Photo by Chelsea Kocina at Chelsea Morning Photography

Photo by Chelsea Kocina at Chelsea Morning Photography

Here’s a formal-ish bio:

According to geographers, the American West begins at the 100th longitudinal meridian. Thanks to the fact that this meridian is the main street of her hometown in Nebraska, Kirstin Cronn-Mills grew up six blocks east of the West. According to her mother, she learned to read when she was three–and she hasn’t stopped since.

Kirstin is a self-proclaimed word nerd. Her grandmother and her father passed on their love of language to her, and that love became a love affair when she started writing poems in sixth grade. She still writes poems, but now she focuses on young adult novels.

In 1992 Kirstin moved from Nebraska to southern Minnesota, where she lives now. She writes a lot, reads as much as she can, teaches at a two-year college (she won the Minnesota State College Student Association 2009 Instructor of the Year award), and goofs around with her son, Shae, and her husband, Dan. Her first young adult novel, The Sky Always Hears Me and the Hills Don’t Mind (Flux, 2009), was a 2010 finalist for the Minnesota Book Award for Young People’s Literature.  Her second novel, Beautiful Music For Ugly Children (Flux/Llewellyn, 2012), won ALA’s Stonewall Award in 2014 as well as an IPPY (Independent Publishing) silver medal for Gay/Lesbian/Bi/Trans Fiction.  BMUC was also placed on ALA’s 2013 Rainbow List (as a Top Ten Pick) as well as their 2013 Best Fiction for Young Adults list.  Her third novel, Original Fake (G.P. Putnam’s Sons/Penguin Random House 2016), was a Junior Library Guild selection and received a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly. It was also a finalist for a 2017 Minnesota Book Award for Young Adult Literature and a 2017 Best Children’s Books of the Year selection from Bank Street College.

She has also published nonfiction books for middle and high school libraries: Collapse! The Science of Structural Engineering Failures (Compass Point Books, 2009) and Transgender Lives: Complex Stories, Complex Voices (Twenty-First Century Books/Lerner, 2014) and LGBTQ+ Athletes Claim the Field: Striving for Equality (Twenty-First Century Books/Lerner, 2016).  Transgender Lives was placed on the 2015 Best Children’s Books of the Year list from Bank Street College, and LGBTQ+ Athletes  Claim the Field was a Junior Library Guild selection, a 2017 American Library Association Rainbow List selection, a 2017 Best Children’s Books of the Year selection from Bank Street College, and a 2017 Minnesota Book Award finalist for Young Adult Literature.


Some less formal things: Kirstin Cronn-Mills, author photo, blue hair

–I love this picture of me with purple hair and an Elvis sneer.  Love it a lot.  It makes me look like I’m a fun person, which is 75% true.  The other 25% of me is a writhing mass of insecurity.

–I am really good at hyperbole and exaggeration, and I talk like a teenager way more than I should.  ZOMG!

–I don’t eat chocolate.  I used to.  Yes, I miss it. My favorite flavors are peanut butter, strawberry, and lemon.

–Speaking of lemon, I love lemon water, with bubbles or without.

–Football (the American version *and* soccer) is my favorite sport to watch, though in American football, college ball is my favorite (Go Big Red!) because the pros tend to annoy me.  Favorite pro team:  Green Bay, because their fan spirit is the closest to the Huskers. However, I have mixed emotions about supporting football, given all the damage players do to themselves.

–Related to that, I have managed my kid’s soccer (football) team, and I love being a soccer mom.  I love being a mom, period.  My kid is now in college, and I miss the day-to-day of mom life.

–I love to play outside, winter or summer.  I love to play in the snow!

–I am a huge huge huge Harry Potter fan, and have taught a Harry Potter class at my college.  I have a dog named Ginny (my son chose her because of her name, and she’s just as mischievous as Ginny Weasley). I’ve been to Harry Potter world and hope to visit Leavesden Studios in England before the end of the decade.

–If I don’t listen to music for a few days, I get droopy.  : (  Music is like blood or water–I need it in my veins.  What kind of music?  Almost any kind.  My list of favorites would take up this whole page.

–I have been to 9 foreign countries:  Ireland, England, Turkey, Greece, Iceland, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, and Canada. Traveling is AWESOME, and I’m going back to all of them someday.  But my favorite place on earth is the Big Island of Hawaii (I’ve been there 3 times).  You can get to England in less time than it takes to get to the Big Island, and it’s part of America!

–I have four tattoos, two of which you can see on any given day.


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    I loved Beautiful Music For Ugly Children, i’m actually writing a book report on it. I’m in 8th grade and i was wondering if you could contact me with my email so i could improve my report? I really want to get an A on it. By the way i love the fact that you’re married with a son yet did a really good job at writing a transsexual story. It inspired me because i have an aunt who’s gay and i’ve always wondered why she was, and now i understand. Thank you, you’re an amazing author.

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  12. Ari says:

    I came across Beautiful Music for Ugly Children when I was looking for lists of books featuring transgender characters, and I stared at your name for five minutes, not recalling where I have seen it before. Google brought me here, and I just remembered I used Transgender Lives: Complex Stories, Complex Voices as a source for my year-long Senior Research Assignment. Anyway, your writing is contributing wonderfully to the community, and I want to thank for you that!

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