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Maurie J. Manning has struggled, juggled, perseverated, (and veered temporarily off course occasionally) for the past 20 years to become an author/illustrator of children's trade books. Along the way she has written and illustrated many children's magazine stories and puzzles, children's websites, Sunday school papers, computer games, educational software and textbooks.

For the past 6 years she has been freelancing exclusively, leaving behind the ranks of the fully employed and insured and swell jobs like illustrating yellow page ads and instruction manuals on how to break down and clean an M-16 rifle. Finally, in May 2003, after buying countless Hidden Picture puzzles over the years, Boyds Mills Press published her manuscript and illustrations for "The Aunts Go Marching" which won a 2004 IRA Notable Book award and has recently become a Scholastic paperback book club selection.

Maurie lives in California with her son, Robin, who is heading for UC Berkeley and her preteen daughter, Dani. They have two dogs with cool accents – Mel, an Australian Shepherd and Bronte, an Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog.

Having added up the hours she spent poring over anatomy books and drawing as a child, Maurie has a theory that by the time children's book illustrators get their first project they already have more intense training than any brain surgeon. She is hoping that eventually they will be paid comparably.

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