Theodore Taylor

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Date: 2003
Publisher: UXL
Document Type: Biography
Length: 5,278 words
Content Level: (Level 4)
Lexile Measure: 1190L

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About this Person
Born: June 23, 1921 in Statesville, North Carolina, United States
Died: October 26, 2006 in Laguna Beach, California, United States
Nationality: American
Occupation: Children's writer
Other Names: Lang, T.T.; Taylor, Theodore Langhans; Taylor, Theodore

"I believe that a writer should constantly feed his fires by being on the go, doing different things, seeking new experiences," Theodore Taylor once noted. Putting that philosophy into practice in his own life, Taylor has served as a newspaperman, magazine writer, and movie publicist, managed a prize fighter, worked as a merchant seaman, been a naval officer, and spent time in Hollywood as both a production assistant and a documentary filmmaker. Inspired by these varied vocations, as well as by the many locations—from Japan, Taiwan, and Hong Kong to most of the European countries—in which he has lived and worked at one time or another, Taylor has crafted several award-winning novels for young adults, as well as acclaimed works of nonfiction that draw on both the author's strong grasp of U.S. naval history and his ability to share that vivid sense of understanding and enthusiasm with his readers.

The author was born in the rural town of Statesville, North Carolina, the youngest of six children born to Edward and Elnora Taylor. He described his early childhood as "one short happy adventure, knowing and caring little about what was going on in the outside world simply because there was so much going on in my inside world.... In terms of material wealth, we had very little, but there was a richness in the surroundings that money could never buy."

These rural southern roots would form the background for several of Taylor's books: for example, the Carolinas are used as the backdrop for his "Hatteras trilogy," a work of historical fiction that features the adventures of Wendy Appleton, a mute English girl found shipwrecked on an island off the coast of South Carolina in the late 1890s. The series includes Teetoncey, Teetoncey and Ben O'Neal, and The Odyssey of Ben O'Neal, all of which describe the growing romantic relationship between Wendy and her rescuer, a young man who is called "Teetoncey," or dunce, by his fellow villagers because of his desire to go to sea. "Statesville, in the heart of the Piedmont area of North Carolina, red-earth flatlands before the western rises of the Blue Ridges, had about five thousand inhabitants when I was born," recalled Taylor. "County seat of Iredell, it was centered in an agriculture economy, mainly: cotton, tobacco, corn, some orchards; truck farms. There was a brickyard and a foundry, where my father worked; knitting mills provided most of the jobs. It was a nice, God-fearing, Waspish town of the upper South, related in some ways to `Altamont,' Thomas Wolfe's town of Asheville, up in the Blue Ridges. Some of the people of Look Homeward, Angel, as I remember them, could probably have been found in Statesville." But there were other memories, equally vivid and exciting to an impressionable young boy, but darker. He recalls being between five and six years old, and watching "the Ku Klux Klan riding by on horses one night, carrying pine knot torches; of a Model-T Ford, driven by a bootlegger, its rear end sagging with tins of booze, racing up Center Street toward the railroad station, laying a smokescreen, followed by cops in a black touring car."

As a boy, Taylor was more entranced by the action of World War I than with his studies: "I spent a lot of time drawing Fokkers and Spads and Sopwith Pups and Scouts in aerial battles; looping artillery fire into the Flanders trenches. When I should have been listening to the teacher I filled sheets of paper with war scenes." This fascination, also revealed in many of Taylor's books, would continue throughout his career, making him an acknowledged authority on the U.S.military history of the early twentieth century.

