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Before going to graduate school, she was a teacher for one year and after graduate school, she moved to Japan to be a missionary.
Her first book, Sign of the Chrysanthemum was published in 1991. Other titles to follow included The Bridge to Terabithia and Jacod Have I Loved which both won her a Newbery Award, The Great Gilly Hopkins, Lyddie and The Master Puppeteer.
In addition to the Newbery Award, she is the recipient of numerous others including the Scott O'Dell Award, the National Book Award for Children's Literature, the American Book Award, the American Library Association's Best Books for Young Adults Award and the New York Times Outstanding Books of the Year Award. She was also honored with the Hans Christian Anderson Award.
(Bowker Author Biography)