Author. Screenwriter. Musician.

Paula Yoo is an acclaimed book author, TV writer/producer, and musician. Her children’s and Young Adult nonfiction books and novels have won many awards, including the Boston-Globe Horn Book Award, the National Book Award Longlist for Young People’s Literature, ALA-YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction Honor, Los Angeles Times Book Prize Finalist, the Asian Pacific American Youth Literature Award, several IRA Notables and Junior Library Guild Gold Standard selections, plus many starred reviews.

Her latest YA nonfiction book, RISING FROM THE ASHES: LOS ANGELES, 1992. EDWARD JAE SONG LEE, LATASHA HARLINS, RODNEY KING, AND A CITY ON FIRE, was published on May 7, 2024 by Norton Young Readers (W.W. Norton & Co.). It was selected as a Junior Library Guild Gold Standard and has received four stars so far from Kirkus Reviews, Publishers Weekly, Horn Book, and the Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books.

The paperback version of her award-winning YA nonfiction book, FROM A WHISPER TO A RALLYING CRY: THE KILLING OF VINCENT CHIN AND THE TRIAL THAT GALVANIZED THE ASIAN AMERICAN MOVEMENT (Norton Young Readers 2021) is now available along with a teacher’s guide.

Paula is also the author of several award-winning nonfiction children’s books for Lee & Low Books which include SIXTEEN YEARS IN SIXTEEN SECONDS: THE SAMMY LEE STORY, SHINING STAR: THE ANNA MAY WONG STORY, and TWENTY-TWO CENTS: MUHAMMAD YUNUS AND THE VILLAGE BANK. All three picture book biographies are available in chapter book form in Lee & Low’s “THE STORY OF…” series. Paula’s three CONFETTI KIDS early reader books for Lee and Low include LILY’S NEW HOME, WANT TO PLAY, and THE PERFECT GIFT, which have received starred reviews and were chosen as a CCBC Choices by the Cooperative Children’s Book Center and Junior Library Guild Gold Standard selections.

Yoo’s message of empathy, progress, and resilience following tragedy prove resonant.  -Publishers Weekly

As an executive producer/screenwriter, Paula has written for over a dozen TV shows, from NBC’s The West Wing to Amazon’s Mozart in the Jungle and The CW’s Supergirl. She has sold several TV pilots and features to places like Peacock, Onyx/Hulu, and Amazon. She has been a member of the WGA (Writers Guild of America) since 2002.

As a former journalist, Paula wrote for The Seattle Times, The Detroit News, and PEOPLE Magazine. She graduated with a B.A. cum laude in English from Yale University, an M.S. in journalism from Columbia University, and an MFA in Creative Writing from Warren Wilson College, where she was the recipient of the Larry Levis Fellowship in Fiction.

Paula also works as a professional violinist, having played with such ensembles as the Southeast Symphony, Vicente Chamber Orchestra, Torrance Symphony, Glendale Philharmonic, New Haven Symphony, and the Detroit Civic Symphony Orchestra. She performed, toured and recorded with bands such as Il Divo, No Doubt, Fun, Arthur Lee, Love Revisited, Spiritualized, and the King Crimson tribute band The Great Deceivers. She is a member of the AFM Local 47 (American Federation of Musicians).

Paula lives with her family and cats in Los Angeles, California. Her brother, David Yoo, is also an acclaimed book author who has written many Young Adult and adult novels for Hyperion, Delacorte, Balzer & Bray, and Grand Central.

Author Paula Yoo by Hyungwon Kang. Photo © Hyungwon Kang


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