Early in 1934 Taylor moved to Cradock, Virginia, where he began his writing career at the age of thirteen as a cub reporter for the Portsmouth Evening Star. "Until school began I explored. I highly recommend exploration to young and would-be writers. I followed the Norfolk & Western tracks down to the river, often hopping the slow coaljacks for a ride, to watch the small freighters that chugged down the Elizabeth toward North Carolina on the inland waterway; to see tankers unloading on the South Norfolk side. I followed the streetcar track on foot into Portsmouth and explored the waterfront, spending hours at the Isaac Fass fishing docks watching the boats unload. I watched the side-wheeler ferries, still coal-burners, plying the mile or so across to Norfolk. There was an all-encompassing excitement to this waterfront activity, so different from the flatlands of the Piedmont, and I was caught up in it."

But something happened in the spring of 1935 that would change Taylor's life forever. "I was offered a chance to write a sports column,... a typewritten page and a half of copy, for the Portsmouth Star.... For this, I was to receive fifty cents." The eager Taylor immediately said yes. "I remember studying the sports pages of the Star and the larger Norfolk Virginian-Pilot, just to see how the stories were written," he recalled of his first days as an honest-to-goodness reporter, "then placing them down by the typewriter for constant referral.... After laboring all morning and up to mid-afternoon on the page and a half, I nervously rode the streetcar to Portsmouth clutching my first story, mentally and probably physically crossing fingers that it would be accepted." It was, although the newspaper's editor later commented, "Ted Taylor was the rawest recruit we ever had."

Taylor left his home in Virginia at the age of seventeen and moved north to join the staff of the Washington Daily News as a copyboy. By the age of nineteen he was working as an NBC network sportswriter. During World War II, he joined the United States Merchant Marine, "having no desire to slog around in army mud nor any great desire for navy discipline." He also became a member of the U.S. Naval Reserve and for almost a year and a half served as a seaman aboard a gasoline tanker in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and on a freighter plying the seas of Europe before becoming third-mate on two other ships. Returning stateside in 1944, Taylor was called up by the Navy as an ensign aboard the USS Draco, a cargo attack vessel in the Pacific. "Following the Japanese surrender, I heard about Operation Crossroads, the nuclear experiment at Bikini to see the bomb go off. Unfortunately, but typically, my ship, the USS Sumner, was ordered home before the big blast." Characteristically, his personal experience of this hotly debated military action would continue to haunt Taylor for many years but would ultimately find an outlet in his writing.

In the Korean War, Taylor also saw active duty as a naval officer; during his entire military career, he served a total of five years at sea in both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. His experiences at sea during the war form the basis for several of his fiction and nonfiction books. "Battle in the Arctic Seas (1976) is the result of wartime experience," he explained. "I sailed in convoys, was both fascinated and overwhelmed by them—this great family of ships at sea, moving as a single unit, performing like horses in a drill team. The drama was always incredible: the gathering together, the weighing of anchor, departure and forming-up; the escorts thrashing about; sometimes a U-boat attack, and then another type of drama. I'd always wanted to do a story about the most famous convoy of World War II, and PQ 17 qualified in every way. It is humanly impossible to tell as much as possible by use of a single ship, the Troubador, and her unique crew."

In Battle in the English Channel (1983) Taylor tells the story of the 1942 episode in the English Channel when a group of German ships were able to successfully elude both British naval and air forces while en route from France to Germany. In the conclusion, Taylor states its central theme: "Operation Fuller failed because of the command structure and not from lack of individual effort on the part of those who had to go out and fight."

While serving as a lieutenant in the navy during the Korean War, Taylor wrote his first book, The Magnificent Mitscher, a biography of Admiral "Pete" Mitscher, a carrier group commander during World War II. A year after its publication, Taylor moved to Hollywood where he worked as a press agent, and later as a story editor and associate producer. He subsequently produced documentary films throughout the world and wrote books.

Using his war experiences, Taylor's second book, Fire on the Beaches, told the story of the ships that fled from German submarines along the East Coast during the war, "ships like the Cities Service tanker, SS Annibal, the one I'd served on. I stopped off in New York to research Fire on the Beaches at the shipping companies and then in Washington at Coast Guard headquarters. One morning at the latter I was reading accounts of ships that were sunk along the Eastern seaboard and down in the Caribbean, over in the Gulf of Mexico, when I came across a paragraph that described the sinking of a small Dutch vessel. An eleven-year-old boy survived the sinking but was eventually lost at sea, alone on a life raft." Taylor was struck by this small drama; its irony would haunt him for several years, until it germinated and grew into the novel The Cay.

