Lena Coakley was born near the beach in Milford Connecticut, and she still loves the ocean. Her family tree is crowded with English professors, and the grandmother who raised her founded and directed a cooperative nursery school. How could she help but love children's books?
She studied writing at Sarah Lawrence College in New York and writing for children with Peter Carver in Toronto, Canada. Her first picture book, On the Night of the Comet, was published in 2004, followed closely by Mrs Goodhearth and the Gargoyle in 2005. Her short stories have been widely anthologized, especially the young-adult science fiction story, "Mirror Image." She has twice won second prize in the Sunday Star Short Story Contest.
Lena's first novel, a high fantasy called Witchlanders, was published in fall 2011 by Atheneum (S&S). It soon garnered 4 starred reviews as well as a Manitoba Young Readers' Choice Award nomination, an OLA White Pine nomination, and the SCBWI Crystal Kite Award for her region.
Her second novel, Worlds of Ink and Shadow (Amulet Books, US; HarperCollins, Canada) debuted on the Globe & Mail bestseller list and was on both the CBC and Quill and Quire's list of the best books of the year.
Lena's first middle-grade novel, Wicked Nix, received a starred review from BookList and was a CBC best book of the year. It was nominated for the Silver Birch Express Award, the Rocky Mountain Book Award, and the MYRCA Sundogs Award.