Childhood and College Years

Chris Crutcher was born on an airplane over Dayton, Ohio, on July 17, 1946, the second of three children. His father was a World War II Air Force Pilot and a voracious reader, and his mother was a homemaker with a love for language and poetry ("Author Spotlight"; Cunfer, Lefkowitz, and Pollock-Gillson; "Bios"). His parents raised him in Cascade, Idaho, a small lumber and logging town near Boise, Idaho, that contained 950 people ("Author Spotlight").

Despite Crutcher’s success as an author, he was not the best student, and reading was not one of his favorite pastimes ("Author Spotlight"). Crutcher even admits to inventing authors, book titles, and stories for book reports in high school. Actually, he read only one full book during high school, and that book was To Kill a Mocking Bird by Harper Lee. After high school Crutcher attended Eastern Washington State College where he earned a degree in psychology and sociology. During College, he spent joined the Eastern Washington swim team, and spend a lot of time swimming. He is also a distance runner, and as readers of Chris Crutcher already know, athletics appear throughout his works (Cunfer, Lefkowitz, and Pollock-Gillson).

After College

After college, Crutcher traveled the united states with a friend for one year, and then returned to college to earn a teaching certificate. He used this certificate to work as the director of a K-12 alternative school for inner city kids in Oakland, California for ten years. Then he moved to Spokane, Washington in 1980 where he started working in a mental health center as a family and child therapist, specializing in child-abuse cases ("Author Spotlight"). He also serves as the chairperson for the Spokane Child Protection Team ("Bios").


Crutcher did not start writing until he was 35, but now he cannot imagine his life without writing. In his novels, he tries to depict life as he sees it by combining humor with serious situations. He even bases many novels on his own life. For example, Running Loose reflects his experiences growing up in Cascade, Idaho, and The Crazy Horse Electric Game finds bases in his time working at the alternative school in Oakland ("Author Spotlight").

Crutcher has won many awards for his writing, including the Governor’s Writers Award for Washington State, the ALAN Award for Contributions to Young Adult Literature, and the National Intellectual Freedom Award ("Awards & Honors"). Recently, he received a "Celebration of Free Speech & Its Defenders" award from the National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC), and a "Writers Who Make a Difference Award" by The Writer magazine ("Author Spotlight," "News Briefs").

Steps in the Webquest

        1. Read the book summary

        2. Search the hot sites and consider story themes, events, and characters.

        3. Answer the questions in the quiz by creating a word document

        4. Visit the rubric to see the grading schedule.


Author Spotlight.” Random House, Inc. 1995-2005. 13 November 2005. <>.

"Awards and Honors." Chris Crutcher. 2005. 13 November 2005. <>.

“Bios: Christ Crutcher.” Young Adults (& Kids!) Books Central. 2005. 13 November 2005. <>.

Cunfer, Sue, Ilene Lefkowitz, and Wendy Pollock-Gillson. Learning About Chris Crutcher. 2005. 13 November 2005. <>.

"News Briefs." Christ Crutcher. 2005. 13 November 2005. <>.

Email the author, Gale Toombs or Dr. Blasingame