In 1966, after working for over a year on the film The Sand Pebbles, Taylor began work on his first book for younger readers. "My own children were interested in how motion pictures were made," he recalled, "and I thought others might be, too.People Who Make Movies was quickly sold to Doubleday and I was astonished some two years later, after the book began circulating in schools, to receive mail from young readers. More than three thousand responded to that book, most seeking Hollywood careers.... In writing for adults, I'd probably received a dozen letters.

"Two years later, I decided to go ahead with the long-brewing story of the boy on the life raft in the Caribbean. A few days after returning home from Florida, I rolled fresh paper into the typewriter. Three weeks later The Cay was completed and the printed version is little different from the first draft." Although Taylor would note that The Cay was "the quickest and easiest book I've ever written," he also acknowledged that over ten years of thought and reflection also greatly contributed to the ease with which the work was written.

The Cay is a two-character story about an eleven-year-old boy, Phillip, and a seventy-year-old black Caribbean seaman named Timothy who are stranded on a raft after their boat is torpedoed by German submarines in 1942. The two eventually land on a cay, or coral island. There, the boy, who was raised with a racist outlook and who has lost his sight, learns to trust the old man; knowing he is ailing, Timothy trains the lad to fend for himself, thus ensuring his survival and rescue after the old man's death. Taylor dedicated the book to the dream of Dr. Martin Luther King, "which can only come true if the very young know, and understand."

After its publication in 1969, The Cay received numerous awards, was translated into nine languages, and was adapted into a successful film for television. It also received a great deal of critical praise: the relationship between Timothy and Phillip was described by Marilyn Singer in School Library Journal as "a hauntingly deep love, the poignancy of which is rarely achieved in children's literature"; while Charles W. Dorsey, writing in the New York Times Book Review, declared that Taylor "skillfully developed the perenially popular castaway plot into a good adventure story ...." However, it also attracted hostile criticism from some reviewers, such as Albert V. Schwartz who called it "an adventure story for white colonists—however enlightened—to add to their racist mythology," in a 1971 article in Interracial Books for Children. Attacks also came from representatives of the Interracial Council on Children's Books, who exerted enough pressure to ban the novel in several libraries. Five years after Taylor received the esteemed Jane Addams Book Award, he was requested to return it.

For his own part, the author noted that the charges of racism levelled at his novel were largely supported by isolated passages in The Cay, "usually descriptive of the black character, Timothy; then the broader contention that the white character, the boy Phillip, was not changed by his experience with the 70-year-old West Indian. Needless to say," Taylor contends in a letter to the editor he submitted to Top of the News, "passages in any book can be underlined and utilized for whatever purpose the reader chooses. That purpose does not always coincide with what the writer had in mind; nor always with the total meaning; nor always with the majority of the readers. In my own mind, I did not set out to write a `racist' novel, vintage 1942; harm any human being, black or white; damage the black struggle for human equality. Further, I am not at all convinced that I did write a `racist' novel. The goal was to the contrary. Directed primarily toward the white child (thinking that the black child did not need to be told much about prejudice), I hoped to achieve a subtle plea for better race relations and more understanding. I have reason to believe that I partially achieved that goal, despite acknowledged omissions and ... flaws."

