Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

Naylor was born in Indiana and grew up during the Great Depression. She has said that she never felt poor because her parents read stories from their book collection to her and her siblings in their childhood. She began writing her own stories when she was in elementary school. Her first children's book was called The Galloping Goat and Other Stories and was published in 1965. In 1991, Naylor published the children's book, Shiloh about a young boy and an abused dog set in West Virginia. The book won the Newbery Medal in 1992. While not from Appalachia herself, she married a West Virginian and spent a great deal of time traveling, visiting and doing research in Appalachia for future stories.

“I remember when the Farmington mine blew up years ago, in Farmington, West Virginia, I think it was '78. I went to the library to get a book about a coal mining family to read to my two sons. I wanted them to know what it must be like to have your father go way down in the ground and in such a dangerous job, and I couldn't find anything, so I decided to write one myself.”

Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, quoted from "A Transcript from Our Interview with Phyllis Naylor." Reading Rockets. n.d.  Retrieved 30 June 2014.