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Helen Frost (1949-) Biography - Personal, Addresses, Career, Honors Awards, Writings, Work in Progress, Sidelights

mankato books pebble series

Born 1949, in Brookings, SD; Education: Syracuse University, B.A. (elementary education); Indiana University, M.A. (English), 1994. Hobbies and other interests: Hiking, cross-country skiing, raising and releasing monarch butterflies, geneaology.

Agent—Capstone Press, 151 Good Counsel Dr., P.O. Box 669, Mankato, MN 56002.

Educator and author. Kilquhanity House School (boarding school), Scotland, teacher; elementary school teacher/principal in Telida, AK, for three years, then Ketchican, AK; Indiana University/Purdue University at Fort Wayne, instructor. Fort Wayne Dance Collective, member of inderdisciplinary artistic team, beginning 1994.

Robert H. Winner Memorial Award, Poetry Society of America, 1992; Mary Carolyn Davies Award, Poetry Society of America, 1993; Women Poets Series Competition winner, Ampersand Press, 1993; Michael Printz Honor Book designation, American Library Association, 2004, for Keesha's House; several other awards and honors.


JUVENILE FICTION

Keesha's House, Frances Foster Books (New York, NY), 2003.

Spinning through the Universe: A Novel in Poems from Room 214, Frances Foster Books (New York, NY), 2004.


"BIRDS" SERIES: JUVENILE NONFICTION

Bird Eggs, Pebble Books (Mankato, MN), 1999.

Bird Nests, Pebble Books (Mankato, MN), 1999.

Baby Birds, Pebble Books (Mankato, MN), 1999.

Bird Families, Pebble Books (Mankato, MN), 1999.


"BUTTERFLIES" SERIES: JUVENILE NONFICTION

Butterfly Eggs, Pebble Books (Mankato, MN), 1999.

Caterpillars, Pebble Books (Mankato, MN), 1999.

Butterfly Colors, Pebble Books (Mankato, MN), 1999.

Monarch Butterflies, Pebble Books (Mankato, MN), 1999.


"DENTAL HEALTH" SERIES: JUVENILE NONFICTION

Your Teeth, Pebble Books (Mankato, MN), 1999.

Going to the Dentist, Pebble Books (Mankato, MN), 1999.

Food for Healthy Teeth, Pebble Books (Mankato, MN), 1999.

Brushing Well, Pebble Books (Mankato, MN), 1999.


"FOOD GUIDE PYRAMID" SERIES; JUVENILE NONFICTION

The Fruit Group, Pebble Books (Mankato, MN), 2000.

Eating Right, Pebble Books (Mankato, MN), 2000.

The Vegetable Group, Pebble Books (Mankato, MN), 2000.

The Dairy Group, Pebble Books (Mankato, MN), 2000.

Fats, Oils, and Sweets, Pebble Books (Mankato, MN), 2000.

Drinking Water, Pebble Books (Mankato, MN), 2000.

The Grain Group, Pebble Books (Mankato, MN), 2000.

The Meat and Protein Group, Pebble Books (Mankato, MN), 2000.


"WATER" SERIES: JUVENILE NONFICTION

Keeping Water Clean, Pebble Books (Mankato, MN), 2000.

The Water Cycle, Pebble Books (Mankato, MN), 2000.

Water as a Solid, Pebble Books (Mankato, MN), 2000.

Water as a Liquid, Pebble Books (Mankato, MN), 2000.

Water as a Gas, Pebble Books (Mankato, MN), 2000.

We Need Water, Pebble Books (Mankato, MN), 2000.


Author's titles have been translated into Spanish.


"NATIONAL HOLIDAYS" SERIES; JUVENILE NONFICTION

Memorial Day, Pebble Books (Mankato, MN), 2000.

Independence Day, Pebble Books (Mankato, MN), 2000.

Martin Luther King, Jr., Day, Pebble Books (Mankato, MN), 2000.

Presidents' Day, Pebble Books (Mankato, MN), 2000.

"SENSES" SERIES; JUVENILE NONFICTION

Your Senses, Pebble Books (Mankato, MN), 2000.

Smelling, Pebble Books (Mankato, MN), 2000.

Touching, Pebble Books (Mankato, MN), 2000.

