Shirley Parenteau grew up along the Northern Oregon Coast fascinated by feature articles her mother wrote for Portland newspapers. Shirley wrote for outdoor magazines and for ten years wrote a humorous column for the Elk Grove Citizen. Her first eight children’s books were followed by novels for Ballantine Books and Harlequin Historical. For the past ten years, Candlewick Press has published her children’s books, beginning with a counting book, One Frog Sang. An ongoing picture book series began with Bears on Chairs (since published in translation in several countries). In July 2018, Bears on Chairs will be published in a duo-language version in English and Spanish. A seventh picture book, Bears and Blossoms came out in March 2018. Two more bear titles are underway.
Photos of a girl in a kimono visiting her Japanese grandparents prompted research into Hinamatsuri, a Japanese Girls’ Day celebration. This led to a series of middle-grade novels for Candlewick beginning with Ship of Dolls, based on a little-known 1926 exchange of dolls between American and Japanese children. In November 2017, Shirley traveled alone to Japan to visit her Japanese publisher and staff, a highlight of her writing career.