Hometown: Kenosha, WI
Florence Parry Heide was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on February 27, 1919. Her father was David W. Parry, a banker, and her mother was Florence Fisher, a columnist and actress.
During her childhood years, Florence was educated at the Ellis School in Pittsburgh. She then studied at Wilson College in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, and after two years she transferred to University of California at Los Angeles, where she eventually graduated in 1939. At the UCLA, she earned her B.A. in English.
Florence worked in advertising and public relations in New York City before she returned to her hometown during World War II.
She met Captain Donald C. Heide in October, 1943. He would later become her husband when they were married six weeks later, on November 27, 1943.
Following the war’s end, Florence and her husband moved to Kenosha. He began a private law practice, and worked until his retirement in 1982. Florence, on the other hand, devoted herself to her five children (Christen, Roxanne, Judith, David and Parry) and began her career as a children’s author when the youngest of her children left for college in the late 1960s.
Since the start of her career, she has published more than 100 books for youth and children-from picture books to adolescent novels, along with several collections of poetry. Her best known works are a series of story books about the adventures of a curious boy named Treehorn. These story books include &!@*#les such as “The Shrinking of Treehorn” (1971) and “Treehorn’s Treasure” (1981).
Heide is also known for her ability to accurately portray the emotions of young girls facing the difficult transitions in life in such books as “When the Sad One Comes to Stay,” “Growing Anyway Up,” and “Secret Dreamer, Secret Dreams.”
In her biography for Candlewick Press, Heide once said, “What do I like about writing for children? Everything. I like the connection with children. I like the connection with all kinds of book people. And I like the connection with my childhood self, which is the most of me. It is the most welcome and familiar of worlds. There are miracles abound-indeed it is magical that something I might think of can be put into words, stories, ideas, and that those words end up in the heads of readers I will never meet.”
Heide has also worked with well-known illustrators such as Edward Gorey and Jules Fieffer, and has won several awards for her own work. Two of Florence’s daughters, Judith Heide Gilliland and Roxanne Heide Pierce, also became authors, and have even co-written several books with their mother.
Aside from writing, Florence has also collaborated with Sylvia Van Clief to write a number of songs.
Throughout her career, Heide has won several awards for many of her works. The New York Times names her book, “The Shrinking of Treehorn” the Best Illustrated Children’s Book on 1971. Six years later, “Jugendbuchpreis” won Best Children’s Book of Germany. In 1979, she was awarded honorary doctorate by Carthage College. “The Day of Ahmed’s Secret” received the Editors’ Choice Award from Booklist in 1991, and the same prize was awarded to “Sami and the Time of the Troubles” in 1992. Heide also received several Notable Book citations for her works from the American Library Association and Best Book Citations from The School Library Journal.
Biography By Stacy Raduechel