Tasting, Pebble Books (Mankato, MN), 2000.

Seeing, Pebble Books (Mankato, MN), 2000.

Hearing, Pebble Books (Mankato, MN), 2000.


"EMOTIONS" SERIES; JUVENILE NONFICTION

Feeling Sad, Pebble Books (Mankato, MN), 2001.

Feeling Angry, Pebble Books (Mankato, MN), 2001.

Feeling Scared, Pebble Books (Mankato, MN), 2001.

Feeling Happy, Pebble Books (Mankato, MN), 2001.


"HUMAN BODY SYSTEMS" SERIES; JUVENILE NONFICTION

The Circulatory System, Pebble Books (Mankato, MN), 2001.

The Respiratory System, Pebble Books (Mankato, MN), 2001.

The Nervous System, Pebble Books (Mankato, MN), 2001.

The Muscular System, Pebble Books (Mankato, MN), 2001.

The Skeletal System, Pebble Books (Mankato, MN), 2001.

The Digestive System, Pebble Books (Mankato, MN), 2001.


"LOOKING AT SIMPLE MACHINES" SERIES: JUVENILE NONFICTION

What Are Inclined Planes?, Pebble Books (Mankato, MN), 2001.

What Are Levers?, Pebble Books (Mankato, MN), 2001.

What Are Screws?, Pebble Books (Mankato, MN), 2001.

What Are Wedges?, Pebble Books (Mankato, MN), 2001.

What Are Wheels and Axles?, Pebble Books (Mankato, MN), 2001.

What Are Pulleys?, Pebble Books (Mankato, MN), 2001.


"OUR WORLD" SERIES: JUVENILE NONFICTION

A Look at China, Pebble Books (Mankato, MN), 2002.

A Look at France, Pebble Books (Mankato, MN), 2002.

A Look at Kenya, Pebble Books (Mankato, MN), 2002.

A Look at Russia, Pebble Books (Mankato, MN), 2002.

A Look at Japan, Pebble Books (Mankato, MN), 2002.

A Look at Canada, Pebble Books (Mankato, MN), 2002.

A Look at Australia, Pebble Books (Mankato, MN), 2002.

A Look at Mexico, Pebble Books (Mankato, MN), 2002.

A Look at Egypt, Pebble Books (Mankato, MN), 2003.

A Look at Cuba, Pebble Books (Mankato, MN), 2003.

A Look at Germany, Pebble Books (Mankato, MN), 2003.

A Look at Vietnam, Pebble Books (Mankato, MN), 2003.


"ALL ABOUT PETS" SERIES; JUVENILE NONFICTION

Cats, Pebble Books (Mankato, MN), 2001.

Fish, Pebble Books (Mankato, MN), 2001.

Hamsters, Pebble Books (Mankato, MN), 2001.

Dogs, Pebble Books (Mankato, MN), 2001.

Rabbits, Pebble Books (Mankato, MN), 2001.

Birds, Pebble Books (Mankato, MN), 2001.


"INSECTS" SERIES; JUVENILE NONFICTION

Praying Mantises, Pebble Books (Mankato, MN), 2001.

Walkingsticks, Pebble Books (Mankato, MN), 2001.

Water Bugs, Capstone Press (Mankato, MN), 2001.

Moths, Capstone Press (Mankato, MN), 2001.

Wasps, Capstone Press (Mankato, MN), 2001.

Cicadas, Capstone Press (Mankato, MN), 2001.


"RAIN FOREST ANIMALS" SERIES; JUVENILE NONFICTION

Jaguars, Pebble Books (Mankato, MN), 2002.

Boa Constrictors, Pebble Books (Mankato, MN), 2002.

Gorillas, Capstone Press (Mankato, MN), 2002.

Tree Frogs, Pebble Books (Mankato, MN), 2002.

Tarantulas, Pebble Books (Mankato, MN), 2002.

Parrots, Capstone Press (Mankato, MN), 2002.

Lemurs, Pebble Books (Mankato, MN), 2003.

Chimpanzees, Pebble Books (Mankato, MN), 2003.

Leaf-cutting Ants, Pebble Books (Mankato, MN), 2003.

Tigers, Pebble Books (Mankato, MN), 2003.


