Carol Otis Hurst's Bio


Photo of Carol

Carol Otis Hurst 1933 - 2007 Westfield, Massachusetts - Carol Otis Hurst died at home January 22nd at age 73. Carol was a life long resident of Westfield and taught many years there and in West Springfield. For the past 30 years she worked as a storyteller and educational consultant. She wrote many books for both teachers and children. Her recent success as a childrens' author brought her great joy and satisfaction. Carol is survived by her two daughters, Jill Hurst and Rebecca Otis along with her two grandsons, Jesse and Keith Otis. Other family members include, Vail and Karen Otis, Betty and Bill Murphy, and Baylah Tessier-Sherman. In lieu of flowers the family requests that donations in Carols memory be made to Westfield Athenaeum 6 Elm Street Westfield, MA 01085.

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Our Plans

I want to thank everyone who has been so kind to me and our family during this painful time. The love has been overwhelming. It is a comfort to all of us to hear from those of you who share the immense love and admiration for my remarkable Mom. Thank you for your support all along in this mother/daughter website. It was her wish that this website continue. I am honored to try my best to carry this forward.
-- Rebecca


Carol Otis Hurst was a nationally-known storyteller, lecturer, author and language arts consultant. Born in Springfield, Massachusetts, Carol taught for many years, beginning her teaching career in Columbus, Ohio, and going on to Minneapolis before returning to her native New England. Her classroom experience included all the grades from pre-school through grade three.

Her interest in children's books led her to school library work and it was during her years as librarian at Juniper Park School in Westfield, Massachusetts that storytelling, which had always been part of her life, took an even larger role. As her reputation as a storyteller became more widely known, she began her long-time association with Teaching K-8 Magazine, conducting teacher workshops in children's literature, language arts and storytelling around the country for the magazine and writing two monthly columns for that magazine since 1973.

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For the rest of her life she wrote many articles and taught at colleges and universities around the country on the subject of literature, whole language and storytelling. She worked with audiences in all fifty states as well as several other countries.

Carol was one of three authors of the Early Childhood Program published by SRA in October, 1994. She wrote many major books for teachers: Once Upon a Time, an Encyclopedia for Using Literature with Young Children (available from SRA). Long Ago and Far Away, an Encyclopedia for Using Literature with Children in Grades Three and Up (SRA/McGraw), In Times Past: Teaching U.S. History through Literature (SRA/McGraw). Two volumes of her series: Carol Otis Hurst's Picture Book Guide are now available. Volume one is for PreK and Kindergarten Teachers and Volume two, for first and second grades. (SRA/McGraw Hill). Picturing Math: Using Picture Books in the Math Program (SRA, McGraw Hill). Curriculum Connections: Picture Books in Grades 3 and Up (Linworth Publishing), Using Literature in the Middle School Curriculum (available soon from Linworth Publishing), Open Books: Literature in the Curriculum: Kindergarten through Grade 2 (soon to be published by Linworth)

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In her sixties Carol began writing books for children. Her titles include:

Through the Lock
Rocks in His Head a Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor Book
The Wrong One
In Plain Sight
A Killing in Plymouth
You Come to Yokum
Terrible Storm

Carol Otis Hurst died at home on January 22nd at the age of 73.

Read what Carol's autobiographical essay on becoming an author.