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Author Betsy Byars, Newbery Medal winner and author of more than 50 books for children and youth, was born August 7, 1928, in Charlotte, North Carolina. She graduated from Queens College in Charlotte, 1950, and moved to South Carolina. Much of her most productive work, though, was done in West Virginia.

Byars’s first book, Clementine (1962), and 15 others were written while she lived in Morgantown, from 1960 to 1980. Her husband, Edward Byars, was chairman of the mechanical engineering department at West Virginia University. Byars received numerous distinguished awards for books set in West Virginia, including the Newbery Medal, 1971, for The Summer of the Swans; the New York Times Outstanding Book of the Year, 1979, for Goodbye, Chicken Little; and the American Library Association Notable Book award for After the Goatman, 1974. The House of Wings, for which she received the 1974 ALA Notable Book award, is set in Ohio.

Betsy Byars died in Seneca, South Carolina, on February 26, 2020, at age 91.

This Article was written by Sharon Diaz

Last Revised on October 18, 2023

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Byars, Betsy. The Moon and I. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Simon & Schuster, 1991.

Commire, Anne, ed. Something About the Author vol. 46. Detroit: Gale Research, 1986.

Hile, Kevin, ed. Something About the Author vol. 80. Detroit: Gale Research, 1995.

McMahon, Thomas, ed. Authors & Artists for Young Adults vol. 19. Detroit: Gale Research, 1996.

Cite This Article

Diaz, Sharon "Betsy Byars." e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia. 18 October 2023. Web. 12 July 2024.


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