Like the "Teetoncey Trilogy" and The Cay, the majority of Taylor's stories for young readers are tales of adventure whose survival heroes are young people challenged by the intrusion of the unfamiliar. He alternates between nonfiction and fiction, with one book very often leading to another. "In the early seventies I'd come across a clipping from the Fresno Bee about a Basque shepherd who sang to his sheep," Taylor recalled. "I sensed a story in this San Joaquin Valley man and after rereading the clipping in 1975, made contact with him.A Shepherd Watches, a Shepherd Sings, for Doubleday, resulted. In addition to extensive use of taped interviews for a book of this type I also independently do extensive research. That time, on sheep. Much to my surprise I learned that sheep were being driven across the United States from as far away as Vermont in the early 1850s to feed the gold miners of California. That bit of information became a novel, Walking up a Rainbow, published in 1986 by Delacorte."

One night in 1974, Taylor was dining with a friend and his stepson, a lawyer from San Francisco. "During the course of the meal, [the stepson] said, `Okay, you wrote a story about a blind boy in The Cay; now let me tell you a story about our blind dog.' Whenever someone says, `Let me tell you a story,' I listen but ninety-nine times out of a hundred the listening is for naught. This time Tony Orser's story became a short story for Ladies' Home Journal, published in 1977, then a teleplay,...; finally, The Trouble with Tuck was published by Doubleday in 1981." The story of a blind Labrador retriever who eventually learns to maneuver with the help of a guide dog named Daisy, The Trouble with Tuck was popular with many young animal lovers.

"I often work on three [books] at once, switching from No. 1 to No. 2 if I write myself into a hole. An adult suspense novel, The Stalker, sprang from an episode of CBS's 60 Minutes." In similar fashion, Taylor's 1987 young adult novel The Hostage was inspired by a front-page article he read in the Los Angeles Times and imaginatively transformed into a fourteen-year-old boy's predicament as he is forced to weigh environmental and personal moral concerns against his family's economic well-being after he and his father capture a killer whale and contemplate selling the animal to a California marine park.

In recent years, Taylor has built upon his characteristic themes of survival and maturation through both sequels to earlier novels and new works of young adult fiction. Through such works as Timothy of the Cay, a continuation of his controversial 1969 novel The Cay, historically grounded fictions like The Bomb, and the popular action novel Sniper, elements of suspense intermingle with Taylor's young protagonists' attempts to make mature choices in order to survive life-and-death predicaments. These later novels continue to show Taylor to be a talented spinner of edge-of-your-seat adventure yarns.

In 1993's Timothy of the Cay, Taylor links past with future, juxtaposing the attempts of Phillip Enright, the blind protagonist of the earlier novel, to regain his sight with the Caribbean-born sailor Timothy's early years as a cabin boy. Following each character in alternating chapters—Phillip's story is narrated in the first person while Timothy's reads as a laudatory historical account—Timothy of the Cay answers many questions left in the minds of readers of the previous novel by covering two time periods: the years before the two find themselves shipwrecked on the tiny island, and the months immediately after Phillip's rescue. Taylor explores the same social and racial prejudices that characterized his earlier novel, while also highlighting the similarities between Phillip's brave decision to endure a high-risk operation that may restore his sight and young Timothy's struggle against both prejudice and poverty in his determination to captain a ship of his own. Although noting that the novel's attempt to deal with the subject of racial prejudice tends to cause gaps and imbalances in the story line, Stephanie Zvirin noted in Booklist that Taylor "also manages some moving moments of introspection and quiet heroism as well as an occasional snatch of the same wild drama that fired The Cay."

In another sequel, Tuck Triumphant, published in 1991, the tail-wagging Labrador hero of The Trouble with Tuck returns with lead dog Daisy in tow to help fourteen-year-old Helen cope with the arrival of an adopted brother. Her new sibling sends Helen on a roller-coaster of emotions as she shifts from disappointment over the young Chok-Do's being a rambunctious six-year-old rather than a cuddly baby, confusion over the orphaned boy's deafness, and finally, love and sadness when she realizes that he may be sent to a private boarding school. Praised by Voice of Youth Advocates reviewer Donna Houser as "a beautiful, poignant story of two special dogs and a lonely, deaf little boy," Tuck Triumphant echoed Taylor's earlier efforts as a children's author.

