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Dorothy Hoobler Biography - Personal, Addresses, Career, Honors Awards, Writings, Sidelights

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Born 1971; Education: Wells College, A.B., 1963; New York University, M.A., 1971. Hobbies and other interests: Oriental, American, and European medieval history, music, photography, gardening, travel.

Addresses

Agent—c/o Author Mail, Millbrook Press, Simon & Schuster, 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020.

Career

Freelance writer, 1973–. Has also worked as an editor and genealogist.

Honors Awards

Best book award, Society for School Librarians International, 1991, for Showa: The Age of Hirohito; Parents' Choice Gold Award, 1995, and New York Public Library Books for the Teen Age selection, 1998, both for The African-American Family Album; Carter G. Woodson Honor Book, 1997, for The Japanese-American Family Album; Edgar Allan Poe Award for best young-adult mystery, 2005, for In Darkness, Death; additional honors from Library of Congress, Bank Street College, International Reading Association, National Council for the Social Studies, and National Conference of Christians and Jews.

Writings

WITH HUSBAND, THOMAS HOOBLER

Frontier Diary, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1974.

Margaret Mead: A Life in Science, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1974.

House Plants, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1975.

Vegetable Gardening and Cooking, Grosset & Dunlap (New York, NY), 1975.

Pruning, Grosset & Dunlap (New York, NY), 1975.

An Album of World War I, F. Watts (New York, NY), 1976.

Indoor Gardening, Grosset & Dunlap (New York, NY), 1976.

Photographing History: The Career of Mathew Brady, Putnam (New York, NY), 1977.

An Album of World War II, F. Watts (New York, NY), 1977.

The Trenches: Fighting on the Western Front in World War I, Putnam (New York, NY), 1978.

Photographing the Frontier, Putnam (New York, NY), 1980.

U.S.-China Relations since World War II, F. Watts (New York, NY), 1981.

An Album of the Seventies, F. Watts (New York, NY), 1981.

The Social Security System, F. Watts (New York, NY), 1982.

The Voyages of Captain Cook, Putnam (New York, NY), 1983.

Joseph Stalin, with an introductory essay by Arthur M. Schlesinger, Chelsea House (New York, NY), 1985.

Cleopatra, Chelsea House (New York, NY), 1986.

Zhou Enlai, with an introductory essay by Arthur M. Schlesinger, Chelsea House (New York, NY), 1986.

Your Right to Privacy, F. Watts (New York, NY), 1987.

Nelson and Winnie Mandela, F. Watts (New York, NY), 1987.

Drugs and Crime, Chelsea House (New York, NY), 1988.

Toussaint L'Ouverture, Chelsea House (New York, NY), 1990.

George Washington and President's Day, pictures by Ronald Miller, Silver Burdett (Englewood Cliffs, NJ), 1990.

Vietnam, Why We Fought: An Illustrated History, Knopf (New York, NY), 1990.

Showa: The Age of Hirohito, Walker (New York, NY), 1990.

(With Hyung Woong Pak) The Pacific Rim, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1990.

Vanished!, Walker (New York, NY), 1991.

Lost Civilizations, Walker (New York, NY), 1992.

Mandela: The Man, the Struggle, the Triumph, F. Watts (New York, NY), 1992.

Confucianism, Facts on File, 1993, revised edition, 2004.

Real American Girls Tell Their Own Stories, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1999.

The Ghost in the Tokaido Inn (novel), Philomel (New York, NY), 1999.

Vanity Rules: A History of American Fashion and Beauty, Millbrook Press (Brookfield, CT), 2000.

The Demon in the Tea House (novel), Philomel (New York, NY), 2001.

We Are Americans: Voices of the Immigrant Experience, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2003.

In Darkness, Death (novel), Philomel (New York, NY), 2004.

The Sword That Cut the Burning Grass (novel), Philomel (New York, NY), 2005.

