Filipino-American children’s book author Erin Entrada Kelly was born in 1977 in the USA and grew up in Lake Charles, Louisiana. As a child, Kelly often felt lonely. When she began to write, she discovered the great treasure trove of Asian traditions and myths of her ancestors, which allowed them to flow into her stories. Kelly received her bachelor’s degree in women’s studies and liberal arts from McNeese State University and a Master of Fine Arts degree in creative writing from Rosemont College. She has worked as a journalist and as an editor for »Thrive Magazine«.
Her debut novel »Blackbird Fly« was published in 2015 and won the Golden Kite Award from the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators as well as an APALA Prize of Honor. In it, Kelly tells the story of twelve-year-old Apple, who always feels like she’s a little different from her classmates. Apple and her mother moved from the Philippines to Louisiana, and now she is accused of being »too American«. Apple dreams of becoming a rock star. And then a new boy shows up at school, and for the first time Apple is in love. Kelly won the Children’s Asian/Pacific American Award for her second novel »The Land of Forgotten Girls« (2016). It tells the story of two Filipino sisters who have been abandoned by their father in Louisiana and have to make their own way through life. She was awarded the Newbery Medal for her third book, »Hello, Universe« (2017), about a missing boy who is rescued by his friends. Here, too, Kelly processes her own childhood experiences. Eleven-year-old Virgil struggles with bullying, loneliness, and sadness. One day in the woods, he meets his tormentor, who takes his backpack and throws it into a well. Virgil’s beloved guinea pig, Gulliver, is in the backpack and must be rescued. The book was praised by »The Washington Post« as »a charming, intriguingly plotted novel by Erin Entrada Kelly … As she skillfully intercuts these four narratives, Kelly builds suspense and fosters empathy for her characters … As the connections deepen, it seems that this ›big, mysterious, fickle‹ universe might harbor friendship and self-awareness for each.«
The author now lives in Delaware, not far from Philadelphia.