Taylor's abilities as a writer have continued to transcend genres; while Tuck Triumphant and Timothy of the Cay were primarily character studies, other novels have combined equally realistically drawn characters with much more highly imaginative, suspense-filled storylines. 1989's Sniper features Ben Jepson, a young man who faces down danger in an effort to save the animals held in his family's privately held zoological preservation. Located in the California landscape familiar to readers of Taylor's work, the Los Coyotes Preserve where Ben and several animal handlers live contains such exotic animals as lions and tigers. When Alfredo, whom Ben's parents have left in charge of the preserve while they are away covering an assignment for National Geographic, becomes seriously injured in a car accident, fourteen-year-old Ben finds himself in charge. Unfortunately, his increased duties at the preserve soon include fighting for his life as a mysterious sniper armed with a night-scoped rifle begins a guerrilla-like attack on all the inhabitants of the preserve. Aided by an African veterinarian, a pair of Spanish-speaking animal handlers, and his girlfriend, Ben must make decisions that will decide the fate of both the animals and his family's life work.

Published in 1992, Taylor's The Weirdo went on to win that year's Edgar Allan Poe award for best young adult mystery. In this action novel, seventeen-year-old Chip Clewt, a survivor of an airplane accident that occurred when he was seven and left the left side of his body disfigured, has fled with his recovering-alcoholic father to a small cabin deep in the wilderness of North Carolina's Powhatan Swamp wildlife refuge. Encountering Tom Telford and his assistant, Samantha Sanders, two students doing field work on the native black bear population, he decides to help them in their efforts to track and tag the bears. The tagging project—intended to help influence state authorities to extend the ban on hunting that has protected the bears for the past four years—runs afoul of the desire of several local hunters, who decide to hunt the young people down. Telford mysteriously disappears. In addition to portraying Chip's maturation and realization that he can transcend his physical handicap, Taylor highlights environmental issues through Samantha's mixed feelings about her own beliefs and her respect for her father, who is a devout hunter. "Murder, suspense, and intrigue abound, as does a hint of romance, but the environmental message is a clear and realistic one," explains Frances Bradburn in Wilson Library Bulletin. While noting that the author ultimately sides with wildlife preservationists, "Taylor is also careful to present the native population's desire—even need—to preserve a way of life that has been a part of the eastern North Carolina/Virginia heritage for generations. Pitting `bad' hunters against `good' environmentalists is a trap that Taylor will not allow himself to spring."

To Kill the Leopard, an action novel for adults published by Taylor in 1993 that has its roots in his experiences during World War II, was followed a year later by Sweet Friday Island. Taking place on the Sea of Cortez, which separates Baja California from Mexico, this adventure novel finds spunky fifteen-year-old Peg and her father vacationing on what they believe to be the uninhabited island of Viernes Dulce—Sweet Friday Island. Expecting to spend their annual "father and daughter only" vacation swimming, loafing, and exploring the craggy island terrain, and undeterred by the hostile reception they received at the Mexican border, the two campers suddenly find their tenting holiday transformed into a fight for their lives after docking on the remote island brings them face to face with a hostile but invisible enemy who punctures their raft, drains their supply of drinking water, and makes off with Peg's father's medical kit. Without insulin, he soon lapses into a diabetic coma and Peg is left to match wits with the enemy, knowing the lives of both she and her father hang in the balance.

