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Kathleen Benner Duble (1958-) Biography - Personal, Career, Member, Honors Awards, Writings, Work in Progress, Sidelights

review beyond bridging mom

Born 1958, in Fayetteville, NC; Education: Miami University (Oxford, OH), B.A. (international business and creative writing). Hobbies and other interests: Violin.

Career

Writer.

Member

Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators.

Honors Awards

Notable Honor Book designation, International Reading Association, 2002, for Bridging Beyond.

Writings

Bridging Beyond, Philomel (New York, NY), 2002.

Pilot Mom, illustrated by Alan Marks, Charlesbridge Publishing (Watertown, MA), 2003.

The Sacrifice, Margaret K. McElderry Books (New York, NY), 2005.

Hearts of Iron, Margaret K. McElderry Books (New York, NY), 2006.

Contributor to periodicals, including Highlights for Children.

Work in Progress

Sam and the Colonel, for Peachtree Publishers, 2007; a middle-grade book about the Acadians and the Mi'kmag.

Sidelights

Kathleen Benner Duble is the author of several novels for middle-grade readers, including the highly praised Bridging Beyond. Mixing her own family history with a science-fiction premise, Duble introduces readers to fifteen-year-old Anna. While wrestling with guilt over her responsibility in injuring her now-comatose friend Jessica in a drunk-driving accident, Anna moves across the country with her single mom to occupy the home of her recently deceased great grandmother, Mimi. In this new environment, the trouble teen begins to experience trances in which she goes back in time and finds herself part of a younger Mimi's risk-taking crowd of friends.

Describing Bridging Beyond as "an intriguing novel that could be read as science fiction or science theory," Claire Rosser noted in a Kliatt review that Duble depicts "Anna's confusion, guilt and struggle to find answers" with "great compassion and skill." School Library Journal reviewer Francisca Goldsmith wrote that Duble's "eerie tale" effectively uses "the clever and imaginary psychological premise of 'genetic memory'" to create a "fast read," while a Kirkus critic maintained that "Anna's self-obsessed wallowing is realistically portrayed" and effectively offset by the parallel story of "the entrancing young Mimi and the desperate joie de vivre of her "hedonistic pals."

Duble told SATA: "I believe that there are no coincidences in life. 'Chance happenings' are truly not chance at all, but a force constantly driving us to discover the path we were meant to take, the work we were meant to do, and the people we were meant to love. Each of us is led in a direction that will eventually form a circle, complete and miraculous in its fullness.

"I was in the third grade when my teacher, Miss Malone, reviewed a piece of my writing and told me I should think about becoming an author. I thank her daily for having guided me into work that I love.

"In college, I majored in creative writing. My favorite professor, Milton White, was a great inspiration, always challenging me, always pushing me. During one term, he decided to hold a class on writing a romance novel and asked me to participate. I thought it crazy. Why would I want to write a romance novel? Still, out of respect for him, I took the course and had fun. Looking back now, I realize he opened the door for me to know that other avenues of writing existed beyond the great American novel.

"After I was married, my husband and I moved to Boston. I was writing adult short stories but having little luck. My husband met a man whose wife held a children's book critique group weekly. Harkening back to Milton White, I thought, why not? Many thanks go to Jackie French Koller and her little group in Groton, Connecticut. They helped me discover my niche in the writing world, helped me hone my craft, helped me pick my way through the complicated world of publishing.

"My book The Sacrifice involves a story discovered by my father who was researching my family's genealogy. I had grown up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, so it was a surprise when I found I had roots in the very town I was now living in: Andover, Massachusetts. My ancestors were involved in the Salem witch hysteria: My great grandmother was accused and imprisoned for witchcraft when she was ten. As my father and I continued researching, we discovered that this great-grandmother had actually owned the land on which the house I lived in stood. How could I ignore the force that led me to this 'coincidence?' How could I not tell Abigail Faulkner's story?

"Each of my books, each of my stories, is connected in some way to who I am. Pilot Mom is my sister's story, a mother and a tanker pilot who served in the Gulf War. Bridging Beyond is my grandmother's story with her love of music and her recklessness in youth. And my middle-grade novel Hearts of Iron is set around a forge on the mountain where my husband spent his summers. Each of these people are a part of my life. Each 'coincidentally' told me, showed me, or led me to these stories.

"And finally the bond that ties my circle together is my children, Tobey and Liza. Over the years, they have in-
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In Pilot Mom, Jenny Strom visits her military mom's air base and begins to feel more secure regarding Major Strom's safety on an upcoming training mission. (Illustration by Alan Marks.)spired me with their innocence and joy, given me passion for living and working and taught me the strength of love that knows no bounds. They are my greatest miracles."

Biographical and Critical Sources

PERIODICALS

Booklist, July, 2003, Connie Fletcher, review of Pilot Mom, p. 1896; October, 2005, review of The Sacrifice.

Kirkus Reviews, May 15, 2002, review of Bridging Beyond, p. 73; June 15, 2003, review of Pilot Mom, p. 858; October, 2005, review of The Sacrifice.

Kliatt, May, 2002, Claire Rosser, review of Bridging Beyond, p. 9.

Publishers Weekly, July 7, 2003, review of Pilot Mom, p. 72.

School Library Journal, May, 2002, Francisca Goldsmith, review of Bridging Beyond, p. 148; January, 2004, Wanda Meyers-Hines, review of Pilot Mom, p. 97.

Voice of Youth Advocates, June, 2002, review of Bridging Beyond, p. 117.

ONLINE

Kathleen Benner Duble Home Page, http://www.kathleenduble.com (September 17, 2002).

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