my story

If you need an official (short and boring) author bio, visit my press kit page. If you want the long, windy version, keep reading!

my_first_birthdayI grew up in Wisconsin, on a dead-end street across from a cornfield. My mother painted geese and cattails on our garage. My favorite food was mashed potatoes and my least favorite food was liver and onions (and yes, my mother made me eat that).

Preschool wasn’t such a big thing back when I grew up, so my first day of school was kindergarten (a half day). I still remember how I felt getting on the big yellow school bus with my older brother and some neighbor kids. I loved school. And since most of my elementary school classes had only denmark_state_bank_book10-12 students, I got a lot of attention from my teachers. Miss Harrison, my second grade teacher, encouraged me to write my first books. I still have one.

I loved my small, edge-of-town rural school, but it didn’t have a lot of money. My school never invited authors to visit. I guess it made me think that most writers might be…dead? Since being an author didn’t seem possible, I set my sights on becoming a scuba-diving president of the United States. (Nevermind that I’d never seen the ocean or heard of a woman running for President.)


One of my early drawings.

In middle school, where I was the new kid, we were asked to sell magazine subscriptions as a fundraiser. I bought a subscription to National Geographic, and I read each issue as soon as it arrived. (I still read it as often as I can today.)

I dropped the Presidential goal, but found out how much I loved to draw cartoons, play softball and volleyball, and read books and poetry. I also learned how awful a bully could make me feel, but that’s a story for another day.

In high school, I discovered how adventurous I was. At age 15, I spent two weeks navigating the Boundary Waters of northern Minnesota with five strangers. We portaged everything we had, including our canoes, on our shoulders.  At age 16, I became the first person in my family to get a passport, and I traveled to Spain. (Since then, I’ve been to a dozen countries!) I also worked on weekends and one summer as a volunteer assistant zookeeper. My job mostly involved scooping up animal droppings, but I occasionally got to feed lions, take care of young otters, or watch eggs hatch. It was amazing.31_lucille-clifton

Naturally, I set off for college to become a marine biologist. There, I took some writing courses with well-known poets and award-winning children’s author, Lucille Clifton. I discovered that many authors were very much alive, and thriving! I changed my mind, once again. This time I was determined to become a writer and a teacher. That way, I could encourage other kids in the same way Miss Harrison encouraged me.

Over the years, I’ve written and edited for newspapers, magazines, and app and game companies. If I had to guess, I’d say I’ve written or edited more than 200 stories, articles, books, or poems. Including part-time positions and summer camp courses, I’ve also worked with students in every grade from 3-year-old kindergarten through 12th!

IMG_1537Today, my dream is to continue inspiring children and teens through writing books and visiting schools. I hope my personal story encourages them to try new things, and reassures them that it’s OK to change their minds as they grow and learn more about themselves. All of my books reflect my passion and enthusiasm for building empathy, expanding horizons, celebrating nature, and imagining possibility. Thank you for sharing theseschool_visit_dancing books with the young ones in your lives.


Click here to read my official author bio in the Press Kit.

11 Fun Facts About Miranda

  1. I have super-large tonsils, and got Strep throat so often as a child that the doctor told me I’d have to get them removed if I contracted Strep once more. I never got it again after that!
  2. My favorite color is blue.
  3. If you search YouTube, you’ll find a video of me reading a poem while sitting in a live crocodile pit.
  4. I have a cat named Dog.
  5. I once owned a pair of skinks as pets. (Yes, skinks, not skunks.)
  6. My husband and I love fixing or repurposing items other people don’t want. We’ve gotten a free 50” TV and once made over $1,000 selling stuff people threw out.
  7. My favorite ice cream flavor is mint chocolate chip.
  8. When I lived in the Gambia, I learned to speak some Mandinka and Wolof. My husband and his family speak Creole (patois). My kids go to a school where they take Spanish every day. Our family also takes in exchange students. Our house is full of languages!
  9. My penmanship can be very neat, but my office can be very messy…
  10. If I’m wearing socks, they probably have holes.
  11. My studio/office is called my secret Underground Lair, and it really is underground (in a walled-off corner of my basement). Mwah, ha, ha, ha!

As it turns, out, we’ve only hit the tip of the iceberg. In the very likely case that you haven’t learned enough details about me…here are some links!

Studio Tour of my Underground Lair

See photos of where I work most days (in my pajamas!)

Coffee and Conversation with Miranda Paul – SCBWI MD/DE/WV Blog

Read an interview in which I reveal my favorite books and more

Happy Birthday, Author – Featuring Miranda Paul (2012)

Celebrate and reminisce with me

12 x 12 Picture Book Group Author of the Month (June 2014)

A post in which I speak about the importance of being many things beyond a writer, and how to help diversify our bookshelves

My Amazon Author Page

One place where you can buy my books

My SCBWI Profile Page

More about an organization I volunteer for, and where you can learn more about topics I like to speak to kids and adults about

My Goodreads Author Page

Add my books to your to-read shelf or review the ones you’ve already read