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Phyllis Reynolds Naylor


Author Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, a Newbery Medal winner and the author of more than 135 books for children and youth, was born January 4, 1933, in Anderson, Indiana. She graduated from American University in 1963 and now lives in Bethesda, Maryland.

Her ties to West Virginia began May 26, 1960, when she married Rex V. Naylor and visited Grafton, Buckhannon, and Preston County, places where he and his family had lived. Then in 1987, when awarded a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, she spent the funds traveling throughout West Virginia, talking to people, reading Goldenseal magazine, and taking notes.

Naylor found a setting for her most successful books in the small towns and among the people of the Mountain State. Shiloh (Newbery Medal, 1992, West Virginia Children’s Book Award, 1994, and film adaptation, 1997), Shiloh Season, and Saving Shiloh, are all set in and near the Tyler County town of Friendly; the beagle Shiloh is named for a nearby community. Send No Blessings is set in Hinton; Josie’s Troubles is set in Webster Springs; Boys Start the War (West Virginia Children’s Book Award, 1996) is the first in a 12-part boys versus girls series set in a fictional Buckhannon; and Wrestle the Mountain is based on the Farmington coal mine disaster.

The University of Charleston awarded Phyllis Reynolds Naylor the Appalachian Medallion in 1997.

Written by Sharon Diaz


  1. Authors & Artists for Young Adults 29. Detroit: Gale Research, 1990.

  2. Naylor, Phyllis. How I Came to be a Writer. New York: Antheneum, 1978.

  3. Stover, Lois T. Presenting Phyllis Reynolds Naylor. New York: Twayne Pub., 1997.

  4. Naylor, Phyllis. Telephone interview by author. 8/13/1998.