About Ilene Cooper

Ilene Cooper is the author of more than 30 books for young people. She writes both fiction and non fiction in a variety of genres—picture books, easy readers, biography, and history. Her readers range from preschoolers to high schoolers.

In 2007, the Illinois Reading Council named Ilene Cooper the Prairie State Award winner for Excellence in Writing for Children. This award recognizes an Illinois children's or young adult author whose body of work demonstrates excellence, engenders a love of literature, and embraces the IRC’s mission to promote lifelong literacy.

Ilene Cooper“I write to open windows, so young readers can look at the world outside—and inside themselves.” 


Ilene was born in Chicago and grew up in the city's Rogers Park neighborhood. After graduating Sullivan High School, she attended the University of Missouri Journalism School where she majored in Radio and Television. She worked as an editorial researcher at Chicago's WGN TV station for several years, but her love of books brought her to Rosary College (now Dominican University), where she earned a master's degree in library science. As a youth librarian, Ilene worked at several branches of the Chicago Public Library and at the Winnetka Public Library District before joining Booklist, the review journal of the American Library Association where she is currently the Children's Books Editor. She's a popular speaker at schools and libraries and has written for the New York Times as well as for television.

In her spare time, Ilene enjoys knitting, traveling—especially to Italy and England—and trying to get her cat, Bing, to do something other than stretch out on the radiator.