David A. Adler grew up a “dreamer” in a large family in New York City. He was the second of six children, four boys and two girls, and his parents encouraged each of their children to be a unique individual. Adler graduated from Queens College with a B.A. in economics and education and then worked for nine years as a math teacher in the New York City public school system. While teaching, David went on to earn an M.B.A. in marketing from New York University.
It wasn’t until he was working on a Ph.D. in marketing that David had an epiphany that would change his life’s course dramatically. He was inspired to write his first book, A Little At a Time. His focus had now changed from marketing to writing, and in 1977, when he and his wife, Renee, had their first child, David took a child care leave from teaching and stayed home to take care of the baby–and to write. To this day he hasn’t gone back, and David A. Adler is now the award-winning author of more than 160 books for children, which cover an amazingly wide range of styles and topics.
“Recently while attending an Open School Night for my middle son, I was reminded of my dreamy past. My son’s fourth-grade teacher was the same teacher I had as a fifth-grade student many years ago. She looked at me, smiled, and then told the roomful of parents, ‘A long time ago, when I just started teaching, David was in my class. I went to the principal and asked, “What should I do with David Adler? He’s always dreaming.” “Leave him alone,” the principal answered. “Maybe one day he’ll be a writer.”‘
“I love to write. It’s a joy for me to know that children enjoy reading what I write.”
– Courtesy of Holiday House
What David A. Adler’s readers want to know
How long does it take for you to write a book?
- Generally I work on one book while researching another; the process is ongoing but one book may take from three to four months to complete.
Do you need to travel to complete research for your books?
- Yes, I frequently travel to do research. For the Picture Biography of Louis Braille, for instance, I visited the Braille Institute.
How do you decide who or what to write about?
- I have a long list of ideas for books; my editor also has a long list. We compare notes and come to an agreement about which books to work on next.
Do you make school visits?
- Yes, I travel a lot and make many school visits as well as speak at conferences. Recently I returned from Tokyo but I also make school visits nearby.
– Based on a telephone interview with Sharon Zuiderveld, BTSB Librarian on March 3, 1998