Valerie Tripp

Career

Valerie Tripp was born and raised in Mt. Kisco, NY, where her father's family had lived for many generations. Her mother and father both loved books and taught all five of their children to value good writing and the power of stories.

Ms. Tripp graduated magna cum laude with the first coeducational class at Yale University in 1973. While an undergraduate majoring in philosophy, she helped found Calvin Hill Day Care Center. She volunteered and worked there, served on its board, and wrote her senior thesis about the life stories the children told. From 1974 to 1980, in Boston and then Menlo Park, CA, Ms. Tripp was a writer for the Addison-Wesley Reading Program. She wrote songs, stories, games, poems, plays, and skills exercises for children in grades Pre-K to 6. In 1981, Ms. Tripp received a Masters of Education from Harvard University, where she focused on reading education. Since then, Ms. Tripp has been a freelance writer for major publishers of educational materials such as the Just One More Stories, which are poems for beginning readers, four of which have been translated into Spanish and are used in bilingual reading programs.

Ms. Tripp is the author of 31 American Girl books, including six books about Felicity Merriman, who lived in Williamsburg, VA during colonial times; six books about Josefina Montoya, an Hispanic girl growing up in New Mexico in 1824; three books about Samantha Parkington, an orphan living in 1904; six books about Kit Kittredge, growing up during the Great Depression; and six books about Molly McIntire, who lived on the home front during World War II. Ms. Tripp is also the author of the books about the American Girl's best friends Elizabeth, Nellie, Ruthie, and Emily as well as plays and short stories about her characters.

The founder of American Girl, Pleasant Rowland, says of Ms. Tripp that her gift is "her ability to teach without preaching and to touch the hearts of girls in a way that takes them very seriously as readers and thinkers and people."

In her role as author, Ms. Tripp has spoken at the Library of Congress, the Smithsonian Institution, the New York Historical Society, the Constitution Center in Philadelphia, Colonial Williamsburg, Old Sturbridge Village, and the National Presbyterian Cathedral as well as at countless libraries, small museums, arts and humanities festivals, schools, book fairs, Girl Scout troop and civic group meetings, and fund-raisers for charities all over the United Sates. She is on the board of The Prevention of Blindness Society of the National Metropolitan Area. Inspired by her observation of how academic the curriculum for kindergarten and first grade had become, Ms. Tripp wrote 10 books in the Hopscotch Hill School series, published by American Girl. Ms. Tripp's books have won many awards, but she is most proud of the Children's Choice awards. Ms. Tripp was honored as a March of Dimes Mother of the Year for voluntary work in the local elementary schools and public libraries of Montgomery County, MD. She lives in Silver Spring with her husband who is a professor of American history, their daughter, and their golden retriever, Bingley.