Eve Bunting Author Study

Eve Bunting Biography

Born the small village of Maghera, Ireland in 1928, Eve Bunting grew up in a tradition full of the art of storytelling and the magic of words. "There used to be Shanachies in the Ireland of long ago," she says. "The Shanachie was the storyteller who went from house to house telling his tales of ghosts and faires, of old Irish heroes and battles still to be won. Maybe I'm a bit of a Shanachie myself, telling my stories to anyone who'll listen."

Her father was a "tough, gruff, old Irishman," who would read poetry to her while she sat on his lap. Bunting's mother, also an avid reader, started a community lending library out of their home because their village had no library. When Eve was seven, her parents sent her off to boarding school, where she received a good education and made close friends who became like sisters.

In 1958 Eve Bunting moved to California with her husband and three children. Several years later,  her writing career started after she took a creative writing course at Pasadena City College.  Her first book, a retelling of an old Irish folktale about the giant Finn McCool, called The Two Giants, was published in 1972. 

First she wrote retellings of Irish folktales but soon, Bunting branched out in numerous directions. Filled with ideas and a strong desire to write, she was, still, uncertain of what to expect. "All doubts vanished when I had my first published story and then my first published book," she recalls. 

While she has published several light-hearted picture books, Bunting has never shied away from addressing the difficult issues.  She has published numerous picture books that include sensitive topics such as racial prejudice, death, troubled families, and war.   Bunting's message is clear, "Picture books aren't just for tots anymore."  She says, "I like to write books for children that make them think.  I like to write for every child,  for every age, for every interest. That is why I have such a variety of books -- from pre-school, through the middle grades and beyond.  "One of my greatest joys is writing picture books. I have discovered the pleasures of telling a story of happiness or sorrow in a few simple words."

Eve Bunting has received many awards for her work including the Golden Kite Award from the Society of Children's Book Writers, the PEN Los Angeles Center Literary Award for Special Achievement in Children's Literature, and the Edgar, given by the Mystery Writers of America.  Bunting's Fly Away Home,  received the "Heal the World Award" from schoolchildren.

Eve Bunting currently lives with her husband of over 50 years in Pasadena, California, and is a writing teacher at the University of California, Los Angeles.   She has written more than 200 children's books.   Every so often, the Buntings travel back to Northern Ireland and  visit her hometown of Maghera, which has grown from a village into a town with a true public library. An entire section of the library is dedicated to the books of Eve Bunting, whom townspeople still consider a local author.

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Eve Bunting Digital Story

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*Please Note: You can fast forward this video from 4:20-6:02, as the titles books listed during this section of the video are very difficult to read.