Todd Strasser is the author of nearly 150 novels for middle graders, young adults, and adults. Strasser was born in New York City in 1950. His father, Chester, manufactured dresses. His mother, Sheila, was an artist and copyeditor. When he was young, Strasser’s family moved to suburban Long Island, where he attended public school through high school.

Ironically for a future professional writer, young Strasser’s best school subjects were math and science. Although he enjoyed reading, he had trouble with grammar and spelling, a challenge he continues to struggle with. He attended New York University but left without graduating. He lived for a while on a commune, then he moved to Europe, where he busked for tips. While in Europe, Strasser began to write songs and poems for friends back home. Deciding to pursue a career in writing, Strasser returned to the U.S. and enrolled at Beloit College in Wisconsin to study literature and writing. After graduating, he worked as a reporter for the Times Herald-Record in Middletown, New York, and then as a copywriter for Compton Advertising in New York City.

In 1978, Strasser published his first novel, Angel Dust Blues. Using the profits from its sale, he started the Dr. Wing Tip Shoo fortune cookie factory. About that time, Strasser writes, “For the next twelve years, I sold many more fortune cookies than books.”

In the early 1990s, Strasser wrote numerous movie novelizations, including Home Alone and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, and he began his popular Help! I’m Trapped middle-grade series.

The film version of Strasser’s anti-fascist young adult novel The Wave (1981) premiered at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. The film earned the Best Feature Film award at the German Film Awards the same year. The book was also adapted for the 2019 Netflix series We Are the Wave.

Strasser’s works often explore contemporary and controversial issues such as school gun violence, white nationalism, homelessness, war, and bullying.