Deborah Hopkinson writes history and historical fiction books for young children and teens. As a child, she noticed a decided lack of information about women and girls in her history textbooks, and many of her own books reflect her love of history and her keen interest in presenting children's — particularly girls'— contributions to U.S. history.
In our interview Hopkinson discusses her mission to make history come alive for students, her meticulous attention to historical details, and her love of sharing good books with her own children.
You can watch the interview below, view the interview transcript, read a short biography on Deborah Hopkinson, or see a selected list of her children's books. (This video is also available on YouTube and iTunes.)
Deborah Hopkinson was born in Lowell, Massachusetts. From an early age she was an avid reader, even hiding her own books inside the school textbooks she was supposed to be reading in class. History and science were her favorite school subjects, and remain topics she frequently writes about.
After reading many children's books to her young daughter, Hopkinson began her own career as an author and quickly found an audience. Her first published work, the picture book Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt, was recognized by the International Reading Association and Reading Rainbows. From picture books like Birdie's Lighthouse to non-fiction for young adults like Up Before Daybreak and Shutting Out the Sky, Hopkinson's award-winning books combine attention to small details with a presentation — text, illustration, and photographs — that engage young people with history.
Hopkinson has produced an impressive body of work, even as she worked full-time in philanthropy at the University of Hawaii, Oregon State University, and now at the Pacific Northwest College of Art.
Deborah Hopkinson and her family live in West Linn, Oregon.