Colleen Paeff

Colleen Paeff  is the author of The Great Stink: How Joseph Bazalgette Solved London’s Poop Pollution Problem (illustrated by Nancy Carpenter) and Rainbow Truck, co-authored with Hina Abidi (Chronicle Books, 2023).

She was born in Southern California, near Disneyland. As a kid, she rode bikes with long banana seats, went skating at the roller rink, took ballet classes in a neighbor’s garage, and roped her younger siblings into performing shows for friends and family on the front porch of their suburban home. She wasn’t a writer back then, but she did make up stories–usually to entertain herself on long car rides or to impress her friends at recess.

Nowadays, she writes those stories down. Sometimes they’re made from her imagination, and sometimes they’re true stories about real people or places, but they almost always start with a wonder. In fact, wandering around the world, wondering about the things she sees is how most of Colleen’s books get started (usually followed by lots of research, writing, tea drinking, and revising).

In addition to being a writer, Colleen has worked as a bookseller, preschool teacher, and fuzzy character at Disneyland. She will always be a California girl, but temporarily lives in New York City where she wonders about a lot of things––including how she will survive a New York winter. Colleen (she/her) is repped by Lori Steel.


Fun Fact/Quote: Colleen has a black cat named Ravenpaw. Lots of people think his name is a play on Ravenclaw from the Harry Potter series—which would be pretty clever—but, he is actually named after a character in Erin Hunter’s Warriors series. 

Work by Colleen: