“I sometimes think I’ve spent my entire life trying to recreate one particular afternoon of my tenth year,” says Annie Barrows. “That was the day I lay on the couch reading a wonderful book called Time at the Top until I lost all sense of my real life and joined the life of the book instead. It was glorious, like walking into a dream. I want every kid to have that experience, but most of all, being horribly selfish, I want to have it again, too. And finally, I’ve discovered a way: I write books.”
Annie grew up in Northern California, and graduated from the University of California at Berkeley, with a degree in Medieval History. Unable to find a job in the middle ages, she decided upon a career as an editor, eventually landing at Chronicle Books in San Francisco, where she was in charge of “all the books that nobody in their right mind would publish.” After earning an M.F.A. in Creative Writing at Mills College, Annie wrote a number of books for grown-ups about such diverse subjects as fortune-telling (she can read palms!), urban legends (there are no alligators in the sewer!), and opera (she knows what they’re singing about!). In 2003, Annie grew weary of grown-ups, and began to write for kids, which she found to be way more fun. Her first children’s book, Ivy + Bean, an ALA Notable Book for 2007, was soon followed by other books in the series, including Ivy + Bean and the Ghost That Had to Go and Ivy and Bean Break the Fossil Record.
In between writing books about Ivy and Bean, Annie began to write The Magic Half. “I wrote the kind of book I loved as a kid—what I call regular magic, which means that it takes place in the same world we all live in, except that a magical event occurs. The Magic Half is a catalog of my favorite daydreams: a tiny door in an enchanted house, time travel, and twins.”