Graham Salisbury comes from a 100-year line of newspapermen, all associated with Hawaii’s morning paper, the Honolulu Advertiser (now the Honolulu Star Advertiser). Although a career as a newsman could have been possible, Salisbury chose to imagine rather than report. “I enjoy writing about characters who might have been. To me, exploring fictional themes, situations, and lives is a quietly exhilarating experience. There are times when completely unexpected happenings take place as my fingertips explore the keyboard, things that make me laugh, or get choked up over, or even amaze me.”
Salisbury’s drive to write about the emotional journey that kids must take to become adults in a challenging and complicated world is evident throughout his work. Says the author: “I’ve thought a lot about what my responsibility is, or should be as an author of books for young readers. I don’t write to teach, preach, or criticize, but to explore. And if my readers vicariously experience story characters making choices, living with the consequences of those choices, and learning from them … then perhaps I will have done something worthwhile.”
His books — Blue Skin of the Sea, Under the Blood-Red Sun, House of the Red Fish, Eyes of the Emperor, Shark Bait, Jungle Dogs, Lord of the Deep, Island Boyz, Night of the Howling Dogs, and his very popular Calvin Coconut series — have been celebrated widely with praise and distinguished awards. Graham Salisbury, winner of the PEN/Norma Klein Award, grew up on the islands of Oahu and Hawaii. Later, he graduated from California State University, Northridge, and received an MFA degree from Vermont College of Fine Arts. In fact, he was a member of the founding faculty of VCFA’s highly successful MFA program in Writing for Children.
Other important things to know about this author: He worked as the skipper of a glass-bottom boat, as a deckhand on a deep-sea charter fishing boat, and as an Montessori elementary school teacher. His rock-and-roll band, The Millennium, had a number one hit in the Philippines, which he composed. He once surfed with a shark, got stung by a Portuguese man-of-war (several times!), and swam for his life from a moray eel. Believe it or not, he didn’t wear shoes until the sixth grade and didn’t see snow until he was nineteen. Graham Salisbury now lives with his family in Portland, Oregon.