Helen Frost was born in Brookings, South Dakota, and was the fifth of ten children. When she was 11, her family moved to Wilbraham, Massachusetts, where she spent her teenage years.

She graduated from Syracuse University with a degree in Elementary Education and a concentration in English and received her Master’s degree in English from Indiana University in 1994.

Writing and teaching have been interwoven threads throughout her career. She has published poetry, children’s books, anthologies, a play, and a book about teaching writing. She has taught writing at all levels, from preschool through university and adult education.

Since 1991, she has lived in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Before that, she moved frequently,  living in Scotland, Vermont, Colorado, Alaska, Oregon, and California. In Scotland, she taught at Kilquhanity House School, a progressive boarding school in the tradition of Summerhill. 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 interdisciplinary 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 Press. In 2017, When My Sister Started Kissing was published by Margaret Ferguson Books, FSG/Macmillan. Two more novels-in-poems were published in 2020: Blue Daisy (Margaret Ferguson Books, Holiday House) and All He Knew (Farrar, Straus and Giroux/MacMillan). These eleven books are all novels-in-poems for children and young adults.

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 five other  Frost-Lieder collaborations: Sweep up the Sun in 2015,  Among a Thousand Fireflies in 2016, Wake Up! in 2017, Hello, I’m Here! in 2019, and Wait–and See, in 2022. A seventh collaboration with Rick Lieder, The Mighty Pollinators, will be published by Candlewick in 2024.

In addition to the awards listed on the pages for individual books,  Helen has also received an Indiana Author Award, a Boston Public Library Literary Lights for Children award, and a National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship in Poetry.

Helen enjoys hiking, swimming, beadwork, and gardening (especially to welcome birds and monarch butterflies). She has traveled to many countries, including Canada, Mexico, Guatemala, Scotland, England, Ireland, Wales, Denmark, Germany, China, Japan, and Myanmar, where she was part of a 2016 delegation from Fort Wayne to establish a Friendship City with Mawlamyine. www.helenfrost.net 

Helen will be at the New Carlisle-Olive Township Public Library on April 22 at one o’clock. We are so excited to have her share her journey as an author, and we would love to have you join us! She will have many of her books for sale.