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Dana Meachen Rau (1971–) Biography - Personal, Career, Member, Honors Awards, Writings, Sidelights

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Born 1971, in CT; Education: Trinity College (Hartford, CT), B.A., 1993. Hobbies and other interests: Reading, watching movies, knitting, playing with her children.

Career

Children's book writer and editor.

Member

Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, Phi Beta Kappa.

Honors Awards

Trumbull (CT) Arts Festival Literary Competition first-place award, 1993, for story "The Date," and honorable mentions, 1996, for stories "The Traveler" and "Delusions of Grandeur"; International Reading Association/Children's Book Council Children's Choice designation, 1998, for A Box Can Be Many Things; Booklist Top-Ten Sci-Tech Books, 2002, for A Star in My Orange; Learning magazine Teachers' Choice designation, 2004, for "Our Solar System" series; Association of Educational Publishers Distinguished Achievement award finalist, 2005, for The Amazing Body: The Five Senses.

Writings

FOR CHILDREN

Robin at Hickory Street, illustrated by Joel Snyder, Soundprints (Norwalk, CT), 1995.

One Giant Leap: The First Moon Landing, illustrated by Thomas Buchs, Soundprints, 1996.

A Box Can Be Many Things, illustrated by Paige Billin-Frye, Children's Press (New York, NY), 1997.

Undersea City: A Story of a Caribbean Coral Reef, illustrated by Katie Lee, Soundprints (Norwalk, CT),1997.

Arctic Adventure: Inuit Life in the 1800s, illustrated by Peg Magovern, Soundprints (Norwalk, CT), 1997.

The Secret Code, illustrated by Bari Weissman, Children's Press (New York, NY), 1998.

(Self-illustrated) Bob's Vacation, Children's Press (New York, NY), 1999.

Circle City, illustrated by Susan Miller, Children's Press (New York, NY), 1999.

Panama, Children's Press (New York, NY), 1999.

Purple Is Best, illustrated by Mike Cressy, Children's Press (New York, NY), 1999.

(With Christopher Rau) George Lucas: Creator of Star Wars, Franklin Watts (New York, NY), 1999.

Explore in a Cave, photographs by Romie Flanagan, Rourke Press (Vero Beach, FL), 2000.

Christmas, Children's Press (New York, NY), 2000.

Chanukah, Children's Press (New York, NY), 2000.

Feet, illustrated by Rick Stromoski, Children's Press (New York, NY), 2000.

Hands, illustrated by Rick Stromoski, Children's Press (New York, NY), 2000.

Kwanzaa, Children's Press (New York, NY), 2000.

New Year's Day, Children's Press (New York, NY), 2000.

(Self-illustrated) My Book by Me, Children's Press (New York, NY), 2000.

Stroll by the Sea, Rourke Press (Vero Beach, FL), 2000.

Thanksgiving, Children's Press (New York, NY), 2000.

Chilly Charlie, illustrated by Martin Lemelman, Children's Press (New York, NY), 2001.

Climb up a Mountain, photographs by Romie Flanagan, Rourke Press (Vero Beach, FL), 2001.

Clown Around, illustrated by Nate Evans, Compass Point Books (Minneapolis, MN), 2001.

Favorite Foods, illustrated by Grace Lin, Compass Point Books (Minneapolis, MN), 2001.

Halloween, Children's Press (New York, NY), 2001.

Harriet Tubman, Compass Point Books (Minneapolis, MN), 2001.

Harry Houdini: Master Magician, Franklin Watts (New York, NY), 2001.

Hats!, illustrated by Paul Harvey, Compass Point Books (Minneapolis, MN), 2001.

In the Yard, illustrated by Elizabeth Wolf, Compass Point Books (Minneapolis, MN), 2001.

Lots of Balloons, illustrated by Jayoung Choi, Compass Point Books (Minneapolis, MN), 2001.

Marie Curie, Compass Point Books (Minneapolis, MN), 2001.

Martin Luther King, Jr., Day, Children's Press (New York, NY), 2001.

Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, Children's Press (New York, NY), 2001.

Shoo Crow! Shoo!, illustrated by Mary Rojas, Compass Point Books (Minneapolis, MN), 2001.

So Many Sounds, illustrated by Kristin Sorra, Children's Press (New York, NY), 2001.

Splash in a Pond, Rourke Press (Vero Beach, FL), 2001.

Uncle's Bakery, illustrated by Janie Baskin, Compass Point Books (Minneapolis, MN), 2001.

Valentine's Day, Children's Press (New York, NY), 2001.

Visit the Desert, photographs by Romie Flanagan, Rourke Press (Vero Beach, FL), 2001.

Walk in the Woods, photographs by Romie Flanagan, Rourke Press (Vero Beach, FL), 2001.

Ways to Go, illustrated by Jane Conteh-Morgan, Compass Point Books (Minneapolis, MN), 2001.

Wonderful Things, illustrated by Viki Woodworth, Compass Point Books (Minneapolis, MN), 2001.

Australia, Smart Apple Media (Mankato, MN), 2002.

I'll Make You a Card, illustrated by Jan Bryan-Hunt, Compass Point Books (Minneapolis, MN), 2002.

"Ladies and Gentlemen!", illustrated by Jim Caputo, Compass Point Books (Minneapolis, MN), 2002.

Life on the Oregon Trail, Kidhaven Press (San Diego, CA), 2002.

Look down Low, illustrated by Bernard Adnet, Compass Point Books (Minneapolis, MN), 2002.

Making Music, illustrated by Maureen Ivy Fisher, Compass Point Books (Minneapolis, MN), 2002.

Mount Rushmore, Compass Point Books (Minneapolis, MN), 2002.

My Red Rowboat, illustrated by Miriam Sagasti, Compass Point Books (Minneapolis, MN), 2002.

Pet Your Pet, illustrated by Jeffrey Scherer, Compass Point Books (Minneapolis, MN), 2002.

Rubber Duck, illustrated by Patrick Girouard, Compass Point Books (Minneapolis, MN), 2002.

Say "Hi!" up High, illustrated by Mike Dammer, Compass Point Books (Minneapolis, MN), 2002.

A Star in My Orange: Looking for Nature's Shapes, Millbrook Press (Brookfield, CT), 2002.

The Statue of Liberty, Compass Point Books (Minneapolis, MN), 2002.

Uncle's Bakery, illustrated by Janie Baskin, Compass Point Books (Minneapolis, MN), 2002.

Yahoo for You, illustrated by Cary Pillo, Compass Point Books (Minneapolis, MN), 2002.

Albert Einstein, Compass Point Books (Minneapolis, MN), 2003.

Dr. Seuss, Children's Press (New York, NY), 2003.

Frederick Douglass, Compass Point Books (Minneapolis, MN), 2003.

George Armstrong Custer, Compass Point Books (Minneapolis, MN), 2003.

The Moon, Compass Point Books (Minneapolis, MN), 2003.

Moon Walk, illustrated by Thomas Buchs, Soundprints (Norwalk, CT), 2003.

Neil Armstrong, Children's Press (New York, NY), 2003.

Neptune, Compass Point Books (Minneapolis, MN), 2003.

My Special Space, Children's Press (New York, NY), 2003.

Tired of Waiting, illustrated by Brad Fitzpatrick, Picture Window Books (Minneapolis, MN), 2004.

North America, Child's World (Chanhassen, MN), 2004.

Iraq, Benchmark Books (New York, NY), 2004.

Antarctica, Child's World (Chanhassen, MN), 2004.

I Am in Charge of Me, illustrated by Shirley Beckes, Picture Window Books (Minneapolis, MN), 2005.

The Harlem Renaissance, Compass Point Books ("We the People" series), Compass Point Books (Minneapolis, MN), 2005.

Great Women of the Suffrage Movement, Compass Point Books (Minneapolis, MN), 2005.

