Deborah Hopkinson introduces readers to people, places, and times that are both well and little known. The one thing her stories — real, imagined and sometimes both — have in common is that are sure to entertain, engage, and inspire as they hold truths for contemporary readers.
A Band of Angels
Ella Sheppard was one of the original Jubilee Singers from what is now known as Fisk University. This is a touching story, told by Ella’s great-great-granddaughter, accompanied by gentle, poignant illustrations.
Abe Lincoln Crosses a Creek: A Tall, Thin Tale
Drama abounds in what might have happened if Austin Gollaher had not pulled the young Abraham Lincoln from a swollen Kentucky creek that day in 1816. This engaging tale was inspired and expanded from a real event noted by the author.
Annie and Helen
Anne Sullivan arrived at the Keller home in 1887, writing letters to a friend about how she worked with a deaf and blind girl named Helen. Anne's words combine with a straightforward narration and gentle illustrations to provide deeper insight into how Helen Keller grew into a brilliant woman.
Apples to Oregon
This richly told original tale provides a glimpse at one family's trek from Iowa to Oregon where they begin an orchard. As daughter Delicious describes it, the fruit trees get a bigger wagon than the family.
Beatrix Potter and the Unfortunate Tale of a Borrowed Guinea Pig
The author of The Tale of Peter Rabbit (among other children’s classics) comes into focus as an eager young artist who borrows a guinea pig as a subject. Left unattended, however, the curious animal meets an untimely end. Based on Potter’s journals, young readers will enjoy a fascinating introduction to an author/artist in lively illustration and lucid narrative. An endnote includes photos of Beatrix as well as additional information.
Fannie in the Kitchen
Animated illustrations combine with lively text to reveal the story behind the woman whose name is synonymous with cooking. Before Fannie Farmer took to the kitchen, recipes were not as easy to follow!
Follow the Moon Home
Loggerhead turtles are confused by artificial lights on the beach. A group of children work to turn them out so that turtle hatchlings can follow the moon to the sea. The story of how children became activists and can continue to contribute positively is engagingly presented. Suggestions conclude this attractive, can-do book.
Girl Wonder: A Baseball Story in Nine Innings
She seemed born to pitch when growing up in a small Ohio town and pitch she did at a time when women only wore skirts or dresses. Stylized illustrations combine with the fictionalized voice of Alta Weiss to present a memorable glimpse of early baseball, one young woman's passion for the game, and a quick look at women in the sport.
Home on the Range
The folksongs of cowboys weren't always well known. In fact, it was a young man who who helped record the country's history and popularize traditional songs was inspired by a teacher. This slice of an early musicologist's life is sure to intrigue readers.
Since little is known about the real Amelia Simmons, the author invites readers to imagine what became of her after her father’s death. Amelia would become a “bound girl,” to work for others. She may have made an Independence Cake perhaps tasted by General George Washington! The colonial period is clearly imagined here in illustration and lively text, complete with a cake recipe.
Matthew Henson, the African American who accompanied Robert Peary on an expedition to the North Pole in the early 20th century, required both stamina and bravery. The man and his times are introduced here.
Knit Your Bit: A World War I Story
Mikey’s dad has left home to fight overseas during World War I, and Mikey wants to do something big to help. His teacher suggests that the class participate in a knitting bee in Central Park to knit clothing for the troop, and when the girls turn it into a competition, the boys just have to meet the challenge.
Maria Mitchell grew up in a big family with big dreams herself. It becomes clear in through the imagined, poetic voice of Maria Mitchell that childhood dreams can grow into reality as an adult.
Ordinary, Extraordinary Jane Austen
A picture book biography of Jane Austen, one of the most beloved writers of all time. Young Jane was a bit quiet and shy, but she observed people and loved to read. She devoured everything in her father’s massive library and before long, she began creating her own stories — and went on to invent an entirely new kind of novel.
Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt
Clara is born into slavery but learns an important skill when she becomes a seamstress. Her quilting ability allows Clara to put together directions to escape north to freedom when she overhears a conversation about a route to Canada.
Thanks to Francis Perkins: Fighter for Workers’ Rights
Once, there were no protections for workers who often toiled in dangerous conditions for long hours. Until Francis Perkins, that is. After she witnessed a tragedy, Perkins toiled tirelessly to help workers all over the United States. This illustrated biography of the first woman on President Roosevelt’s cabinet is compelling, highlighting the events that shaped Perkins. Additional resources are included.
Under the Quilt of Night
An enslaved family escapes bondage via the Underground Railroad. Tension builds as they are travel, hide, and are almost discovered in both text and darkly hued, dramatic paintings. The young narrator’s hopes soar with the brilliant sunrise.
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