Happy birthday to the iconic grandmaster Jane Yolen

Photo by Heidi Stemple

Hailed as both the Hans Christian Andersen of America and the Aesop of the twentieth century, Jane Yolen, with her first publication, the non-fiction book about women pirates Pirates In Petticoats (1963), embarked on amazing career of over four hundred books (and counting). Her impressive and acclaimed output includes children’s fiction, poetry, short stories, graphic novels, nonfiction, fantasy, and science fiction.

Among her many honors are the Christopher Medal (The Seeing Stick [1977], How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight? [2000]), Nebula (“Sister Emily’s Lightship” [1998], Lost Girls [1999]), World Fantasy (Favorite Folktales From Around The World [1987], THE EMERALD CIRCUS [2018]), Mythopoeic (Cards Of Grief [1985], Briar Rose [1993], The Young Merlin Trilogy [1998, Passager, Hobby, and Merlin]), Golden Kite (The Girl Who Cried Flowers & Other Tales [1974]), and National Jewish Book Award (The Devil’s Arithmetic [1989]). Yolen received the World Fantasy Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award, the Rhysling Science Fiction Poetry Grand Master Award, the Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award, Edward E. Smith Memorial Award (Skylark), Jeremiah Ludington Memorial Award, Regina Medal Catholic Children’s Books Life Award, Anne V. Zarrow Award, and Sydney Taylor Book Award Body-of-Work Winner. She has honorary doctorates from Smith College, University of Massachusetts (Amherst), Bay Path College, Sister of Our Lady of the Elms College, Westfield State College, and Keene State College.

Many of Yolen’s shorter works have been collected in numerous works including The Girl Who Cried Flowers and Other Tales (1974), The Hundredth Dove and Other Tales (1977), Dream Weaver (1979), The Whitethorn Wood and Other Magicks (1984), Storyteller (1992), Twelve Impossible Things Before Breakfast (1997), Sister Emily’s Lightship and Other Stories (2000), Once Upon A Time (She Said) (2005), The Last Selchie Child (2012), THE EMERALD CIRCUS (2017), HOW TO FRACTURE A FAIRY TALE (2018), THE MIDNIGHT CIRCUS (2020), and THE SCARLET CIRCUS (2023). Several volumes of her poetry exist including The Three Bears Rhyme Book (1987), The Originals: Animals that Time Forgot (1998), Least Things: Poems about Small Natures (2003), Before the Vote After (2017), On Gull Beach (2018),and Fly with Me: A Celebration of Birds Through Pictures, Poems, and Stories (2018, with Heidi E.Y. Stemple, Adam Stemple, and Jason Stemple). Her many other acclaimed works include Pit Dragon Chronicles (Dragon’s Blood [1982], Heart’s Blood [1984], A Sending of Dragons [1987], Dragon’s Heart [2009]), Owl Moon (1987), The Great Books of Alta (Sister Light, Sister Dark [1988], White Jenna [1989], The One-Armed Queen [1998]), The Stuart Quartet (all with Robert J. Harris Queen’s Own Fool [2000], Girl in a Cage [2001], Prince Across the Water [2004], The Rogues [2007]), Ekaterinoslav: A Family’s Passage to America (2012), Finding Baba Yaga (2018), Mapping the Bones (2018), THE LAST TSAR’S DRAGONS (2019 with Adam Stemple), Kaddish: Before the Holocaust and After (2021), and ARCH OF BONE (2021).

Her editorial endeavors include the anthologies Zoo 2000 (1973), Favorite Folktales from Around the World (1986), Werewolves: A Collection of Original Stories (1988 with Martin H. Greenberg), Things That Go Bump in the Night (1989 with Greenberg), 2041: Twelve Short Stories About the Future by Top Science Fiction Writers (1991), Vampires (1991 with Greenberg), Xanadu (Vol 1 1993, Vol 2 1994, Vol 3 1995), The Haunted House: A Collection of Original Stories (1995 with Greenberg), Fearless Girls, Wise Women, and Beloved Sisters: Heroines in Folktales from Around The World (1998 with Kathleen Ragan), Gray Heroes: Elder Tales from Around the World (1999), and Mightier Than the Sword: World Folktales for Strong Boys (2003).

The prolific Yolen continues to produce acclaimed, award winning work at a prodigious pace. In 2023 alone, she published 13 books: Thunder Underground, How Do Dinosaurs Learn To Be Kind? (with Mark Teague), How Do Dinosaurs Eat Their Food? (with Mark Teague), The Giants’ Farm, THE SCARLET CIRCUS, Schlemiel Comes to America, What to do with a Stick, Kiki Kicks (with Ariel Stemple), Nana and Me, Smout and the Lighthouse (with John Patrick Pazdziora), The Giants Go Camping, Body Music, and The Horseback Librarians.

Because she apparently never sleeps, Yolen is also a teacher of writing and a book reviewer. She splits her time between Western Massachusetts and St. Andrew, Scotland.

All of us at Tachyon, wish the incredible Jane a happy birthday. May your mythic journeys never end.