"HER STORY" SERIES; WITH HUSBAND, THOMAS HOOBLER

Aloha Means Come Back: The Story of a World War II Girl, Silver Burdett (Englewood Cliffs, NJ), 1991.

The Sign Painter's Secret: The Story of a Revolutionary Girl, pictures by Donna Ayers, Silver Burdett (Englewood Cliffs, NJ), 1991.

Next Stop, Freedom: The Story of a Slave Girl, pictures by Cheryl Hanna, Silver Burdett (Englewood Cliffs, NJ), 1991.

Treasure in the Stream: The Story of a Gold Rush Girl, pictures by Nancy Carpenter, Silver Burdett (Englewood Cliffs, NJ), 1991.

And Now, a Word from Our Sponsor: The Story of a Roaring '20s Girl, pictures by Rebecca Leer, Silver Burdett (Englewood Cliffs, NJ), 1992.

A Promise at the Alamo: The Story of a Texas Girl, pictures by Jennifer Hewitson, Silver Burdett (Englewood Cliffs, NJ), 1992.

The Trail on Which They Wept: The Story of a Cherokee Girl, pictures by S. S. Burrus, Silver Burdett (Englewood Cliffs, NJ), 1992.

The Summer of Dreams: The Story of a World's Fair Girl, pictures by Renee Graef, Silver Burdett (Englewood Cliffs, NJ), 1993.

Sally Bradford: The Story of a Rebel Girl, illustrated by Robert Gantt Steele, Silver Burdett (Englewood Cliffs, NJ), 1997.

Julie Meyer: The Story of a Wagon Train Girl, illustrations by Robert Gantt Steele, Silver Burdett (Englewood Cliffs, NJ), 1997.

Priscilla Foster: The Story of a Salem Girl, illustrations by Robert Gantt Steele, Silver Burdett (Englewood Cliffs, NJ), 1997.

Florence Robinson: The Story of a Jazz Age Girl, illustrations by Robert Sauber, Silver Burdett (Englewood Cliffs, NJ), 1997.

"IMAGES ACROSS THE AGES" SERIES; WITH HUSBAND, THOMAS HOOBLER

Chinese Portraits, illustrated by Victoria Bruck, Raintree Steck-Vaughn (Austin, TX), 1993.

Italian Portraits, illustrated by Kim Fujawara, Raintree Steck-Vaughn (Austin, TX), 1993.

Mexican Portraits, illustrated by Robert Kuester, Raintree Steck-Vaughn (Austin, TX), 1993.

African Portraits, Raintree Steck-Vaughn (Austin, TX), 1993.

South American Portraits, illustrated by Stephen Marchesi, Raintree Steck-Vaughn (Austin, TX), 1994.

Russian Portraits, illustrated by John Edens, Raintree Steck-Vaughn (Austin, TX), 1994.

French Portraits, illustrated by Bill Farnsworth, Raintree Steck-Vaughn (Austin, TX), 1994.

Japanese Portraits, illustrated by Victoria Bruck, Raintree Steck-Vaughn (Austin, TX), 1994.

"FAMILY ALBUM" SERIES; WITH HUSBAND, THOMAS HOOBLER

The Chinese-American Family Album, introduction by Bette Bao Lord, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1994.

The Italian-American Family Album, introduction by Mario M. Cuomo, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1994.

The Mexican-American Family Album, introduction by Henry G. Cisneros, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1994.

The Irish-American Family Album, introduction by Joseph P. Kennedy II, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1995.

The African-American Family Album, introduction by Phylicia Rashad, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1995.

The Jewish-American Family Album, introduction by Mandy Patinkin, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1995.

The German-American Family Album, introduction by Werner Klemperer, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1995.

The Japanese-American Family Album, introduction by George Takei, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1996.

The Cuban-American Family Album, introduction by Oscar Hijuelos, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1996.

The Scandinavian-American Family Album, introduction by Hubert H. Humphrey III, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1997.

