Renee and David
David A Adler graduated Queens College in 1968 with a BA in economics and education and licenses to teach mathematics and history. He then worked for nine years as a New York City mathematics teacher. While teaching he studied at New York University and in 1971 was awarded an MBA in marketing. He began work on a PhD in marketing when inspiration struck and he wrote his first book, A LITTLE AT A TIME (Random House, 1976). Suddenly his focus changed from marketing to writing.
In 1973 he married Renee Hamada, a psychologist, and in 1977 their first child, Michael was born. By that time David had written several books. He was granted a child-care leave from teaching and while Renee continued her work, David stayed home, took care of Michael, and wrote in earnest. It was during his first year on leave that he wrote CAM JANSEN AND THE MYSTERY OF THE STOLEN DIAMONDS. The mystery and its solution were inspired by baby Michael and all the things David needed to take along each time he took Michael outside. This was the first of almost fifty Cam Jansen Mysteries all published by Viking Press and Puffin Books. The Cam books have been translated into many languages including Spanish, Japanese, German, Swedish, Danish, Hebrew, and Korean. He is also the author of the Jeffrey Bones Mysteries published by Viking and Puffin.
David's ANDY RUSSELL series was inspired by another family member and the many adventures the family had with his enthusiasm and his pets.
David is also the author of the Picture Book Biography Series published by Holiday House, well researched, strictly non-fiction books for elementary school readers. In the series are biographies of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Thurgood Marshall, Anne Frank, Patrick Henry, Samuel Adams, and others. He has written a series of sports biographies including books on Lou Gehrig, Gertrude Ederle, Satchel Paige, Roy Campanella, and Joe Louis all published by Harcourt and Viking. He has also written older level biographies of Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, and Golda Meir.
He has written many books on the Holocaust including We Remember The Holocaust, a book for older readers which incorporates first had accounts of the tragedy within the historical context. Among his other books on the Holocaust are The Number On My Grandfather's Arm, Hiding From the Nazis, A Hero and the Holocaust: The Story of Janusz Korczak and His Children, and One Yellow Daffodil (historical fiction).
One of his newest books, Don't Talk To Me About The War, historical fiction for older readers, takes place in the Bronx, New York in May - July 1940 and brings to life the time through the eyes of thirteen year-old Tommy Duncan. For each day in David's story he had the newspaper of that day on his desk. The news, weather, sports scores and radio programs are all accurate. While he wrote, David listened to big band music of the time. He had large models of cars from the 1930s and 1940s on his desk. He also listened to old-time radio tapes of "Fibber McGee and Molly" and "The Lux Radio Theater," the same programs Tommy listened to in the book. David was so wrapped up in his research and writing that one evening, when his wife called him to dinner David look out the window and asked why there was snow on the ground, "It's May!" Renee told David, it may be May for you in your office but for everyone else, it's February.
David has also written Jewish holiday books, books on math, science, and economics, picture books in all, more than 200 published books.
David on David:
"I am the second of six children, all very close in age. My parents encouraged each of us to be an individual. It was their way of lessening the competition between us. As a child I was known as the family artist. Paintings and drawings I did when I was as young as twelve still hang in my parents' home. And I was creative. I drew funny signs that I taped around the house. I also made up stories to entertain my younger brothers and sisters. One sister’s favorite story was about the girl who planted flowers in her shoes. I'm still making up stories.
“We lived in a large house with a whole unused third floor, unused except for storage for our extended family. For thirty years my parents kept in an otherwise unused room unwanted wedding gifts belonging to a relative who had moved overseas -- an electric fan, dishes with a strange bird pattern, luggage, pots, and lots of cups and glasses. When the relative returned to the states, he was surprised my parents had kept all that, and he and his wife still didn’t want all those gifts. But what a wonderful room to crawl between the boxes and suitcases and imagine all the stories I could tell!
"I never thought I would become a writer. I graduated college in 1968 with licenses to teach history and math. I taught math in the New York City school system for nine years, and I went to graduate school. I also drew cartoons. I even sold a few.
"In 1971 my three-year old nephew came to my house and asked me a question. And he kept asking questions. When he left, I had all those questions swirling in my head and that led to my very first published story, A Little At A Time. I sent it ro Random House, my first story and my first submission, and after six months of consideration, it was accepted for publication. The editor was impressed at how I had captured the voice of a young child in all my questions. That was easy! I just listened, remembered, and wrote. Then, as a math teacher, I wrote a few math books for Thomas Y. Crowell, now a division of HarperCollins. In 1973 I married and in 1977 our first son was born. I was granted a child-care leave from teaching and while I was caring for my infant son, I created Cam Jansen. Happily those books led to many others.
“For me writing is a process. I begin with story idea, with the main characters, and the setting. I struggle most with the “voice,” – how I will tell the story. For me writing involves constant revisions. It’s so much easier, I think, not to try and get the story just right in the first draft, to leave that for the second and third drafts. My best stories have been rewritten scores of times. ”
David was born April 10, 1947. He graduated Queens College in 1968 with a BA in economics and education and licenses to teach mathematics and history. He then worked for nine years as a New York City mathematics teacher. While teaching he studied at New York University and in 1971 was awarded an MBA in marketing. He began work on a PhD in marketing when inspiration struck and he wrote his first book, A LITTLE AT A TIME (Random House, 1976). Suddenly his focus changed from marketing to writing.
In 1973 he married Renee Hamada, a psychologist, and in 1977 their first child, Michael was born. By that time David had written several books. He was granted a child-care leave from teaching and while Renee continued her work, David stayed home, took care of Michael, and wrote in earnest. It was during his first year on leave that he wrote CAM JANSEN AND THE MYSTERY OF THE STOLEN DIAMONDS. David's ANDY RUSSELL series was inspired by another family member and the many adventures the family had with his enthisiasm and his pets.
David at about 4 years old
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
?Q?Q? Where were you born?
***I was born in New York City.
?Q?Q?What's the A. in your name?
***It's the first letter of my middle name, Abraham.
?Q?Q?What was your first book?
***A LITTLE AT A TIME. It was first published by Random House in 1976. It is being published again with new art in 2010 by Holiday House.
?Q?Q? Why do you like to write?
*** I know when I write something, anything, no one else would have written it exactly the same way. It's true about your writing, too. An original story is like a fingerprint. Each story is unique.
?Q?Q? How many books have you had published?
***201 as of spring 2008.
?Q?Q? Who decides which picture book biographies you write?
***My editor and I and now my son Michael discuss the possibilities and when we agree on one, that's the one I (now my son and I) write.
?Q?Q? How did you think of writing the Cam Jansen books?
*** She's based on a classmate of mine when I was in elementary school who we all thought had a photographic memory.
?Q?Q? What books are you working on now?
*** I am just finishing a book on the civil rights movement.
?Q?Q? Who is Michael S. Adler, your co-author for A PICTURE BOOK OF SAMUEL ADAMS?
*** He's my eldest son and he was a history major in college and is now a lawyer.
Renee and David
Renee and David at their wedding, 1973
David in the First Grade
David's dad at 25 -- He just celbrated his 93rd birthday!
David's mom (left) with his grandmother and Aunt Edith many years ago
David's grandparents in 1917