When Carole Lexa Schaefer was growing up, she wanted to be both a poet and a journalist. In an unexpected way, she feels she achieved her ambition. While studying for a master’s degree in early childhood education, she once put together a picture book made of photo essays. “The lyrical, every-word-counts genre captivated the poet and journalist in me,” Carole Lexa Schaefer recalls—and she’s been writing stories for children ever since. Her first book with Candlewick, The Copper Tin Cup, traces the origin of a family keepsake that’s been handed down for generations. “It was inspired by my connections with my immigrant relatives through stories and songs—invisible heirlooms—to keep handing on,” she says.
The longtime director of a Seattle preschool that she founded in 1980, Carole Lexa Schaefer often draws on her experience with young children when writing stories. In Down in the Woods at Sleepytime, not one of the baby animals in the woods is ready to go to bed, until Grandma Owl finally finds a way to settle everyone down. The author says she was inspired “by all my friends at Little Friends Preschool who like to play just a little bit longer—even at sleepytime.” Luckily, preschool teachers now have some help at nap time: Down in the Woods at Sleepytime, says Publishers Weekly, is a book in which “author and artist make bedtime about as appealing as it gets.”
With her next books, Carole Lexa Schaefer switches gears from sleepytime to partytime. Full Moon Barnyard Dance is a rousing read-aloud that showcases farm animals dancing as they learn to appreciate their differences. One Wheel Wobbles, a zany counting book, follows one fun-loving family on Family Parade Day as they roll along on an ever-increasing number of wheels—Gramma on a motorcycle, Sister on a trike, and Grampa on some snazzy skates. Of One Wheel Wobbles, Carole Lexa Schaefer explains, “I wanted to create a counting book for children with which they could have a rollicking good time.”
Carole Lexa Schaefer, who has a master’s degree in early childhood education from the University of Washington, taught school for ten years in places as varied as Taiwan, Switzerland, and Micronesia, as well as Missouri and Washington. Born in St. Louis, Missouri, the author now lives in Seattle.