"CENTURY KIDS" SERIES; WITH HUSBAND, THOMAS HOOBLER

The First Decade: Curtain Going Up, Millbrook Press (Brookfield, CT), 2000.

The Second Decade: Voyages, Millbrook Press (Brookfield, CT), 2000.

The 1920s: Luck, Millbrook Press (Brookfield, CT), 2000.

The 1930s: Directions, Millbrook Press (Brookfield, CT), 2000.

The 1940s: Secrets, Millbrook Press (Brookfield, CT), 2001.

The 1950s: Music, Millbrook Press (Brookfield, CT), 2001.

The 1960s: Rebels, Millbrook Press (Brookfield, CT), 2001.

The 1970s: Arguments, Millbrook Press (Brookfield, CT), 2002.

The 1980s: Earthsong, Millbrook Press (Brookfield, CT), 2002.

Sidelights

Working with her writer husband, Thomas Hoobler, Dorothy Hoobler has compiled an impressive list of publications, some sixty titles of history, biography, and social issues. In two series alone, Silver Burdett's "Her Story" and the multi-cultural "Family Album" collection from Oxford University Press, the Hooblers have created more than two dozen works detailing the fictional lives of girls in America through the ages and presenting a look at various ethnic American groups. The Hooblers' work is characterized by thorough research and clear, jargon-free text. Hoobler once told Something about the Author (SATA): "In writing history, we try to learn enough about a person or event so that we can describe what it was like to live at a certain time, to experience as something new an event that is now 'history.'"

The curiousity of this husband-wife collaborative team has fueled their exploration of the voyages of Captain Cook, life in the trenches of the First World War, and the stone ruins of lost civilizations. Their 1976 An Album of World War I provides an overview of that conflict, charting the progress of hostilities through major battles and important military maneuvers year by year. As a mark of their objective, journalistic approach to history, a Booklist reviewer noted of An Album of World War I that "there is no overt editorializing; statistics are left to speak for themselves." The same reviewer also noted that the book is a "perfectly functional overview" of the Great War.

The Hooblers' interest in military history has also led them to write An Album of World War II as well as a history of the Western Front in World War I called The Trenches. They have also co-written a retrospective of a more recent conflict, titled Vietnam: Why We Fought. Booklist reviewer Stephanie Zvirin called the latter volume "abundantly illustrated" with a "lucid and well-organized text" that is "never dry." The Hooblers begin the work with the political background that led to that controversial war, then follow the progress of the war as well as events in the postwar era to look at the legacies of Vietnam. They also include comments and quotes from military leaders and politicians alike, creating "an accessible, panoramic view that will garner a wide readership," according to Zvirin. Writing in Voice of Youth Advocates, Paula J. Lacey concluded that "this fairly short book is very clear and provides insight into most of the confusing aspects of the war."

Other popular general titles from the Hooblers include works on the history of photography, on drugs, the 1970s, and even archaeology. In Photographing the Frontier they extend an earlier work on U.S. Civil War photographer Matthew Brady to photographers of the American frontier in the second half of the nineteenth century. A Publishers Weekly critic commented in a review of the book that the Hooblers effect "a neat blend of history and photography" that details "in rich text and pictures the saga of adventurous photographers." An Album of the Seventies provides "solid, concise information in clear, easy-to-understand language that never talks down to readers," according to David A. Lindsey in School Library Journal.

The world of archaeology is examined in Lost Civilizations, a look at the facts and fiction surrounding such ancient cultures as Minoan Crete, the Easter Islanders, and the Olmecs, among others. Lola H. Teubert, writing in Voice of Youth Advocates, felt that the separation of fact from fiction in the descriptions of these lost civilizations "will make for lively discussions in history classes," while School Library Journal contributor David N. Pauli felt that the Hooblers' approach will also help young students "understand the value of painstaking archeological research compared to unsubstantiated theories that often downplay human achievements."

