Photo of Elana Arnold

Elana Arnold

Graduate Adjunct - CLA

Elana K. Arnold is the author of critically acclaimed and award-winning books for and about children and teens, including the National Book Award finalist What Girls Are Made Of, Printz Honor winner Damsel, and Global Read Aloud selection A Boy Called Bat and its sequels. Arnold's YA novel, The Blood Years, won the 2024 Sydney Taylor Book Award and the National Jewish Book Award.

Many of her books are Junior Library Guild selections and have frequently appeared on “Best of" book lists, including Rise: A Feminist Book Project, Kirkus Best Books of the Year, and others. Her work has been called “devastatingly vital” and “comfortably familiar and quietly groundbreaking". Elana lives in Southern California with her family and menagerie of pets.

Q&A with Elana K. Arnold

How did you come to teach at Hamline MFAC?
I’d long wanted to teach in a low-residency program; every time I sold another book, I wrote to Hamline and others to update my CV and remind them of my interest. Finally, a call came through from Mary, inviting me to apply. I was—and am—such a fan of the tremendous faculty and I knew that not only did I have a lot to give the program, the program would also give me a huge amount. And I was right! At each residency my love of and commitment to the art and craft of writing has deepened.
What’s your favorite part of residency?
I think my favorite part of residency is the first faculty meeting, believe it or not! Though I’m not generally a huge fan of meetings, I am a huge fan of the faculty, and it’s such an exciting thing to see them again after six long months apart. I imagine the cohorts feel similarly about their reunions!
How would you describe your faculty advising style?
I’m pretty hands-on and collaborative. I always do line edits (I can’t help myself!) as well as a letter, and I love to zoom. I joined this program for two reasons: to learn and grow as a working artist, and to be of service. With my students, I aim to be of service during our shared time and beyond.
What’s your favorite book to recommend to MFAC students?
I am a big fan of WHAT IT IS by Lynda Barry. It’s a weird and wonderful book about creativity.
We asked you to send a photo that represents a favorite Hamline memory. What's happening in your photo?
I’m terrible at photos, and so I don’t have any to share, unfortunately. But I absolutely love to workshop…the way we all show up on the first day, nervous and excited like bunnies, and how we soften, learn, and grow together across our time together.



Young adult

The Blood Years
Balzer & Bray, 2023

Red Hood
Balzer & Bray, 2020

Balzer & Bray, 2018

What Girls Are Made Of
Lerner Books/Carolrhoda Lab, 2017

Lerner Books/Carolrhoda Lab, 2015

Random House/Delacorte, 2013

Random House/Delacorte, 2013

Random House/Delacorte, 2012

Middle grade


Harriet Tells the Truth
HarperCollins, 2024

Harriet Tells the Truth
Walden Pond Press, 2024

Harriet Spies
Walden Pond Press, 2023

Just Harriet
Walden Pond Press, 2022

The House That Wasn’t There
Walden Pond Press, 2020

Bat and the End of Everything
Walden Pond Press, 2019

Bat and the Waiting Game
Walden Pond Press, 2018

A Boy Called Bat
Walden Pond Press, 2017

Far From Fair
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016

The Question of Miracles
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2015

Early reader

Starla Jean Cracks the Case
Roaring Brook Press, 2023

Starla Jean Takes the Cake
Roaring Brook Press, 2022

Starla Jean
Roaring Brook Press, 2021

Picture book

The Fish of Small Wishes
Roaring Brook Press, 2024

All By Himself?
Beach Lane Books, 2022

Pip and Zip
Roaring Brook Press, 2022

An Ordinary Day
Beach Lane Books, 2020

What Riley Wore
Beach Lane Books, 2019