Though she was born in Chicago, IL (May 3, 1950), Sheri (Cooper) Sinykin grew up in Sacramento, CA, as the eldest of four children. Her father was an optometrist; her mother was a music and special education teacher. As a child, her interests included ballet, reading, writing, traveling, and learning to speak foreign languages, especially Spanish. During her senior year of college, she rode on Stanford’s Rose Bowl float and danced during the half-time show as one of five pompon “dollies.” Looking back, she says it’s probably the most “out of character thing” she’s ever done in her life. She also was one of twenty-five students selected nationally for a summer magazine internship experience in New York City, where she worked at COSMOPOLITAN and SALES MANAGEMENT.
She wanted to write children’s books ever since third grade, but her career path took a different course after she graduated from Stanford University with a B.A. in Communications-Journalism in 1972. After having worked as a newspaper reporter, a hospital public relations director, and as the assistant executive director of a convention and visitors bureau, she decided to devote her energies full time to raising sons Aaron, Rudi, and Joshua, and to writing books for children. She became active in the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, serving for six years as Wisconsin regional advisor. In 1995, SCBWI awarded her its Member of the Year Award for service to the organization.
She became active in the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, serving for six years as Wisconsin regional advisor. In 1995, SCBWI awarded her its Member of the Year Award for service to the organization.
After a decade of personal and professional losses, including a significant period of writer's block and her mother's diagnosis of Stage 4B endometrial cancer, she earned her MFA in Writing for Children from Vermont College in 2003, studying with mentors Louise Hawes, Ron Koertge, Carolyn Coman, and Marion Dane Bauer. Her critical thesis was entitled, "Good Grief: Making Death and Bereavement Authentic for Middle Grade Readers." While in the Program, she was challenged to write about what terrifies her and to trust her characters to reveal the plot. GIVING UP THE GHOST (Peachtree, 2007) is her first creative result. ZAYDE COMES TO LIVE (Peachtree, 2012; illustrated by Kristina Swarner) was inspired by her work as a hospice volunteer and a hospice rabbi's comment that Jewish patients in hospice tend to be more fearful and less accepting of death than other patients. Writing ZAYDE for her Jewish child-self who was fearful about her own mother's death , Sinykin's first picture book explores death and the Hereafter from a uniquely Jewish perspective, while demonstrating respect for the world's other main religions.
Thanks to her three sons, her interests grew to include gymnastics, volleyball, and pole vault, which she watched from the edge of her seat in the stands. Her books were often “inspired or suggested by real life, but made more exciting by research and imagination.” She collected 156 rejection letters before her first novel, SHRIMPBOAT AND GYM BAGS--about boys’ gymnastics-- was published by Atheneum in 1990. “In the long run,” she tells readers, “perseverance is much more important than raw talent.”
In addition to her eight books for The Magic Attic Club, she also authored two children’s books about eating disorders COME OUT, COME OUT, WHEREVER YOU ARE! and APART AT THE SEAMS (Hazelden Educational Materials, now OP); and the following books for young readers.
Josh, Rudi, and Aaron (ages 4, 6 & 9)
With sons Aaron, Rudi, and Josh now starting their professional and married lives, Sheri Sinykin lives with her husband, Daniel, and Rico, their Bolognese dog, in central Massachusetts and in Sun Lakes, Arizona. In her spare time, she enjoys hanging out with her children and grandchildren, yoga, water aerobics, reading, going to the theater and art festivals, and collecting perfume bottles and dolls from foreign countries.
More biographical information, including an "Autobiography Feature," with childhood photos, may be found in Something About the Author, Volume 142 (pages 178-194).
© 2000-present Sheri Sinykin