ISBN 0-87033-390-9
Tidewater, 1993, $8.95, ISBN 0-87033-450-6
THE CHADWICK COLORING BOOK
Tidewater, 1988, $3.95, ISBN 0-87033-389-5
(Also available is a tape of music called Chadwick Sings: A Little Bay Music, by Val and Pam Kindersingers, $9.95)
OSWALD AND THE TIMBERDOODLES*
Tidewater, 1990, $8.95, ISBN 0-87033-411-5
SID AND SAL'S FAMOUS CHANNEL MARKER DINER*
Tidewater, 1991, $8.95, ISBN 0-87033-423-9
TOULOUSE, THE STORY OF A CANADA GOOSE*
Tidewater, 1995, $9.95, ISBN 0-87033-460-3
MEET CHADWICK AND HIS CHESAPEAKE FRIENDS*
Tidewater, 1999, $11.95, ISBN 0-87033-516-2
*All of these books above were illustrated by A.R. Cohen
Illustrated by David Aiken, Tidewater, 2000, $11.95, ISBN 0-87033-525-1
Illustrated by David Aiken, Tidewater, 2002, $11.95, ISBN 0-8033-542-1
Illustrated by David Aiken, Tidewater, 2004, $11.95, ISBN 0-87033-556-1.
Dutton Children's Books, 2010
ISBN 978-0-525-42161-0 (hardback)
ISBN 978-0-14-241902-1 (paperback)
IRA CBC Children's Choice, 2010
When 14-year-old Natalie learns she will lose her sight she reluctantly enters a school for the blind. While she does as she's told, inwardly she hopes for the miracle that will save her sight. Ultimately, Natalie must decide how to go on when her future is not what she expected.
"The young character's courage is unforgettable, and so are the heartbreaking details." Booklist
WHAT MR. MATTERO DID
Dutton, 2005, $16.99, ISBN 0-525-47621-0
A Junior Library Guild Selection
Three seventh grade girls accuse their music teacher of touching them inappropriately. The story is told from two perspectives in alternating chapters: from Jenna, one of the accusers, and from Melody, an eighth grader in the same school who is also the daughter of Mr. Mattero, the music teacher.
“Riveting and timely, this shocking slice-of-life drama is sure to keep pages turning.”
-- Publishers Weekly
Dutton, 2004, $15.99, ISBN 0-525-47317-3
2006 ALA Best Book for Young Adults
Children’s Choice List, CBC-IRA
New York Public Library’s 2005 Books for the Teen Age List
First hailed as a hero for his dramatic water rescue, thirteen-year-old Brady Parks, son of a Chesapeake Bay waterman, soon makes a startling discovery that puts him at the heart of an enormous tragedy. Alone with his dark secret, Brady is ultimately forced to choose between loyalty to his lifelong friends and doing what he knows in his heart is right.
"This book is a gem." VOYA
"When Grace's family is evicted from their Washington D.C. apartment just before Christmas 1932, Grace, 11, and her two younger brothers are temporarily placed in a mission. Grace tries to understand: Mama's new baby is due any day, and Grace's beloved older brother is terribly sick. Her stay at the mission is cut short when she is invited to spend the holidays with the Hammonds, who treat her like a daughter. What will happen when it's time for Grace to go home? Are family bonds more important than the security the Hammonds offer her? Inspired by a true story."
~Penguin Putnam summer 2003 catalog
"Cummings does an excellent job of showing how easy it is to do wrong when the normal world operates so inequitably. The choices Grace must make are not clear-cut."
~School Library Journal
A FACE FIRST
Dutton, 2001, $16.99, ISBN 0-525-46522-7
2002 ALA Notable
"Unable to remember the horrific automobile accident and resulting explosion that melted her earrings as well as much of her skin, 12-year-old Kelley finds her world of horses, ballet lessons and environmental projects reduced to a vise of pain in a Baltimore hospital's burn unit... Being forced into pressure bandages and difficult physical therapy are bad enough, but when the staff straps a clear plastic mask on her ruined face, Kelley resists in the only way left to her. She quits all human communication...Cummings understands appearance-conscious adolescents, and leads readers to pull with Kelley in working through the layers of her inner being to reach beyond the mask.
~Starred Review, School Library Journal
Originally published in hardback by Cobble Hill Books, 1997
Now available in paperback: Schiffer Publishing, $12.95, ISBN: 978-0-87033-606-5
An American Booksellers Pick of the List for Fall of 1997.
"A beautifully told, uplifting story about the power and strength of family. The prose shows the ease and confidence of an old pro and gives off the power of someone who understands well the human heart."
To work with Priscilla Cummings, see our Speakers Bureau.
Reviews, discussion questions, Q and A's and other curriculum aids for Priscilla's books are available at www.priscillacummings.com.