Born in Flint, Michigan, Christopher Paul Curtis spent his first 13 years after high school on the assembly line of Flint’s historic Fisher Body Plant #1. His job entailed hanging car doors, and it left him with an aversion to getting into and out of large automobiles—particularly big Buicks.
Curtis’s writing—and his dedication to it—has been greatly influenced by his family members. With grandfathers like Earl “Lefty” Lewis, a Negro Baseball League pitcher, and 1930s bandleader Herman E. Curtis, Sr., of Herman Curtis and the Dusky Devastators of the Depression, it is easy to see why Christopher Paul Curtis was destined to become an entertainer.
Christopher Paul Curtis made an outstanding debut in children’s s literature with The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963. His second novel, Bud, Not Buddy, is the first book ever to receive both the Newbery Medal and the Coretta Scott King Author Award.
• Christopher Paul Curtis and his wife, Habon, have three children, Steven, Cydney, and Ayaan. He lives in Detroit, Michigan, with his family.
• Christopher modeled characters in Bud, Not Buddy after his two amazing grandfathers—Earl “Lefty” Lewis, a Negro Baseball League pitcher, and 1930s bandleader Herman E. Curtis, Sr., of Herman Curtis and the Dusky Devastators of the Depression.
• Christopher Paul Curtis is a great reader, but as a youth, he could not find books “that were about me.”
• After high school, Christopher spent 13 years on the assembly line of the Fisher Body plant, hanging 80-pound car doors on Buicks (while attending college at night!). He wrote during his breaks to escape the noise of the factory.
• Christopher took a year off from work to write The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963. He sat in the children’s room of the Windsor Public Library and wrote in longhand. His son Steven typed his father’s drafts into their computer and served as first reader. The book won many awards, including a Newbery Honor and a Coretta Scott King Honor. It has become a classic and a perennial favorite with readers of all ages.
• Playing basketball
• Collecting old record albums
• Anything by Toni Morrison, Kurt Vonnegut, or Zora Neale Hurston.