Taylor earned resounding critical praise for still another award-winning effort, 1995's The Bomb. Set against the backdrop of the 1945 U.S. liberation of Japanese-occupied Bikini Atoll—a coral island in the Western Pacific located 2,200 miles from Hawaii—this poignant story of human perseverance and, ultimately, tragedy finds an echo in the current debate over nuclear weapons testing around the globe. Like his neighbors, The Bomb's fourteen-year-old protagonist Sorry Rinamu is grateful to the United States after the departure of their liberating forces, and feels a sense of security as life on his tropical island returns to normal. However, when the "helpful" U.S.Army forces return to his home a year later and announce that they will be "temporarily" relocating island residents in order to conduct tests of their latest atomic bomb in the Bikini lagoon, Sorry and his Uncle Abram are convinced, rightly, that such a weapon will certainly destroy their home; the residents of this quiet island will be left without a home. Their efforts to convince their neighbors that all the plants and animals on their homeland will be destroyed fall on deaf ears, and Uncle Abram dies in the process. Left alone with the realization of impending disaster, Sorry attempts to fight for his native homeland on his own, realizing too late that one person from an insignificant country cannot influence the actions of a superpower.

Taylor ends his moving fiction with an epilogue documenting the actual results of the U.S. government's destruction of Bikini Atoll and its impact on the lives of the villagers. Much of this information was based on the author's personal experiences in the mid-1940s, when he served as a U.S. Navy ensign during Operation Crossroads; while aboard the USS Sumner Taylor was involved with relocating the inhabitants of a similar small island in preparation for nuclear weapons testing. He described the navy's plan in an article accompanying his novel: "Almost one hundred unmanned warships would gather in the atoll's lagoon for two `shots' [bomb detonations]—one aerial, one undersea.Navy officials wanted to know if the ships would survive the cataclysmic force of nuclear explosions.Animals would take the place of human crews on the target ships. Goats would be tethered on the open decks; guinea pigs and five thousand rats would be inside the ships, along with cancer-prone white mice.... All would be exposed to radiation." More than fifty years later, the once-beautiful Bikini Atoll is still poisoned by radioactive fallout from Operation Crossroads.

Throughout his long career as a writer, Taylor has shared his wide-ranging life experience and interests with young readers, making them both entertaining and insightful. "Every story I have written is about real people and stems from real-life events," he told Norma Bagnall in an interview in Language Arts. "They include kids who have figured out things for themselves because kids like that really exist. I think they serve as models; I hope they serve as models, models of self-sufficiency and self-reliance." And as an author, Taylor also serves as a model. "Long ago I learned about discipline and have no trouble going to my office about eight-thirty each morning," he once noted, describing the personal writing regimen that has allowed him this success. "With a half-hour off for lunch, I work until four-thirty; sometimes five. I do this seven days a week except during football season. September to Super Bowl Sunday. During this grunt-grind period on the gridiron, I work only five days weekly—without guilt. Otherwise, I feel enormous guilt if I don't work. Precious hours going to waste."


Family: Born June 23, 1921, in Statesville, NC; son of Edward Riley (a molder) and Elnora (Langhans) Taylor; married Gweneth Goodwin, October 25, 1946 (divorced, 1977); married Flora Gray Schoenleber (a library clerk), April 18, 1981; children: (first marriage) Mark, Wendy, Michael. Education: Attended Fork Union Military Academy, 1939-40, U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, Kings Point, NY, 1942-43, and Columbia University, 1948; studied with American Theatre Wing, 1947-49. Politics: Republican. Religion: Protestant. Avocational Interests: Ocean fishing, foreign travel. Military/Wartime Service: U.S. Merchant Marine, 1942-44; U.S. Naval Reserve, active duty, 1944-46, 1950-55, became lieutenant. Memberships: Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Writers Guild, Authors League of America, Mystery Writers of America, Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. Addresses: Home: 1856 Catalina St., Laguna Beach, CA 92615.; Agent: Gloria Loomis, Watkins Loomis Agency, Inc., 150 East 35th St., Suite 530, New York, NY 10016.


