Ellen Levine's books have won many awards and honors, including the Jane Addams Peace Award. Although she enjoys writing both fiction and nonfiction, most of Ellen's books for young readers have been nonfiction. "Writing nonfiction lets me in behind the scenes of the story. I enjoy learning new things and meeting new people, even if they lived 200 years ago."
Her latest title is Henry's Freedom Box, which will be published by Scholastic Press in January 2007. "I first read about Henry "Box' Brown in William Still's 1872 book, The Underground Railroad. An 800-page volume, it contained the stories of all the runaway slaves who came through Still's Anti-slavery society office in Philadelphia," says Ellen. "I was awed by Henry's ingenious plan and his courage in undertaking it. That he built a box not even three feet square and mailed himself to freedom, seemed to me a remarkable idea; that he traveled in that box for some twenty-seven hours with only a little water and a few biscuits, equally astonishing; that he survived to tell the tale, our great fortune." Still's volume was also a mainstay of her research for earlier Scholastic books: If You Traveled on the Underground Railroad, and Secret Missions: Four True Life Stories.
Ellen Levine was born in New York City. She received her B.A. degree in Politics from Brandeis University, graduating Magna cum laude. She has a Master's degree in political science from the University of Chicago and a Juris Doctor degree from New York University School of Law. She has worked in film and television, taught adults and immigrant teenagers in special education and ESL programs, and served a law clerkship with Chief Judge Joseph Lord, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania. A former staff attorney with a public interest law group, Levine now devotes her time to writing, lecturing, and teaching. She is on the faculty of Vermont College's MFA program in writing for Children and Young Adults.
Ellen Levine divides her time between New York City and Salem, New York.