Lynda Graham-Barber can trace the roots of her love affair with books and nature back to her girlhood pond, a few acres away from her family home, in western Pennsylvania. For countless hours Lynda sat on the banks, reading, writing, and exploring the natural world. Here the great blue heron speared fish; the tree swallows dipped and dived for insects; and the fox, kits at her side, sniffed the air. While still in high school, Lynda began working at the local library, shelving books. It's here that she discovered the nature writings of Aldo Leopold, John Burroughs, Henry Beston and, of course, Henry David Thoreau.
The same week Lynda received her BA in French and English, she married Ray Barber and moved to an apartment near Pratt Institute. There they spent the next three decades exploring the cultural life offered by New York, as well as the flora and fauna found in Central Park, and along New Jersey's Palisades.
Lynda's first published book, Who Lives Inside?, examined animal habitats for beginning readers. The book was an ideal collaboration, combining Lynda's writing and Ray's artwork.
Lynda went on to hold editorial positions at various New York publishing firms, last at William Morrow, as an associate editor in the children's book division. After a decade in publishing, Lynda left to pursue a freelance writing career. She wrote articles on nature, art, travel, and decorating, for publications including The New York Times, Ms, Cosmopolitan, Redbook, and Travel & Leisure. One of her feature articles formed the basis for The Kit Furniture Book, which was serialized in several national magazines and selected by the Literary Guild as a main selection.
Her next four books for children explored the history of words associated with holidays. One of these books, Ho Ho Ho! The Complete Book of Christmas Words was selected as an American Book Sellers ‘Pick of the List.’ Another, Mushy! The Complete Book of Valentine Words, was singled out as a ‘Pick’ by People Magazine. Lynda’s next title, Toad or Frog? Swamp or Bog? A Big Book of Nature's Confusables, was selected as a runner-up for the "New Jersey Kids' Pick Award."
Lynda and Ray purchased of a tract of woods on the border of Vermont and Quebec. They found nesting warblers and wild orchids growing around their beaver pond. Finally outgrowing the family tent, they built a primitive cabin, which they named "Toadshade." A few days before Halloween, Lynda was reading in bed by kerosene lantern. A bat flew by her head so close that she could study the bat's face. The next morning she scribbled down the words to Say Boo!, which was chosen by Scholastic Book Clubs and translated into French.
In 1994 Lynda accepted a position as instructor at the Institute of Children's Literature. She was widowed in 1996, but stayed in Vermont and completed work on the stone cottage Ray had designed. In 2000, Lynda married David Hunter, who shares her love of nature, animals, and art.
Lynda is a degree candidate for a master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing for Children & Young Adults from Vermont College. 2008 marks a collaborative book project with illustrator, Nancy Carol Willis. The Animals’ Winter Sleep brings Lynda’s lyrical writing to very young children.