The short version: Blair Thornburgh is the author of the picture books SKULLS! and SECOND BANANA and the young adult novels WHO’S THAT GIRL and ORDINARY GIRLS. She received her MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Hamline University. A former kid herself, she now lives just outside of her hometown of Philadelphia.
The Extended Edition™:
I was born in Philadelphia at the tail end of the ’80s to a pair of preppies-turned-yuppies with adorable matching sweaters (one of which my dad still owns. Yes: he has a sweater that is older than his eldest child. That sweater could’ve voted four years before I could!)
I didn’t speak English until I was almost two and a half, but I had a great made-up language that I would shout from the top of the stump in our backyard and scare the feral cats.
Despite a really gnarly peanut allergy, a congenital heart murmur, and an unfortunate twirling-in-the-living-room incident that ended with five stitches, I had a great childhood. One time, my mom built my sister and me an indoor playhouse out of a refrigerator box. Another time, my grandmother sewed me a complete tiny Amishwoman outfit for our first grade barn raising, and I used to play in it after school until it got too small. I fell asleep with books in my bed a lot. I cried a lot. I sang a lot in the church choir. I caught the bouquet at my aunt’s wedding reception but remained mysteriously unmarried. In fifth grade, I wrote a story about a lady knight and shape-shifting evil trees. In eighth grade, I spent a lot of time playing Neopets and burning my forehead with my hair straightener. Needless to say, I was not a popular child.
In high school, I managed to talk myself out of some boring classes (9th grade History, Advanced Calculus, and gym, which I had to forge a signature for. DO NOT TELL ANYONE AT GERMANTOWN FRIENDS SCHOOL) so I could take more Latin and French. No regrets. I also had the best group of friends who would stage a DIY Thanksgiving feast once a year in the math department just because we liked food and each other.
I went to college at the University of Chicago because it had a big scavenger hunt and nowhere else accepted me. I majored in Medieval Studies because I adore everything pre-Columbian and wanted to read as many dead languages as possible. I got some new friends who also regularly gathered to eat food and laugh. In 2012, I graduated and delivered a commencement speech to at least 5,000 people—which should have made me want to barf, but my speech was about how much I love my friends, so it was easy to deliver.
Now, I live in Philadelphia again and work as an editor. I write and blog and occasionally teach. Life is grand.