About Helen Frost

Helen Frost was born in Brookings, South Dakota,the fifth of ten children. She graduated from Syracuse University with a degree in Elementary Education and a concentration in English, with Philip Booth and W. D. Snodgrass among her teachers. She received her Masters degree in English from Indiana University in 1994. She is the recipient of a 2009 National Endowment for the Arts Poetry Fellowship.

Throughout her career, writing and teaching have been inter-woven threads. She has published poetry, children's books, anthologies, and a play, as well as a book about teaching writing. She has taught writing at all levels, from pre-school through university.

She has lived in South Dakota, Massachusetts, Scotland, Vermont, Alaska, Oregon, and California, and presently lives in Fort Wayne, Indiana. In Scotland, she taught at Kilquhanity House School, a progressive boarding school. In Alaska, she taught for three years in a one-teacher school in Telida, an Athabascan community of about 25 people, and later taught fifth grade in Ketchikan.

Her first collection of poetry, Skin of a Fish, Bones of a Bird, won the Women Poets Series Competition in 1993 and was published by Ampersand Press. Poems in that collection were also awarded the Robert H. Winner Memorial Award and the Mary Carolyn Davies Memorial Award by the Poetry Society of America. Her second poetry collection, as if a dry wind, was published by Pecan Grove Press in 2009.

Helen worked with the Fort Wayne Dance Collective for over 10 years as part of an inter-disciplinary artistic team in a violence-prevention program incorporating creative movement, percussion, visual arts, and writing. She has also worked with the Fort Wayne YWCA and the Fort Wayne Youtheatre to help high school students write about how they have been affected by violence. The students' writing was the basis of a play and an anthology, both entitled Why Darkness Seems So Light. That work led to the book, When I Whisper, Nobody Listens: Helping Young People Write About Difficult Issues (Heinemann, 2001).

Keesha's House, published in 2003 by Frances Foster Books / Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, was awarded a Michael L. Printz Honor in 2004. Frances Foster subsequently published Spinning Through the Universe in 2004 (Paperback of this book is titled Room 214: A Year in Poems), The Braid in 2006, Diamond Willow in 2008, Crossing Stones in 2009, Hidden in 2011, and Salt in 2013. In 2016, Applesauce Weather, a novel-in-poems with illustrations by Amy June Bates, was published by Candlewick. These eight books are all novels-in-poems for children and young adults. In 2017, When My Sister Started Kissing will be published by Margaret Ferguson Books, FSG/Macmillan.

Monarch and Milkweed, published in 2008 by Atheneum, is a picture book illustrated by Leonid Gore. Step Gently Out, a picture book collaboration with photographer Rick Lieder, was published by Candlewick in 2012, followed by two other collaborations with Rick Lieder: Sweep up the Sun in 2015, and Among a Thousand Fireflies in 2016. A fourth collaboration with Rick Lieder, Wake Up!, will be published in 2017.

Helen lives in Fort Wayne, Indiana. She is married and has two sons. She enjoys travel, hiking, beaded gourd-work, kayaking, and raising and releasing monarch butterflies.

A detailed autobiography of Helen Frost, with photographs, can be found in "Something About the Author," Volume 194, found in the reference section of many libraries, most often in the children's section. Much of the text of this autobiography (without the accompanying photographs) can be found: here.