About Ellen Potter


Growing up in a 27-story building in NYC, I loved to watch people in the building’s elevator and make up crazy stories about them. For instance, there was one woman who was a little chubby and always cheerful, so I pretended that she lived in an apartment made entirely of chocolate. I imagined that her walls were made of chocolate and that she had a chocolate refrigerator which only contained chocolate eggs and chocolate milk. And if she got hungry in the middle of the night, she could nibble on her bed.

I remember the exact moment when I knew, without a doubt, that I wanted to be a writer. I was eleven years old and I was in my school library, strolling through the aisles, trying to decide what to read next. Should it be A Wrinkle in Time? Or maybe Harriet the Spy. In a flash, I decided that the best books in the world were written for eleven-year-olds! Sadly, my twelfth birthday was just around the corner. So I reasoned that the only thing to do was to grow up and write books for eleven-year-olds. Which is pretty much what happened (after many years and piles of rejections letters).

These days I live in near Syracuse, NY, with my family.



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"...Ms. Potter revives the story [The Secret Garden] with such grace and sensitivity that readers ages 11-14 will be glad she did." Meghan Cox Gurdon, The Wall Street Journal

"In a resonant novel inspired by The Secret Garden, Potter pays graceful tribute to the spirit of that classic...it’s a thrilling ghost story, but one that, like the story it’s drawn from, has love and rebirth at its heart."  Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Inspired by Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Secret Garden, this noteworthy novel stands wholly on its own…” BOOKLIST, starred review

"I burst into tears when I’d finished reading. Not because it was sad, but because it was over. Like Burnett’s Misselthwaite Manor, Potter’s Cough Rock Island was a place that I didn’t want to leave." Leila Roy, Kirkus Reviews

“An homage to a cherished classic that can work as a companion piece or stand alone as a solid, modern tale for young readers in the 21st century.”Kirkus Reviews

"[The Humming Room] replicates the charm of the original, 100 years after it was published."      The Buffalo News

[The Kneebone Boy] "Hilarious and heartbreaking, wild and down-to-earth..." BOOKLIST

[The Kneebone Boy] “A quirky charmer.”  Kirkus Reviews, starred review

[Spilling Ink] "Cogent and invaluable." Publisher's Weekly

[Spilling Ink] "The best of recent volumes on the subject." Kirkus Reviews

[Olivia Kidney] "At once exuberant and poignant, Potter’s cunningly crafted first novel [is] a memorable debut." Publishers Weekly, starred review

"Olivia Kidney is back again in another zany, surreal, and ultimately satisfying adventure...a complex and inventive climax that will keep readers guessing till the last page." School Library Journal

[Olivia Kidney] "Sparkling writing, madcap characters, and serious themes contribute to a read-aloud that adults will enjoy as much as the children." BOOKLIST