About Me
Deborah HeiligmanA good way to find out A LOT about me, probably more than you need to know, is to go to this article in the Brown Alumni Monthly. It’s kind of an encyclopedia of Deborah. I really love this article!

Personal (seems to be mostly about dogs)

Young Deborah Heiligman with dog

My first dog, Missy,
and me

I was born and raised in Allentown, PA, the only child of my parents’ marriage. I had a big sister and a brother from my mother’s first marriage. That means they are my half-siblings, but I never think of them as anything but my whole siblings. I became an aunt when I was five-years-old, so my five nieces were like my little sisters. (And are now my friends!)

My father was a wonderful doctor who made house calls and didn’t make a lot of money. Everyone loved him. My mother worked a little here and there, but mostly was my (great) mom. Everyone loved her, too. I found out after she died that she wanted to be a writer! I wish she had followed her dream.

Deborah's husband Jon and dog Ketzie

Jon and Ketzie

I always loved to read and write. I loved school. I really did. I was good in all my subjects until high school when I started thinking I wasn’t good at math or science. Looking back, I realize I was better at both than I thought!

I went to Brown University, and graduated in 1980 with a degree in religious studies. Two weeks after graduation I met the man who became my husband, Jonathan Weiner. He is a writer and a professor. And the best friend, father, husband, and quarantine partner in the world.

Aaron (left) and Benjamin

Aaron (left) and Benjamin

We have two sons, Aaron  and Benjamin. They are the best sons in the world and two of my favorite people in the universe. Aaron is a software engineer and a writer, and he’s married to Sarah, who is a software engineer, too. They have a rescue dog named Louie and live just outside New York City. Benjamin is a teacher and playwright and songwriter and he lives in Brooklyn with his partner Katie, who is who is working hard to save our planet from global warming.

While the boys were growing up we lived in Bucks County, PA,  with our dog Tinka and three cats–Pandora, Chaos, and Peanut Butter.

Since 2005 we have lived in New York City. We love it here. We have no cats, but we have a dog named Zuzu, who came to live with us in December, 2019 as a 16-week-old rescue puppy. This photograph is of the day we met her in her foster home and took her to her forever home with us!
Deborah, Jon and Zuzu

I love having a dog! I start my day by going to the park near my house with Zuzu, just like I did with dear Ketzie. Sometimes I come back with a souvenir. (A large black lab/great dane mix left this pawprint on me.)
I write books for kids and teens. Many adults read my books, too. I got my start in writing at Moment Magazine in Boston. But I learned how to write for children at Scholastic News in New York.

I’ve published 32 books so far. I have a new one coming out September 7, 2021: She Persisted: Clara Lemlich. And I’m working on AT LEAST three more: a picture book about the geneticist Barbara McClintock; a YA biography about Emma Goldman; and another book that is about the Holocaust. (Too soon to write about it.)
PW announcement

One of my life goals is to be a badass. Thanks to my beloved first-born, I’m part way there. Aaron made this image & then used it for my birthday card! My fabulous badass daughter-in-law Sarah had the concept!
Emma and Deborah

Miscellaneous facts about me
*I love my family. I adore my friends. Nothing makes me happier than being with people I love.

*Taking a long walk with my husband or a close friend is at the top of my list of favorite things to do.

*Most days I love being a writer.

*I love to cook and I love to eat.

*I’m a vegetarian, mostly vegan. If you want to know why, please ask me!

*I eat a small piece of chocolate most nights after dinner. The darker the better. I call it a Nateleh, after my father, who did the same thing (only with a Kit Kat, usually). His name was Nathan or Nate.

*I scream pretty much at the drop of a hat.

*I wish I could have twice as many hours in the day so I could read for eight hours a day and laugh for eight hours every day.

*I am an inveterate people-watcher. Living in NYC is a dream come true for that reason alone.

For more random facts about me, and answers to questions about writing and publishing, please go to our FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) page.