Michael O. Tunnell: Mormon Author

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Michael O. Tunnell Mormon Author

Michael O. Tunnell is an award-winning American children’s book author and educator. He is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Tunnell was born in 1950 and grew up in Alberta, Canada. He learned to love books when his grandmother read to him daily. While studying law at the University of Utah, he worked at an auto dealership in Salt Lake City. When he delivered a car to a customer at a nearby elementary school, a walk through the school reminded him of his childhood desire to work with books. The next day he changed his major to education. He earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Utah, his master’s from Utah State University, and his doctor of education degree from Brigham Young University.

During his early 20s, his first novel was rejected numerous times. He set aside writing until 1993, when his book Chinook! was accepted and published. Since then he has published several picture books, including The Joke’s on George, Mailing May, Beauty and the Beastly Children, and Halloween Pie. His novel titles include School Spirits, Brothers in Valor, Wishing Moon, Moon without Magic, Wishes on the Moon, and Candy Bomber. He also cowrote The Children of Topaz: The Story of a Japanese American Internment Camp Based on a Classroom Diary. His books have won several awards, including Award for Children’s Literature presented by the Association for Mormon Letters, Parent’s Choice Award, Notable Children’s Trade Books, ALA Notables, Junior Library Guild Selection, Orbis Pictus Honor Book Award, and Utah Book Award.

Tunnell is a professor of teacher education at Brigham Young University. He has published professionally on education and children’s literature, with special emphasis on the work of Lloyd Alexander. He has been a member of the award committee for the Newbery Award (1990 and 2009). He has been a panelist, lecturer, and speaker throughout the United States. He has coauthored several children’s literature databases.

Tunnell lives in Utah with his wife, Glenna, and their four children.