"COMING TO AMERICA" SERIES; JUVENILE NONFICTION

German Immigrants, 1820-1920, Blue Earth Books (Mankato, MN), 2002.

Russian Immigrants, 1860-1949, Blue Earth Books (Mankato, MN), 2003.


"FAMOUS AMERICANS" SERIES; JUVENILE NONFICTION

John F. Kennedy, Pebble Books (Mankato, MN), 2003.

Sojourner Truth, Pebble Books (Mankato, MN), 2003.

Betsy Ross, Pebble Books (Mankato, MN), 2003.

Thurgood Marshall, Pebble Books (Mankato, MN), 2003.


"LET'S MEET" SERIES; JUVENILE NONFICTION

Let's Meet Jackie Robinson, Chelsea Clubhouse Books (Philadelphia, PA), 2004.

Let's Meet Booker T. Washington, Chelsea Clubhouse (Philadelphia, PA), 2004.

Let's Meed Ida B. Wells-Barnett, Chelsea Clubhouse Books (Philadelphia, PA), 2004.


"WEATHER" SERIES; JUVENILE NONFICTION

Ice, Capstone Press (Mankato, MN), 2004.

Fog, Capstone Press (Mankato, MN), 2004.

Snow, Capstone Press (Mankato, MN), 2004.

Wind, Capstone Press (Mankato, MN), 2004.


"DINOSAURS AND PREHISTORIC ANIMALS" SERIES; JUVENILE NONFICTION

Woolly Mammoth, Capstone Press (Mankato, MN), 2004.

Tyrannosaurus Rex, Capstone Press (Mankato, MN), 2004.

Triceratops, Capstone Press (Mankato, MN), 2004.

Sabertooth Cat, Capstone Press (Mankato, MN), 2004.

Allosaurus, Capstone Press (Mankato, MN), 2004.

Stegosaurus, Capstone Press (Mankato, MN), 2004.


"HELPERS IN OUR COMMUNITY" SERIES; JUVENILE NONFICTION

We Need Auto Mechanics, Capstone Press (Mankato, MN), 2004.

We Need Plumbers, Capstone Press (Mankato, MN), 2004.

We Need School Bus Drivers, Pebble Books (Mankato, MN), 2004.

We Need Pharmacists, Capstone Press (Mankato, MN), 2005.


FOR ADULTS

(Editor) Season of Dead Water (poetry and prose anthology), Breitenbush Books (Portland, OR), 1990.

Skin of a Fish, Bones of a Bird: Poems, Ampersand Press (Bristol, RI), 1993.

(Editor) Why Darkness Seems So Light: Young People Speak out about Violence (also see below), Pecan Grove Press, 1998.

(With Harvey Cocks) Why Darkness Seems So Light (play; based on the book of the same title), Pioneer Drama, 1999.

When I Whistle, Nobody Listens: Helping Young People Write about Diffıcult Issues, Heinemann (Portsmouth, NH), 2001.


Monarch and Milkweed, for Atheneum, and the novel The Braid, for Frances Foster Books, 2006.


In addition to her work as a teacher—she has taught students in Scotland, Alaska, and the American Midwest—poet, and playwright, Helen Frost is a prolific author of fiction and nonfiction for young readers. Frost's fictional works include the award-winning young-adult novel Keesha's House and the novel Spinning through the Universe: A Novel in Poems from Room 214, while nonfiction contributions to informative series for elementary-grade students reflect her interest in science and biology. In addition to her work for young people, Frost is also the author of When I Whisper, Nobody Listens: Helping Young People Write about Diffıcult Issues, a book which, according to Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy contributor M. P. Cavanaugh, is designed to "prepare teachers to work with students on sensitive issues and to provide nonviolent solutions to some of their problems."A novel-inverse for older readers, Keesha's House focuses on seven inner-city teens whose lives are currently in turmoil and who find refuge in a home owned by a caring adult named Joe. Dubbed "Keesha's House" in honor of the first person to be welcomed there, the home becomes a haven for pregnant teen Stephie; Katie, who is escaping her stepfather's sexual molestation; gay teen Harris, whose parents do not accept his sexual orientation; unhappy foster child Dontay; Carmen, who is battling an addiction to drugs; high school basketball star Jason, who struggles between college and his responsibility as the father of Stephie's baby; and Keesha herself. Praised as a "moving" work containing "dramatic monologues that are personal, poetic, and immediate," by Booklist contributor Hazel Rochman, Keesha's House features sonnet and sestina verse forms that reflect contemporary speech, making the book easy going for those unfamiliar with poetry. In Publishers Weekly a reviewer found the work "thoughtfully composed and ultimately touching," while Michele Winship wrote in Kliatt that the poems in Keesha's House "weave together stories that depict the harsh reality of teenage life."

