Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
Versatile and prolific, the American writer Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, was born Phyllis Dean Reynolds in Anderson, Indiana. She is best known for her books for children and young adults. Her most famous is the novel Shiloh (1991; film, 1996), which won the Newbery Medal. The two sequels are Shiloh Season (1996; film, 1999) and Saving Shiloh (1997; film, 2006). Since the appearance of the story collection The Galloping Goat (1965) and the children’s novel What the Gulls Were Singing (1967), Naylor has published more than 120 books; among them are the Bessledorf comic mysteries for children (The Mad Gasser of Bessledorf Street, 1983), two gothic Witch trilogies (Witch’s Sister, 1975; The Witch Returns, 1992), and the York trilogy (Shadows on the Wall, 1980), about a teenage time-traveler seeking a cure for Huntington disease. Her most popular series has followed Alice McKinley, a motherless girl, from sixth grade in The Agony of Alice (1985) to her high school years in Alice on Her Way (2006); there are more than 15 books in the series.
Calling Naylor a craftsmanlike writer with a distinctive voice, critics appreciate her ability to create believable, appealing young adults dealing with such serious issues as death (A String of Chances, 1982), mental illness (The Keeper, 1986), and right-wing militia movements (Walker’s Crossing, 1999). Other popular books include Night Cry (1984) and Bernie Magruder and the Bats in the Belfry (2004). Also notable are the children’s comedy Beetles, Lightly Toasted (1987); and the picture book Please Do Feed the Bears (2002).