Much of the Hooblers' work has been done in biography series that look at multi-cultural America as well as in a group of histories depicting fictional young females in America. One of their earliest in-depth biographies was of Captain James Cook. The Voyages of Captain Cook is "an attractive biography for young adults," according to R. Scott Grabinger writing in the Voice of Youth Advocates. Grabinger went on to explain that the biography is "not overburdened with details, yet gives a good picture of the man and era." Dennis Ford, writing in School Library Journal, noted that "Cook is realistically depicted in this excellent biography" which is comprehensive enough "to appeal even to adult readers." Booklist reviewer Sally Estes concluded that The Voyages of Captain Cook is "a straightforward, informative, and obviously well researched account."

The Hooblers have also written biographies of such other internationally known figures as one-time slave Toussaint L'Ouverture and South African leader Nelson Mandela. In Toussaint L'Ouverture, the Hooblers tell the story of the courageous leader of a slave rebellion in Haiti against the French that was ultimately successful in winning freedom for Haiti. Dona Weisman observed in School Library Journal that students who need to expand their knowledge of black history or the history of the Western hemisphere "will welcome this interesting, easy-to-follow biography." Weisman concluded that the Hooblers' biography is a "clear and readable addition to history collections."

In Mandela: The Man, the Struggle, the Triumph, the Hooblers profile the twentieth-century's most famous political prisoner: Nelson Mandela spent almost three decades in a South African prison for treason before becoming the first elected president of a newly democratic South Africa. Hazel Rochman noted in Booklist that while much of the information offered in the Hooblers' book is available in other biographies as well, theirs is "fair and readable" with "meticulously documented" sources. Janet G. Polachek commented in Voice of Youth Advocates that the "narrative is clean and objective," while Loretta Kreider Andrews concluded in School Library Journal that "the Hooblers' book provides a better overall picture of the man and his role in South Africa" than other comparable biographies of Mandela.

The Hooblers have also compiled mini-biographies of notable world and historical figures in the Steck-Vaughn "Images across the Ages" series. In Chinese Portraits, for example, they document the lives of a dozen men and women ranging from artists to philosophers whose achievements affected not only their own country but also the greater world. Among others profiled in this title are Confucius, poets Li Bo and Du Fu, and politician Lin Xezu who fought the British opium traders. In Italian Portraits, they feature Caesar, Dante, Galileo, Verdi, and Montessori, among others. French Portraits includes essays about Charlemagne, Joan of Arc, Robespierre, Renoir, and Charles de Gaulle, while Russian Portraits offers profiles of Peter and Catherine the Great, Pushkin, Tolstoy, Tchaikovsky, and filmmaker Sergei Eisenstein. Of Chinese Portraits and Italian Portraits, Diane S. Marton remarked in School Library Journal that the short biographies are "interesting" and "anecdotal," and that the chronological organization of the books, together with brief introductions, provides "fascinating glimpses into the long social history of these countries." Reviewing those same books, Booklist critic Carolyn Phelan concluded that the "lively, informative writing makes each volume more readable than most collective biographies."

Multi-ethnic America benefits from the Hoobler approach in Oxford University Press's "Family Album" series. Diaries, oral histories, and letters are all used to paint vivid pictures of the domestic traditions of various ethnic groups. Reviewing The Italian-American Family
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Album
, Marton noted in School Library Journal that the volume has "an enticing open format and is lavishly illustrated with interesting black-and-white photographs." Six chapters detail life in the country of origin, the waves of immigration, and immigrants' efforts to adapt to life in America, and also provide a wealth of detail on recipes, notable Italian Americans, and bits and pieces of history. Much the same organization is employed in other books in the series, including The Cuban-American Family Album, a book dubbed "a good summation of the successful assimilation of Cubans into … American culture," by a Kirkus Reviews critic.

A further series the Hooblers have contributed to is "Her Story" from Silver Burdett, fictional biographies of young women from various historical epochs of America. Reviewing Julie Meyer: The Story of a Wagon Train Girl and Sally Bradford: The Story of a Rebel Girl, Kay Weisman noted in Booklist that the Hooblers "pay close attention to the details of local color," and predicted that "these books will be welcomed by classrooms looking for historical novels."

