Valerie Tripp graduated with honors from the first coeducational class at Yale University in 1973. While an undergraduate, she helped found Calvin Hill Day Care Center. She worked there and wrote her senior thesis about the stories the three-, four-, and five-year old children told about themselves. Tripp received a Masters of Education from Harvard University in 1981. From 1974 to 1980, Tripp was a writer for the Addison-Wesley Reading Program, where she wrote songs, stories, games, poems, plays, and skills exercises for children in grades Pre-K to 6. Her boss was a woman named Pleasant Rowland and, from the beginning, the two of them just clicked. Rowland and Tripp eventually went their separate ways in the world, but remained close friends. Tripp became a freelance writer for The Hampton-Brown Company and ELHI Publishers Services creating educational materials for major publishers, including six Just One More poems for beginning readers. Then, in 1983, Rowland telephoned Tripp and together they decided to write a series of books about girls growing up all over the country during some of the most historical events of the past. Rowland envisioned the books as one of the cornerstones of a new company she had just founded in Middleton, Wisconsin called the Pleasant Co. Tripp's first assignment for Pleasant Co. was writing four of the six books about Samantha, a girl in turn-of-the-century America. Tripp then wrote about Felicity, who lived at the time of the American Revolution; Molly, whose life is set during World War II, and Josephina, a girl who lived in 16th-century New Mexico. Sold only by catalog, the Pleasant Co. books and dolls quickly generated major sales. Tripp helps develop the character for each girl in conjunction with Pleasant Co. officials, who then give her the green light to start writing the books. As Tripp writes, company employees begin transforming her character into a doll, doll clothes and other accessories. Each of the seven historical dolls has its own series of six books designed to give a glimpse into a certain period of history. The books have been national best-sellers since they were introduced in 1986. Overall, the "American Girls" series has sold more than 50 million copies. Tripp has also written the Hopscotch Hill School series in addition to the American Girls Series. She was honored as a March of Dimes Mother of the Year for her volunteer work in the local elementary schools and public libraries of Montgomery County, Maryland.
Sue Buchanan is the coauthor of the best-selling I Love You This Much. She is also the author of I'm Alive and the Doctor's Dead, Girls Just Gotta Have Fun, Duh-Votions, and Mud Pie Annie, and coauthor of Friends Through Thick and Thin. Sue lives in Nashville, TN.