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 Juvenile Books Author of the Month
John Bellairs
John Bellairs
17 January 1938 -- 3 March 1991

John Bellairs was born on January 17, 1938 in Marshall, Michigan to Frank Edward and Virginia (Monk) Bellairs. Bellairs' father owned a saloon in the small town. Bellairs was especially fond of his hometown, which was full of large and eccentric homes, wooded areas, and great play spots. In fact, he based the town New Zabedee from his trilogy about Lewis and Rose Rita on Marshall, Michigan.

Bellairs' mother was always concerned about the family's finances. They were not exactly stable due, in a large part, to the family business. Even as a young boy, Bellairs recognized his mother's monetary concerns. These concerns influenced his early writing. Early in his career, he created a number of adolescent characters who get into trouble when trying to make their families financially secure.

Upon graduating from high school, Bellairs attended the University of Notre Dame, from which he received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in 1958. In 1960, he received a Master's Degree from the University of Chicago.

In 1963, Bellairs took a position as an instructor in English at the College of Saint Teresa in Winona, Minnesota. He worked there until 1965. The following year he became a member of the humanities faculty at Shimmer College in Mount Carroll, Illinois. In 1968, He became an instructor of English at Emmanuel College in Boston, Massachusetts. The next school year he taught at Merrimack College in North Andover, Massachusetts as a member of the English faculty. He held that position until 1971.

On June 24, 1968, Bellairs married a woman named Priscilla Braids. They had a son named Frank.

In the Fifth Book of Junior Authors and Illustrators, Bellairs explained that his works" are a combination of the everyday and the fantastic, like the books of my favorite author, Charles Dickens. The common ordinary stuff -- the bullies, the scaredy-cat Lewis, the grown-ups, the everyday incidents -- all come from my own experience ... Writing seems to be (for me) a way of memorializing and transforming my own past. I write about things I wish had happened to me when I was a kid." [3]

Bellairs enjoyed archeology, history, reading Charles Dickens, wine-tasting, cheese, Latin, and trivia of all kinds.

Bellairs died unexpectedly of cardiovascular disease on March 8, 1991 in Haverhill, Massachusetts. His son Frank asked another author named Brad Strickland to complete more novels based on his father's partially finished novels and plot outlines.

Information for this biography was taken from:
1) The Compleat Bellairs; http://www.compleatbellairs.com.
2) Anne Commire (ed.). Something About the Author, #2; Gale Research Company: Detroit, Mich., 1971.
3) Sally Holmes Holtze (ed.). Fifth Book of Junior Authors and Illustrators. H.W. Wilson Company: New York, 1983.

J-BEL The Chessmen of Doom (1989) -- Johnny Dixon, Fergie, and Professor Childermass comply with a strange will left by the Professor's brother , which requires them to spend the summer at a desolate estate where they encounter a madman bent on destroying the world.

J-BEL/J-P-BEL The Curse of the Blue Figurine (1983) -- Johnny Dixon is plunged into a terrifying mystery/adventure when he removes a blue figurine called a shawabti from church.

J-BEL The Figure in the Shadows (1975) -- A painfully overweight sixth-grade boy receives a magic amulet which brings him luck, but also terrifying side effects.

J-Bellairs The Ghost in the Mirror (1993) -- Rosa Rita Pottinger and Mrs. Zimmermann are transported back to 1828 to save the Weiss family from being destroyed by a wicked wizard.

J-Bellairs/J-P-BEL The House With a Clock in Its Walls (1973) -- A boy goes to live with his magician uncle in a mansion that has a clock hidden in its walls which is ticking off the minutes to doomsday.

J-Bellairs The Letter, the Witch, and the Ring (1976) -- A young girl takes a trip with a friend only to get involved with a mysterious letter, a magic ring, and a powerful witch.

J-Bellairs The Mansion in the Mist (1992) -- While spending the summer in an old house on a desolate Canadian island, Anthony Monday and Miss Eells discover a chest that can transport them to another world and a maniacle group who are plotting the destruction of people on Earth.

J-BEL The Mummy, the Will, and the Gift (1983) -- Twelve-year-old Johnny Dixon and his friend Professor Childermass look for the hidden will left by an eccentric cereal tycoon who wished to make life difficult for his heirs after his own death by suicide.

J-Bellairs The Secret of the Underground Room (1990) -- When Father Higgins disappears, Johnny Dixon and Professor Childremass discover disturbing clues which lead them to England and an encounter with a long-dead knight.

J-BEL The Treasure of Alpheus Winterborn (1978) -- After stumbling upon a clue in the public library, Anthony searches for the treasure long-rumored to have been hidden by a wealthy, eccentric citizen of his town.

The Compleat Bellairs (http://www.compleatbellairs.com) -This site has a great deal of information about this popular children's author and his many works.

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