In 1999 the Hooblers published The Ghost in the Tokaido Inn, their first young-adult mystery novel featuring Judge Ooka, an eighteenth-century figure known as the "Sherlock Holmes of Japan." In series installment The Demon in the Tea House, Judge Ooka attempts to solve a series of murders and fires in the town of Edo. The judge enlists the help of Seikei, his fourteen-year-old adopted son, to spy on a famous geisha who appears to be connected to the crimes. "This is traditional mystery, with a well-conceived plot, authentic clues, and a satisfying conclusion," commented Ilene Cooper in Booklist. The murder of a samurai warlord is the focus of In Darkness, Death, which received the Edgar Allan Poe Award for best young-adult mystery. The only clue to the assassin's identity, an origami butterfly, leads Seiko on a perilous journey to sacred Mount Miwa in the Etchu Province, where he encounters a powerful local ruler and a deadly ninja. In Darkness, Death "is an exciting mystery/historical novel, full of details of the shogun era in Japan," remarked Kliatt reviewer Paula Rohrlick, and Booklist critic Todd Morning described the work as "a great adventure story, featuring lots of action, authentic period details, and an evocative, shadowy atmosphere." The Hooblers continued the adventures of Judge Ooka and Seiko in the 2005 novel The Sword That Cut the Burning Grass.

For the "Century Kids" series, the Hooblers penned ten volumes, one for each decade of the twentieth century. The initial work in the series, The First Decade: Curtain Going Up, introduces the Aldrich clan, a family of actors. In The Second Decade: Voyages, the Aldriches face despair and financial ruin when two family members, who are traveling aboard the doomed Titanic with a large portion of the family fortune, go down with the ship. Reviewing the first two works, Booklist critic Carolyn Phelan called the "Century Kids" series, "an ambitious project that succeeds more as illustration of The Hooblers collect the stories of the many immigrants who have found their way to North America throughout the centuries, from Asians and Africans to this family of Norwegian homesteaders. (From We Are Americans; photograph courtesy of North Dakota Institute for Regional Studies.)period than as fiction, but sometimes satisfies on both counts." Other works include The 1940s: Secrets, which examines life on America's home front during World War II; The 1960s: Rebels, which concerns the tremendous social changes that took place in the United States during that decade; and The 1980s: Earthsong, which follows a group of friends who confront the owner of a factory accused of polluting the environment.

The Hooblers explore other aspects of American history in such works as Vanity Rules: A History of American Fashion and Beauty and We Are Americans: Voices of the Immigrant Experience. In the former, the Hooblers look at changes in clothing, hairstyles, and makeup over the centuries. In School Library Journal, Joyce Adams Burner called Vanity Rules an "entertaining and highly readable volume," while Booklist contributor Phelan described it as "an engaging volume of social history for browsing or research."

We Are Americans surveys the history of immigration to the United States. "Packed with detailed information and moving personal testimonies, the chronological account reveals the comprehensive story of the changing patterns of immigration through the centuries," observed Hazel Rochman in Booklist.

"Increasing our understanding of other people is one of the reasons why we enjoy reading, and writing, his-tory,"Hoobler once told SATA. "It is also one reason why history is so important for young people growing up today, preparing for the twenty-first century. It is clear that all the people of the world have to come to a greater understanding of each other and learn to live with one another in a crowded dangerous world in which misunderstanding could result in a nuclear war that could destroy the world."

