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Born on January 9, 1914, Clyde Robert Bulla said,”I learned to read and write in a one room country school [in Missouri]. As soon as I discovered words and what they meant and what they could be made to mean, my path was set. I was going to be a writer.”

With such childhood insight it is no wonder that the author of over 100 books including Riding the Pony Express (1948), The Chalk Box Kid (ALA Notable Children’s Book, 1987) and Paint Brush Kid (1999) became a literary success. Even more impressive is that his family didn’t encourage his dream of becoming a writer, and he had countless rejections to his credit before he sold his first magazine piece at the age of 20.

The publication of his first book is a different story. He was working for his local paper, never dreaming of writing for children, when a member of his writing group, friend, author and educator Emma Celeste Thibodeux, sent a favorite column by Bulla to her editor.The Donkey Cart (1946) was the final result of her belief in his potential. Not confined to one genre, Bulla wrote nonfiction, music for children’s plays, and had a special affinity with middle grade readers.

Clyde Robert Bulla passed away on May 23, 2007, at the age of 93.


Read more about Mr. Bulla in his autobiography, A Grain of Wheat: A Writer Begins, published in 1985.

You will find manuscripts and drafts for Dexter and The Moon Singer at the University of Oregon.

A student-created video of A Tree is a Plant is available at

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