For the Press
Caren Stelson is the author of Sachiko: A Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Survivor’s Story, and A Bowl of Peace, a picture book of Sachiko Yasui’s story, as well as other works for children and young adults. To write Sachiko, Caren traveled to Nagasaki five times to interview Sachiko Yasui and research her story. Caren has had a long career in education, as a teacher, writer-in-residence, and freelance writer. After receiving her MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults at Hamline University in 2009, Caren decided it was time to write the stories that needed her attention. Caren and her husband Kim have two adult children and two young grandchildren. Caren and her husband make their home in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
More Detailed Biography
Caren Stelson holds a BA in History, a master’s in education, and an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults. She has had a long career as a reading specialist, an elementary classroom teacher, a freelance writer for educational publishing companies, and a writer-in-residence in schools before embarking on a published career writing her own stories. In 2001-02, Caren and her family had opportunities to live and travel abroad. During this time, Caren listened to stories of people who had survived WWII as soldiers, civilians, and children. For each person and story, she wondered: What scars do people carry after war? How do these scars heal? Who gets to peace and who doesn’t? When she returned from her travels, she decided it was time to write the stories that mattered most to her.
In 2005, Caren met Sachiko Yasui, a survivor of the Nagasaki atomic bomb, when Sachiko visited Caren’s home city of Minneapolis. As Caren listened to Sachiko’s traumatic survival of nuclear war and her dramatic pathway to peace, Caren knew Sachiko’s story was the one she needed to write. Sachiko agreed to partner with Caren, but under one condition—she had to look into Caren’s eyes as they worked. That meant only one thing—travel to Nagasaki. Caren met with Sachiko five times to record and research her story. Sachiko: A Nagasaki Bomb Survivor’s Story was published by Carolrhoda/Lerner Publishing Group in October 2016 and won numerous awards, among them longlisted for a National Book Award, named a Sibert Honor Award for Information Books by the American Library Association, and received the Jane Addams Book Award for Older Children. A Bowl Full of Peace, a picture book of Sachiko’s story, followed, published in 2020. A Bowl Full of Peace, illustrated by Japanese artist Akira Kusaka and published by Carolrhoda/Lerner Publishing Group was a 2021finalist for a Minnesota Book Award.
Caren continues to write and remains active in supporting teachers who want to teach for peace. She and her husband have two grown children and two grandchildren, giving them an even greater personal stake in the future.