Sally Gardner

Photo of Sally Gardner
Sally Gardner was born in Birmingham, England (near the Cadbury's chocolate factory!) and grew up with her younger brother in central London, where both her parents worked as lawyers. Due to severe dyslexia, she was badly bullied as a child and moved from school to school without being properly diagnosed or treated.

Eventually, Sally taught herself to read at the age of fourteen, and the world of her imagination also became something she could put on paper. She went on to obtain five O-levels and graduated from Central St. Martin's Art School with a First Class Honours degree. Sally worked for 15 years working for the Newcastle University Theatre, first as a set designer and then in costumes, as her dyslexia tended to be a problem when drawing up technical plans for the sets.

Sally then went on to become an award-winning author and illustrator of more than 28 books, including picture books, novels for middle-school readers, and historical fiction for young adults. Her books have been translated into 22 languages and she's sold over 1.5 million copies in

Author's Comment: I was badly bullied at school because I was different from other children. I had trouble tying my shoes, and coordinating my clothes, and I had no idea what C-A-T spelled once the teacher took away the picture. My brain was said to be a sieve rather than a sponge - I was the child who lost the information rather than retained it.

I stayed in kindergarten until I was really too old to be there and finally was asked to leave the school. This became a pattern that repeated itself throughout my learning years.

At eleven I was told I was word-blind. This was before anyone mentioned the un-sayable, un-teachable, un-spellable word dyslexia, which, hey-ho, even to this day I can't spell!

I eventually ended up in a school for maladjusted children because there was no other school that would take me. I suppose this was the equivalent of what now would be a school for kids with ASBOs. I had been classified as "unteachable" but at the age of fourteen, when everyone had given up hope, I learned to read. The first book I read was "Wuthering Heights" and after that no one could stop me.

Nationality: British