Biographical and Critical Sources

PERIODICALS

Booklist, May 15, 1976, review of An Album of World War I, pp. 1336-1337; April 15, 1984, Sally Estes, review of The Voyages of Captain Cook, p. 1159; March 15, 1988, Hazel Rochman, review of Drugs and Crime, p. 1240; December 1, 1990, Stephanie Zvirin, review of Vietnam: Why We Fought, p. 731; May 14, 1992, Hazel Rochman, review of Mandela, p. 1672; July, 1993, Carolyn Phelan, review of Chinese Portraits and Italian Portraits, p. 1954; June 1 & 15, 1997, Kay Weisman, review of Julie Meyer and Sally Bradford, p. 1703; January 1, 1997, p. 836; August, 1997, p. 1900; April 1, 2000, Carolyn Preston, review of Vanity Rules: A History of American Fashion and Beauty, p. 1458; May 1, 2000, Carolyn Phelan, review of The First Decade: Curtain Going Up and The Second Decade: Voyages, p. 1668; April 1, 2001, Kay Weisman, review of The 1940s: Secrets, p. 1483; May 1, 2001, Ilene Cooper, review of The Demon in the Teahouse, p. 1612; January 1, 2004, Hazel Rochman, review of We Are Americans: Voices of the Immigrant Experience, p. 858; May 1, 2004, Todd Morning, review of In Darkness, Death, p. 1495.

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, June, 1980, p. 192.

Horn Book, April, 1984, p. 209; July, 2001, Martha V. Parravano, review of The Demon in the Teahouse, p. 453.

Kirkus Reviews, March 15, 1992, p. 394; November 15, 1996, review of The Cuban American Family Album, p. 1670; June 1, 1999, p. 883; October 15, 2003, review of We Are Americans, p. 1271.

Kliatt, March 15, 2004, review of In Darkness, Death, p. 271.

New York Times Book Review, May 8, 1994, p. 20; December 17, 1995, p. 28.

Publishers Weekly, review of Photographing the Frontier, April 25, 1980, p. 80.

School Library Journal, March, 1982, David A. Lindsey, review of An Album of the Seventies, p. 158; April, 1984, Dennis Ford, review of The Voyages of Captain Cook, p. 124; May, 1988, p. 117; August, 1990, Dona Weisman, review of Toussaint L'Ouverture, p. 170; December, 1990, p. 130; September, 1992, David N. Pauli, review of Lost Civilizations, p. 267; December, 1992, Loretta Kreider Andrews, review of Mandela, p. 139; June, 1993, p. 138; August, 1993, Diane S. Marton, review of Chinese Portraits and Italian Portraits, p. 174; December, 1993, p. 112; July, 1994, Diane S. Marton, review of The Italian American Family Album, p. 110; August, 1997, p. 136; May, 2000, Joyce Adams Burner, review of Vanity Rules, p. 182; July, 2000, Lauralyn Persson, review of The First Decade, p. 105, and Laura Glaser, review of The Second Decade, p. 105; December, 2000, Cyrisse Jaffee, review of The 1920s: Luck, p. 145; May, 2001, Laura Glaser, review of The 1940s: Secrets, p. 154; June, 2001, Barbara Scotto, review of The Demon in the Teahouse, p. 150; November, 2001, Catherine Threadgill, review of The 1950s: Music, p. 158; December, 2003, Carol Fazioli, review of We Are Americans, p. 169; March, 2004, Karen T. Bilton, review of In Darkness, Death, p. 213; October, 2004, Mary N. Oluonye, review of The 1960s: Rebels, p. 66.

Voice of Youth Advocates, June, 1984, T. Scott Grabinger, review of The Voyages of Captain Cook, p. 109; August, 1990, p. 175; October, 1990, Paula J. Lacey, review of Vietnam: Why We Fought, pp. 243-244; December, 1990, p. 314; June, 1992, Janet G. Polachek, review of Mandela, p. 126; February, 1993, Lola H. Teubert, review of Lost Civilizations, p. 370; February, 1995, p. 361.

Thomas Hoobler Biography - Personal, Addresses, Career, Honors Awards, Writings, Sidelights [next] [back] Varnette P. Honeywood Biography - Studied Art as a Child, Founded Black Lifestyles, Collaborated with Bill Cosby, Turned to Monoprinting

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