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Lea Wait Expert in American History Back I Home
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Lea Wait Profile

American history has fascinated Lea Wait since she was a child. She grew up in Maine, in a home built in 1774, hearing family stories, and helping her grandmother run an antique doll and toy business.  Lea now shares stories of America’s past with today’s children through the historical novels she writes and the classroom visits she makes.   

Lea Wait has a B.A. in drama and English from Chatham College in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and an M.A. and doctorate in American Civilization from New York University. While she was raising the four Asian daughters she adopted as a single parent when they were ages 4 through 10 she worked as a corporate manager in public relations and strategic planning, and for several years managed the AT&T archives, in addition to running an antique print business.  Ten years ago, her children grown, she left corporate life to concentrate on writing fiction. 

Since then she has had eight books published, four historical novels for children and four contemporary mysteries for adults in which an antique print dealer uses 19th century prints to help solve 21st century crimes. More books are on the way.

Lea is an experienced workshop leader and speaker. She has run writing workshops for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, the Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance, and for schools from primary to university levels. She is a frequent panelist at national mystery conferences, and has spoken at state library conferences, colleges and universities, and at many libraries, schools, and civic organizations. 

One topic she often covers is how historical novels can help us understand how people lived and thought in the past – and why that understanding is important today.


  • Cornerstone Award for Achievement in Literature, Chatham University, 2008
  • Agatha Award Nomination, Best First Mystery, 2002
  • Children’s books on Student Choice Award lists in 14 states
  •  Three books on Bank Street College “Best of Year” lists
  • One book – International Reading Association Teachers Choice List
  • One book – Smithsonian Magazine “notable children’s book”

Lea Wait’s Books for Children:


Lea Wait’s Books for Adults:

  • Shadows at the Fair
  • Shadows on the Coast of Maine
  • Shadows on the Ivy
  • Shadows at the Spring Show

For more information about Lea Wait’s books, her author visits, and for teacher guides for her books for children, see her website, wwww.leawait.com

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