Barron spent his early childhood in Harvard, Massachusetts, a town full of New England history and apple orchards. His family moved to Colorado and he spent much of his youth on a ranch in the Rocky Mountains. Barron's writing reflects his great passion for nature and the spiritual values of the natural world, as well as his belief in the power of every person. He studied history at Princeton University, where he is a Trustee, attended Balliol College, Oxford University on a Rhodes scholarship, and has business and law degrees from Harvard University. He served as president of a private equity firm in New York City before changing careers in 1990, when he returned to Colorado to become a full-time writer and conservationist.
Since then, he has written more than thirty novels, children's books, non-fiction books, and nature books. In 2011, he received The de Grummond Medallion for "lifetime contribution to the field of children's and young adult literature." He has also won the Nautilus Award Grand Prize and many other literary awards.
He is an active supporter of conservation causes, serving as a board member for The Wilderness Society, the Alaska Conservation Foundation, and The Nature Conservancy of Colorado. In 2000, he founded a national prize to celebrate outstanding young people who help other people or the environment—the Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes (named after his mother). He also helped to create the Princeton Environmental Institute at Princeton University in 1990. Recently, the Wilderness Society honored him with the Robert Marshall Award, its highest award given to citizens active in conservation.
In many of his novels, Barron writes about nature and ecology in mythical settings. Inspired by nature's power of renewal as well as humanity's power of free choice, he says, “I truly believe every person can make a difference — that's why I'm drawn to heroic quest stories.” . His books have received the Nautilus Award Grand Prize for literature that helps to renew the spirit and envision a better world, as well as many other awards from the American Library Association and the International Literacy Association. The Merlin Saga (twelve titles) and the novel The Ancient One have been international best sellers; The Great Tree of Avalon trilogy has been a New York Times best seller.
According to Booklist, his books are "completely magical" and "will enchant readers." The New York Times has called his work "august" and "compelling". Fellow author Isabel Allende has said his writing is "brilliant—a real gift"; similarly, author Madeleine L'Engle called his stories "a crescendo of miracles." Fellow writer Terry Tempest Williams has hailed him as the creator of "environmental fables for our time." Robert Coles, M.D. has praised his work by saying, "Here is so much grace." And writer Lloyd Alexander called his books "an intense and profoundly spiritual adventure."
Disney film studios is currently developing a film adaptation of the Merlin Saga. In November 2015, Philippa Boyens was hired to write the script.The Heartlight Saga (Combined edition) (2013)
The Ancient One (1992; republished in 2015)
Merlin Effect (1994)
Atlantis Rising (2013)
Atlantis in Peril (2015)
Atlantis Lost (2016)
Never Again: The Origins of Grukkar (eBook)
The Merlin Saga (2011) is a 12-book series originally sold as three separate series: The Lost Years of Merlin epic, Merlin's Dragon trilogy, and The Great Tree of Avalon trilogy. The twelfth book in the series is The Book of Magic, an encyclopedia of the characters and places in the series.The Lost Years of Merlin Epic
Merlin Book 1: The Lost Years; originally issued as The Lost Years of Merlin (1996)
Merlin Book 2: The Seven Songs; originally issued as The Seven Songs of Merlin (1997)
Merlin Book 3: The Raging Fires; originally issued as The Fires of Merlin (1998)
Merlin Book 4: The Mirror of Fate; originally issued as The Mirror of Merlin (1999)
Merlin Book 5: A Wizard's Wings; originally issued as The Wings of Merlin (2000)
Merlin's Dragon Trilogy
Book 6: The Dragon of Avalon; originally issued as Merlin's Dragon (2008)
Book 7: Doomraga's Revenge (2009)
Book 8: Ultimate Magic (2010)
The Great Tree of Avalon Trilogy
Book 9: The Great Tree of Avalon; originally issued as Child of the Dark Prophecy (2004)
Book 10: Shadows on the Stars (2005)
Book 11: The Eternal Flame (2007)
The Book of Magic
Book 12: Merlin: The Book of Magic (2011), companion to the Merlin saga
Tree Girl (2001)
Ben Barron: How the boy became king of shadows
Where is Grandpa? (1999)
High as a Hawk (2004)
The Day the Stones Walked (2007)
Ghost Hands (2011)
The Hero's Trail: True Stories of Young People to Inspire Courage, Compassion, and Hope (2015)
The Wisdom of Merlin (2015)
To Walk In Wilderness (1993)
Rocky Mountain National Park: A 100 Year Perspective (1995)