Portsmouth Star, Portsmouth, VA, cub reporter, 1934-39, sports editor, 1941-42; Daily News, Washington, DC, copyboy, c. 1942; National Broadcasting Co. (NBC) Radio, New York City, sportswriter, 1942; Sunset News, Bluefield, WV, sports editor, 1946-47; New York University, New York City, assistant director of public relations, 1947-48; Orlando Sentinel Star, Orlando, FL, reporter, 1949-50; Paramount Pictures, Hollywood, CA, publicist, 1955-56; Perlberg-Seaton Productions, Hollywood, story editor and associate producer, 1956-61; freelance press agent for Hollywood studios, 1961-68; writer, 1961—; Twentieth Century-Fox, Hollywood, writer, 1965-69. Producer and director of documentary films.


Commonwealth Club of California Silver Medal, 1969, Jane Addams Children's Book Award, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (returned, 1975), Lewis Carroll Shelf Award, Southern California Council on Literature for Children and Young People Notable Book Award, California Literature Medal, and Best Book Award from University of California, Irvine, all 1970, all for was selected one of Outstanding Books of the Year, 1976; Spur Award for Best Western for Young People, Western Writers of America, and Commonwealth Club of California Silver Medal for the best juvenile book by a California author, both 1977, both for Southern California Council on Literature for Children and Young People award, 1977, for body of work; George G. Stone Center for Children's Books Recognition of Merit Award, 1980, for body of work; Young Reader Medal from the California Reading Association, 1984, for Jefferson Cup Honor Book from the Virginia Library Association, 1987, for American Library Association (ALA) Best Book Award, 1989, for 1992, for and 1993, for California Reading Association Young Reader Medal, 1992, for Edgar Allan Poe Award, Mystery Writers of America, and New York Public Library Award for Best Book, both 1992, both for Maryland Reading Association Best Young Adult Book Award, 1995, for ALA Best Books for Young Adults citation and Scott O'Dell award, both 1996, both for



  • The Cay, Doubleday (Garden City, NY), 1969.
  • The Children's War, Doubleday, 1971.
  • The Maldonado Miracle, Doubleday, 1973.
  • Teetoncey, illustrated by Richard Cuffari, Doubleday, 1974.
  • Teetoncey and Ben O'Neal, illustrated by Cuffari, Doubleday, 1975.
  • The Odyssey of Ben O'Neal, illustrated by Cuffari, Doubleday, 1977.
  • The Trouble with Tuck, Doubleday, 1981.
  • Sweet Friday Island, Scholastic, Inc. (New York City), 1984.
  • Walking up a Rainbow: Being the True Version of the Long and Hazardous Journey of Susan D. Carlisle, Mrs. Myrtle Dessery, Drover Bert Pettit, and Cowboy Clay Carmer and Others, Delacorte (New York City), 1986.
  • The Hostage, illustrated by Darrell Sweet, Delacorte, 1988.
  • Sniper, Harcourt (San Diego), 1989.
  • Tuck Triumphant, Doubleday, 1991.
  • The Weirdo, Harcourt, 1992.
  • Maria, Harcourt, 1992.
  • Timothy of the Cay, Harcourt, 1993.
  • The Bomb, Harcourt, 1995.
  • People Who Make Movies, Doubleday, 1967.
  • Air Raid—Pearl Harbor! The Story of December 7, 1941, illustrated by W. T. Mars, Crowell (New York City), 1971.
  • Rebellion Town: Williamsburg, 1776, illustrated by R. Cuffari, Crowell, 1973.
  • Battle in the Arctic Seas: The Story of Convoy PQ 17, illustrated by Robert Andrew Parker, Crowell, 1976.
  • (With Louis Irigaray) A Shepherd Watches, a Shepherd Sings, Doubleday, 1977.
  • H.M.S. Hood vs. Bismarck: The Battleship Battle, illustrated by A. Glass, Avon, 1982.
  • The Battle of Midway Island, illustrated by Andrew Glass, Avon (New York City), 1983.
  • Battle in the English Channel, illustrated by A. Glass, Avon, 1983.
  • Rocket Island, Avon, 1985.
  • The Body Trade, Fawcett (New York City), 1968.
  • The Stalker, D. I. Fine, 1987.
  • Monocolo, D. I. Fine, 1989.
  • To Kill the Leopard, Harcourt, 1993.
  • The Magnificent Mitscher (biography), Norton (New York City), 1954.
  • Fire on the Beaches, Norton, 1957.
  • (With Robert A. Houghton) Special Unit Senator: An Investigation of the Assassination of Senator Robert F. Kennedy, Random House (New York City), 1970.
  • (With Kreskin) The Amazing World of Kreskin, Random House, 1974.
  • Jule: The Story of Composer Jule Styne, Random House, 1979.
  • (With Tippi Hedren) The Cats of Shambala, Simon & Schuster (New York City), 1985.
  • Author of television plays "Tom Threepersons," TV Mystery Theater, 1964, "Sunshine, the Whale," and "The Girl Who Whistled the River Kwai," 1980; author of screenplays Night without End, 1959, The Hold-up and Showdown, both Universal, both 1973, Diplomatic Immunity, 1989, and numerous documentary films. Also author of books under the pseudonym T. T. Lang. Contributor of short stories and novelettes to magazines, including Argosy, Ladies' Home Journal, McCall's, Redbook, and Saturday Evening Post.
  • Taylor's manuscripts are included in the Kerlan Collection, University of Minnesota
  • The Cay was adapted as a television film starring James Earl Jones, NBC-TV, 1974, and as a filmstrip, Pied Piper Productions, 1975; The Trouble with Tuck was adapted as a filmstrip, Pied Piper Productions, 1986; Timothy of the Cay and The Hostage have been recorded on audio cassette, Recorded Books, 1996..
Works in Progress
  • Rainbow's End, a collection of short stories for boys; Naughty, Naughty Knifework, for adults.


