Gloria Whelan was born November 23, 1923 in Detroit, Michigan. She graduated from the University of Michigan and became a social worker. In 1972, the Whelans tired of the hectic pace of the city and moved to Oxbow Lake near Mancelona in northern Michigan. After an oil company that owned the mineral rights to her land drilled for oil and tore up her property, she was inspired to write a children’s novel about a young boy who worked on an oil rig titled A Clearing in the Forest.
Since that first publication, she has written poetry, two novels, a short story collection and over 30 works of historical and contemporary fiction for children and young adults. Her book Homeless Bird received the National Book Award for Best Book for Young Adults. On her web site, GloriaWhelan.com she writes:
I began making up stories before I could write. I would tell a story to my baby sitter and she would type it out. When I got to elementary school I began writing poetry. In high school I edited the school paper. I never stopped writing. I think all the books I read when I was young had a lot to do with my writing.
For more, check out her site, the Gloria Whelan Papers at the University of Southern Mississippi and (for a complete list of her work) the Wikipedia entry for Gloria Wheland. You can read Homeless Bird online from Google Books and, because I’ve never seen one, here’s the book trailer for Listening for Lions by Gloria Whelan.