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Shelley Tanaka (born June 28, 1950 in Toronto, Ontario) is Canadian editor of numerous young adult novels, an award-winning author of non-fiction for children, a translator, and a writing teacher. She is a contributor to Hoping for Home.


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Shelley Tanaka was born in Toronto, Ontario. She studied at Queen's University, where she received an Honours bachelor's degree in English and German, and at the University of Toronto, where she obtained a master's degree in Comparative Literature.

Tanaka began her editing career at Clarke Irwin. She has been the fiction editor at Groundwood Books, a Canadian children's book publisher, since 1983 and has edited books by many Canadian writers, including Tim Wynne-Jones, Deborah Ellis, Martha Brooks, Sarah Ellis, and Alan Cumyn. She is the editor of thirteen Governor General's Award winning books.

Shelley Tanaka writes nonfiction for children, including books in the I Was There series and A Day That Changed America series. She has won numerous awards for her writing, among them the Orbis Pictus Award in 2009. Her books have been translated into several languages: German, Danish, Spanish, French, Japanese, Portuguese and Thai. Additionally, she has translated many children's picture books and novels from German and French into English.

Tanaka teaches in the MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults program at Vermont College of Fine Arts. She currently resides in Ontario, Canada.


Dear Canada[]

Selected works[]

  • Michi's New Year (1980)
  • Mr. Dressup's Things to Make and Do (1982, 1991, written with Ernie Coombs)
  • The Heat Is On: Facing Our Energy Problem (1991)
  • The Disaster of the Hindenburg (1993)
  • The Illustrated Father Goose (1995)
  • Discovering the Iceman (1996)
  • On Board the Titanic: What It Was Like When the Great Liner Sank (1996)
  • One More Border: The True Story of One Family’s Escape from War-Torn Europe (1998, co-written with William Kaplan)
  • Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery (1998, adapted for young readers)
  • In the Time of Knights (2000)
  • Footnotes: Dancing the World's Best-Loved Ballets (2001, co-written with Frank Augustyn)
  • Earthquake! (2004)
  • Climate Change (2006)
  • Amelia Earhart: The Legend of the Lost Aviator (2008)
  • Nobody Knows (2012, novelization of the Japanese film by Hirokazu Kore-eda)

External links[]