Works Cited

  • Bagnall, Norma, "Theodore Taylor: His Models of Self-Reliance," in Language Arts, January, 1980, pp. 86-91.
  • Bradburn, Frances, "Middle Books," in Wilson Library Bulletin, September, 1992, pp. 93-94.
  • Dorsey, Charles W., review of The Cay, New York Times Book Review, June 29, 1969, p. 26.
  • Houser, Donna, review of Tuck Triumphant, in Voice of Youth Advocates, October, 1991, pp. 232-33.
  • Schwartz, Albert V., "`The Cay': Racism Still Rewarded," in Interracial Books for Children, Volume 3, number 4, 1971, pp. 7-8.
  • Singer, Marilyn, review of The Cay, School Library Journal, September, 1969, p. 162.
  • Taylor, Theodore, letter to the editor, Top of the News, April, 1975, pp. 284-88.
  • Taylor, Theodore, Battle in the English Channel, Avon, 1983.
  • Taylor, Theodore, essay in Something about the Author, Autobiography Series, Volume 4, Gale, 1987.
  • Taylor, Theodore, "On Writing The Bomb" (press release), Harcourt, 1995.
  • Zvirin, Stephanie, review of Timothy of the Cay, in Booklist, September 15, 1993, p. 153.

For More Information

  • Gleason, Virginia L., "Theodore Taylor," in Twentieth-Century Young Adult Writers, St James Press, 1994, pp. 637-39.
  • Twentieth-Century Children's Writers, 3rd edition, St. James Press, 1989, pp. 953-54.
  • ALAN Review, spring, 1996.
  • Christian Science Monitor, May 6, 1988; January 25, 1989, p. 13.
  • Growing Point, January, 1991, pp. 5447-51.
  • Horn Book, October, 1974, p. 145; December, 1975, p. 596; April, 1982, p. 170; February, 1984, p. 79; January, 1990, p. 72.
  • Junior Bookshelf, December, 1994, p. 239.
  • Los Angeles Times Book Review, June 21, 1987, pp. 3, 8.
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  • Washington Post, May 26, 1979.

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Source Citation   

Gale Document Number: GALE|EJ2110100415