About Kathleen

Kathleen is widely known for her lively presentations on young adult books. This is her twelfth year of presenting all-day workshops that receive excellent evaluations from participants. Kathleen was a public and school librarian for 17 years and served as chairperson of the Newbery Award Committee. She has presented at conferences throughout the U.S. Teachers, librarians, and parents have come to rely on her four book guides including Great Books for Girls, for which Kathleen appeared on NBC’s Today Show.

Kathleen has given hundreds of workshops on young adult books and how to use them with teens. She is currently a seminar presenter for TTL Seminars (Tools for Teaching and Learning) and gave YA book seminars for BER for many years. Kathleen is an adjunct professor at the University of Rhode Island, where she teaches young adult literature, and an instructor in Mansfield University’s on-line School Libraries and Information Technologies program. 

Kathleen was the chairperson of the prestigious Newbery Award Committee in 2001 as well as a member of an earlier Newbery Award Committee, Caldecott Award Committee, Notable Children’s Books Committee, and Carnegie Award Committee for videos. Before turning to writing and public speaking, Kathleen worked as a children’s librarian for seventeen years in schools and public libraries in California and Rhode Island.

An influential critic, Kathleen has been reviewing books for young people in national publications since the early 1980s. She reviews for Kirkus Reviews, Teacher-Librarian, and The Providence Journal. She reviewed previously for School Library Journal and Booklist. She was a contributing editor to BOOK: The Magazine for the Reading Life for five years.

Kathleen is the author of four guides, Great Books for Girls: More than 600 Recommended Books for Girls Ages 3-14 (first published in 1997 and revised in May 2002), Great Books for Boys: More than 600 Books for Boys 2 to 14 (Ballantine, 1998), Great Books about Things Kids Love: More than 750 Recommended Books for Children 3 to 14 (Ballantine, 2002), and Great Books for Babies and Toddlers: More than 500 Recommended Books for Your Child’s First Three Years (Ballantine, 2003). 

Her books have attracted national attention on television and radio, and in newspapers and magazines. She has been featured on NBC’s Today Show, All Things Considered, CNN, Fox Network, Minneapolis Public Radio, San Francisco’s KQED, and Parents’ Radio. Her books have been featured and reviewed in the New York Times Sunday Book Review, Christian Science Monitor, US News and World Report, USA Today, Ms., Newsday, Boston Globe, Denver Post, Dallas Morning News, Business Week, and the Providence Journal, among others. Her guides have sold more than 125,000 copies

A Minnesota native and current Rhode Island resident, Kathleen has a B.A. in English from Carleton College, Northfield, MN, and an MLS and M.A. in Folklore from the University of California at Berkeley. Her folklore thesis on the lore of the stock market was the subject of her first book, High Steppers, Fallen Angels, and Lollipops: Wall Street Slang (Dodd, Mead, 1988).

Kathleen also blogs occasionally at The Uncommon Corps with Marc Aronson, Sue Bartle, Mary Ann Cappiello, and Myra Zarnowski.  We're combining the forces of librarians, education professors, and a writer to champion children's and YA nonfiction.  Check out the resources there.

You can reach her at kathleen@kathleenodean.com.