Julie Anne Peters

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Date: Oct. 25, 2013
Document Type: Biography
Length: 2,978 words

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"Sidelights"

Julie Anne Peters is the author of several award-winning titles for children and young adults, including The Stinky Sneakers Contest, Define "Normal," and Between Mom and Jo. Peters has a special affinity for young adult literature; "I've always loved reading it," she told interviewer Malinda Lo for AfterEllen.com. "I really just love the passion in it, and I love transporting back to that time in life, when you did live passionately, you lived with velocity. Every day was such a drama. You could have lived your whole life every day, with so many ups and downs!"

After trying her hand at teaching and working as a systems engineer, Peters began her writing career after becoming frustrated with corporate life; "You can only waste so much of your life geeking out about 4GL and artificial intelligence," she remarked on her home page. She explored the possibility of writing fiction, leading to the sale of a number of short stories as well as nonfiction articles and educational activities to various children's periodicals. Soon thereafter, Peters was able to get her first two books published, formally launching her career as a young-adult and children's writer.

Peters's first book, The Stinky Sneakers Contest, is based on a combination of a real-life experience and a "grungy" shoe contest that was held out east. "Reading about the contest reminded me of my own childhood humiliation of perpetually smelly feet," she once commented. The plot moves far beyond the title and presents a tale of a friendship in jeopardy because of cheating. The story depicts familiar themes of winning, losing, and honesty, as Earl and Damian compete in the Feetfirst shoe company's smelly sneakers contest.

An Instructor reviewer commented that Peters's "pleasant, easy-to-read chapter book about two African-American boys will stimulate reflection on what it takes to be a winner." Lynnea McBurney, a reviewer for School Library Journal, also stated that, "on the whole, this is a nicely written, humorous story. It is short enough for those just getting into transitional readers, yet there is enough here for enjoyment and food for thought."

Peters's second book, Risky Friends, explores the issue of choosing friends while confronting the reality of single-parent households. Two best friends, Kacie and Vicky, are at risk of losing their friendship over Kacie's newfound companion, Skye, who wins Kacie's attention by buying her gifts. "As a kid, I always envied people with more money than me--thinking wealth solved the world's problems," Peters said.

"That misperception, along with the inevitable growing pains accompanying young adulthood, are the themes explored in Risky Friends." Sister Bernadette Marie Ondus stated in Kliatt: "The younger set, girls primarily, will enjoy this story since they will be able to identify closely with the characters."

Peters's book Define "Normal" grew out of her experiences working with special-needs children. According to her, "these kids weren't necessarily learning disabled, or intellectually challenged. They had so many family problems, so much responsibility, that school was the bottom rung on their priority ladder." Peters...

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Gale Document Number: GALE|H1000118802