A book that "brings to life the voices and spirit of a fifth-grade classroom," according to a Publishers Weekly contributor, Spinning through the Universe contains poems that reflect the dreams, worries, enthusiasms, and day-to-day lives of Mrs. Williams's twenty-six fifth graders, each of whom composes a poem in a different poetic form. The fictional preteen writers wax poetic about subjects ranging from a lost bicycle to the death of a parent, in what the Publishers Weekly critic described In Helen Frost's nonfiction title Coming to America: German Immigrants the author profiles the experiences of the many Europeans who left their families to create a new life in America after 1820. (Photograph by Corbis.) as "brief, deceptively casual poetic monologues" that Frost follows with a concluding chapter about reading and writing verse. Forms include haiku, blank verse, sonnets, sestinas, rondelets, and other less-familiar schemes; an entire section devoted to acrostics prompted School Library Journal contributor Lee Bock to note that "readers will enjoy decoding them to reveal an additional thought about each character." Bock dubbed Spinning through the Universe a "boon for poetry classes," while in Kirkus Reviews a critic wrote that Frost's use of "original imagery and understated, natural voices make these poems sensitive and insightful." Many of Frost's series nonfiction are short books presenting basic facts and information in a minimal text well-illustrated with photographs, maps, diagrams, and other artwork. With approximately twenty sentences per book, volumes such as A Look at France in the "Our World" series and What Are Levers? in the "Looking at Simple Machines" series are designed for beginning scholars, and incorporate large print and a simple vocabulary to convey rudimentary information. More detail is provided in Frost's contributions to the "Coming to America" series, designed for older readers. Praising Frost's research in German Immigrants, 1820-1920 as "solid," Booklist reviewer Rochman added that the book serves young readers of German and Scandinavian descent as "a good place to start researching family history."


Biographical and Critical Sources

PERIODICALS

Booklist, October 15, 2001, Hazel Rochman, review of German Immigrants, 1820-1920, p. 406; March 1, 2003, Hazel Rochman, review of Keesha's House, p. 1192; April 1, 2004, Hazel Rochman, review of Spinning through the Universe: A Novel in Poems from Room 214, p. 1363.

Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, November, 2002, M. P. Cavanaugh, review of When I Whisper, Nobody Listens: Helping Young People Write about Diffıcult Issues, p. 275.

Kirkus Reviews, March 1, 2004, review of Spinning through the Universe, p. 221.

Kliatt, March, 2003, Michele Winship, review of Keesha's House, p. 10.

Publishers Weekly, May 25, 1990, Penny Kaganoff, review of Season of Dead Water, p. 54; April 21, 2003, review of Keesha's House, p. 63; April 5, 2004, review of Spinning through the Universe, p. 63.

School Library Journal, August, 2000, Pamela K. Bombay, review of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, p. 169; October, 2000, Carolyn Jenks, review of Drinking Water, p. 147; January, 2001, Judith Constantinides, review of Feeling Angry, p. 117; April, 2001, Dona J. Helmer, review of The Circulatory System, p. 130; August, 2001, Blair Christolon, review of What Are Levers?, p. 168; September, 2001, Karey Wehner, review of Moths, p. 214; December, 2001, Elizabeth Talbot, review of A Look at Russia, p. 121; June, 2002, Ann W. Moore, review of A Look at France, p. 120; October, 2002, Linda Ludke, review of A Look at Canada, p. 144; October, 2003, Jennifer Ralston, review of Keesha's House, p. 99; November, 2003, Michele Shaw, review of Betsy Ross, p. 125; April, 2004, Lee Bock, review of Spinning through the Universe, p. 154; April, 2004, review of Keesha's House, p. 64.


ONLINE

Helen Frost Web site, http://helenfrost.com (December 30, 2004).

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