DIVE! by Deborah Hopkinson Blog Tour #diveblogtour

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Author: Deborah Hopkinson

Publisher: Scholastic Press (September 27, 2016)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0545425581

Using first-person accounts, archival materials, official Naval documents, and photographs, award-winning author Deborah Hopkinson details the deadly submarine battles that raged in the Pacific during World War II. 

divefinalcover_large2xDIVE! World War II Stories of Sailors & Submarines in the Pacific  is a teacher’s dream resource.  Weaving first-person accounts, such as,

“We heard noise over to our starboard side. . . You could see a bunch of planes coming in; nobody’s paying attention to it.  Then you could hear what seemed like thundering in the background, which actually were bombs starting to drop at that time,” Martin said.

Hopkinson expertly takes the reader back to WWII from the first bombs dropping on Pearl Harbor, to the cease fire and peace treaty in three hundred pages of exciting, informational, and all too real stories of WWII.

Not only is DIVE! an excellent resource for the content within, but also for writer’s craft.  Hopkinson takes a piece of U.S. history (which is often times very dry within text books) and transforms it into an informational text that is engaging, full of interesting language techniques.

Thanks again to Deborah Hopkinson for appearing.  For other stops on the Dive Blog Tour please check deborahhopkinson.com.

 

A Bandit’s Tale: The Muddled Misadventures of a Pickpocket by Deborah Hopkinson #BanditBlogTour

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A Bandit’s Tale: The Muddled Misadventures of a Pickpocket  is a historical fiction story of survival, crime, adventure, and horses in the streets of 19th century New York City.  I’m delighted to welcome author, Deborah Hopkinson back to My Learning Life as part of the #BanditBlogTour today.

 

A Bandit’s Tale: The Muddled Misadventures of a Pickpocket 

Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf (April 5, 2016)

Bandit Final JacketWith a group of fourth and fifth graders gathered around me in a school library, I show  the cover of my new historical fiction title, A Bandit’s Tale, The Muddled Misadventures of a Pickpocket. Switching to the next slide, I tell them I was inspired to write the book because of this picture. The students gasp as they see the famous photograph entitled “The Close of a Career in New York,” which shows several ragged looking boys next to the carcass of a horse on a cobblestoned street.

“What happened to the horse?” I ask.

Guesses abound – everything from the notion that the kids in the photo killed the horse, to the idea that it got run over by a car. “Any guess is good,” I tell them. By looking closely and making deductions, students are able to decipher the context, and imagine what it might have been like to live in a time when horses who died on the street from overwork were part of the world of children who lived then.

Visual thinking is an important component of my author visits, and students and I often look closely at artifacts such as historic photographs (or in the case of my novel The Great Trouble, an actual 1854 death certificate). That’s one reason why we used this photograph and others as design elements in A Bandit’s Tale. This is a story about the burgeoning social justice movements of the 19th century which features appearances by real-life activists Jacob Riis, author of How the Other Half Lives, and Henry Bergh, who founded the ASPCA 150 years ago, in 1866.

Although the themes may be serious, this is also a picaresque adventure tale of an unlikely hero – a pickpocket named Rocco. My research for this book took me to the archives of the New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, and into the Henry Bergh manuscript collection at the Museum of the City of New York. I also roamed the streets of New York, and found the horseshoe design still adorning the building where Michael Hallanan, known as the Greenwich Village blacksmith, had his stables. His fictional daughter Mary, whose favorite book is Black Beauty, is a main character in the story and a model of a young “meddler,” devoted to helping Mr. Bergh improve conditions for the city’s horses.

A Bandit’s Tale has extensive back matter, which I hope will be of interest to young readers as well as to parents, teachers, and librarians. Most of all, I hope kids will enjoy reading this story as much as I did writing it.

Thanks again to Deborah Hopkinson for appearing.  For other stops on the Bandit Blog Tour please check deborahhopkinson.com.  Be sure to use this hashtag: #BanditBlogTour.

 

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Deborah Hopkinson is the author of nearly 50 books for young readers.  Visit Deborah Hopkinson at www.deborahhopkinson.com or follow her on Twitter @deborahopkinson.

 

 

©2016 by Dawn Little for My Learning Life. All Amazon links are affiliate links and may result in my receiving a small commission. This is at no additional cost to you.

Beatrix Potter & the Unfortunate Tale of a Borrowed Guinea Pig by Deborah Hopkinson Blog Tour

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Beatrix Potter and the Unfortunate Tale of a Borrowed Guinea Pig is a fictionalized account of a truly unfortunate incident in Beatrix’s life, based on her diary entries.  Welcome Deborah Hopkinson to My Learning Life today as she shares a little about her research into Beatrix’s life.

 

Beatrix Potter and the Unfortunate Tale of a Borrowed Guinea Pig

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade (February 2, 2016)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0545592208

BeatrixThis year, we celebrate the sesquicentennial of Beatrix Potter (1866-1943), a fascinating woman of many talents and interests. She was a keen observer of plants and animals, an expert in mycology, and, in her later years, a committed conservationist who bred Herdwick sheep and left her estate to Great Britain’s National Trust. And, of course, Beatrix Potter was the beloved creator of classic, timeless books for children, including The Tale of Peter Rabbit, first published in 1902.

Although many aspects of Potter’s life might lend themselves to a picture book, I wanted to find a story that celebrated her love of animals and of art. When I visit schools around the country, I love to hear from students about the books or art projects they’re undertaking. So I think young readers will be especially excited to know that the creator of Peter Rabbit, like them, began practicing her craft as a girl.  (And, of course, as the title, Beatrix Potter and the Unfortunate Tale of a Borrowed Guinea Pig, suggests, there is also the reminder that even for famous and accomplished artists, sometimes things go wrong.)

I was especially intrigued in my research by Beatrix’s journal, which she wrote in a code she invented herself. Fortunately, after her death, the journal was decoded and transcribed by Leslie Linder, and was published in 1966. In it, Beatrix describes a series of rather hilarious pet disasters, since she and her little brother Bertie kept quite a menagerie in their London home. My book is a fictionalized treatment rather than a biography, but it does include some actual quotations from her journal.

My book tells the story of one specific disaster, when Beatrix borrowed a guinea pig from a neighbor so that she could sketch it.  To tell the story, I decided to use the format of a “picture letter,” reminiscent of the one Beatrix wrote to Noel Moore, the son of her former governess, which became the inspiration for her Peter Rabbit book. In my book, we begin by addressing the reader, and end with a P.S – the author’s note, which includes photographs of Beatrix and an image showing her famous picture letter which introduced to Noel – and later the world – the four most famous rabbits of all time. (You know their names.)

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I often incorporate writing activities in my school visit presentations, and can’t wait to work on creating picture letters with students to see what stories they have to tell.

Another special aspect of this book is the art. Acclaimed British artist Charlotte Voake’s watercolors are subtle, wry, and humorous.  The book will be published in Great Britain in July, to coincide with Beatrix Potter’s birthday on July 28. For more Beatrix Potter special events, follow the hashtag #Beatrix150 on Twitter.

Thanks again to Deborah Hopkinson for appearing.  For other stops on the Beatrix Blog Tour please check deborahhopkinson.com.

 

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Deborah Hopkinson is the author of nearly 50 books for young readers. Her middle grade novel, A Bandit’s Tale, The Muddled Misadventures of a Pickpocket, a Junior Library Guild selection, will be released in April. Follow her on Twitter @deborahopkinson.

 

©2016 by Dawn Little for My Learning Life. All Amazon links are affiliate links and may result in my receiving a small commission. This is at no additional cost to you.