Eerdmans Books for Young Readers is the proud publisher of fantastic authors and illustrators. Together we have won such prestigious awards as the Batchelder and Caldecott awards, placed many books on national and state reading lists, and touched the minds and hearts of children around the world.
Find out more about these talented men and women we like to call our own.
About Our Authors and Illustrators
Get to know Katie Quirk
“I moved to Tanzania, East Africa, a few months after I graduated from college,” writes first-time author Katie Quirk in the Crowe’s Nest blog post “Katie: The Story Behind A Girl Called Problem.”
“On paper, my job was to teach writing and English to journalism students at a newly-formed university. The reality was that I did a little bit of teaching and a lot of learning during those two years. I was schooled in the many arts of basic living: washing clothes by hand, carrying water in a bucket on my head, and pounding rice in a giant mortar and pestle.”
Katie put this first-hand knowledge to good use as she crafted her novel, A Girl Called Problem, filling it with many colorful details about of daily life in East Africa.
During her two years in Tanzania, Katie also made a lifelong friend in Modesta Deus, who became part of the inspiration behind Katie’s heroine in the novel, Shida.
After her visa expired and Katie returned to the United States, she says, “I spent evenings after work reading and writing about life in Tanzania.”
“Modesta, of course, was primary in my mind. I also thought about the unique resilience of the women and girls I met in Tanzania: burdened with hours of house chores, girls sacrificed sleep to study by kerosene lanterns at night; female students at my university courageously banded together and wrote a letter condemning the behavior of a male lecturer who had threatened to fail them unless they slept with him; Modesta’s older sisters dodged marriage proposals so they could continue to work and control their own finances to pay for their younger sisters’ education; and students of mine wrote articles questioning the commonly-held, local belief that poor widows were prone to witchcraft and responsible for societal woes. The determination of these women and girls to improve their quality of life was inspiring. . . .
“Without realizing it, I was carving out the components of a book: a story set in historic Tanzania during the early presidency of Nyerere about a strong Tanzanian girl, who would face some prejudice but who, through sheer resilience, would not only prevail but would ultimately empower her village by empowering herself. That’s the essence of A Girl Called Problem.”
Click to read the rest of Katie Quirk’s story on the Crowe’s Nest blog, to visit Katie Quirk’s website, or to order A Girl Called Problem.