Sounds like Fun, illustrated by Marcelo Elizalde, Picture Window Books (Minneapolis, MN), 2005.

(With Jonatha A. Brown) Pennsylvania, Gareth Stevens (Milwaukee, WI), 2005.

Let's Share, illustrated by Béatrice Favereau, Picture Window Books (Minneapolis, MN), 2005.

The Whale in the Water, Marshall Cavendish Benchmark (New York, NY), 2005.

Stickers, Shells, and Snow Globes, illustrated by Claude Thivierge, Picture Window Books (Minneapolis, MN), 2005.

The Robin in the Tree, Marshall Cavendish Benchmark (New York, NY), 2006.

The Lion in the Grass, Marshall Cavendish Benchmark (New York, NY), 2006.

The Butterfly in the Sky, Marshall Cavendish Benchmark (New York, NY), 2006.

Andrew Carnegie: Captain of Industry, Compass Point Books (Minneapolis, MN), 2006.

The Frog in the Pond, Marshall Cavendish Benchmark (New York, NY), 2006.

Flying, Marshall Cavendish Benchmark (Tarrytown, NY), 2006.

Floating, Marshall Cavendish Benchmark (New York, NY), 2006.

Elizabeth Dole: Public Servant and Senator, Compass Point Books (Minneapolis, MN), 2006.

Driving, Marshall Cavendish Benchmark (New York, NY), 2006.

Climbing, Marshall Cavendish Benchmark (New York, NY), 2006.

Rolling, Marshall Cavendish Benchmark (New York, NY), 2006.

Riding, Marshall Cavendish Benchmark (New York, NY), 2006.

"OUR SOLAR SYSTEM" SERIES

The Solar System, Compass Point Books (Minneapolis, MN), 2001.

Mars, Compass Point Books (Minneapolis, MN), 2002.

Mercury, Compass Point Books (Minneapolis, MN), 2002.

Saturn, Compass Point Books (Minneapolis, MN), 2002.

Venus, Compass Point Books (Minneapolis, MN), 2002.

Jupiter, Compass Point Books (Minneapolis, MN),2002.

Comets, Asteroids, and Meteoroids, Compass Point Books (Minneapolis, MN), 2003.

Earth, Compass Point Books (Minneapolis, MN), 2003.

Pluto, Compass Point Books (Minneapolis, MN), 2003.

Space Exploration, Compass Point Books (Minneapolis, MN), 2003.

The Sun, Compass Point Books (Minneapolis, MN), 2003.

Uranus, Compass Point Books (Minneapolis, MN), 2003.

The International Space Station, Compass Point Books (Minneapolis, MN), 2005.

Constellations, Compass Point Books (Minneapolis, MN), 2005.

Black Holes, Compass Point Books (Minneapolis, MN), 2005.

The Milky Way and Other Galaxies, Compass Point Books (Minneapolis, MN), 2005.

Space Walks, Compass Point Books (Minneapolis, MN), 2005.

"WHAT'S INSIDE ME" SERIES

My Skin, Benchmark Books (New York, NY), 2004.

My Bones and Muscles, Benchmark Books (New York, NY), 2004.

My Stomach, Benchmark Books (New York, NY), 2005.

My Lungs, Benchmark Books (New York, NY), 2005.

My Heart and Blood, Benchmark Books (New York, NY), 2005.

My Brain, Benchmark Books (New York, NY), 2005.

"VERBS IN ACTION" SERIES

Grow Up, Benchmark Books (New York, NY), 2005.

Fall Down, Benchmark Books (New York, NY), 2005.

Dig In, Benchmark Books (New York, NY), 2005.

On the Run, Benchmark Books (New York, NY), 2005.

Spring Out, Benchmark Books (New York, NY), 2005.

Spin Around, Benchmark Books (New York, NY), 2005.

Play Ball, Benchmark Books (New York, NY), 2006.

Move Along, Benchmark Books (New York, NY), 2006.

Make a Face, Benchmark Books (New York, NY), 2006.

Carry On, Benchmark Books (New York, NY), 2006.

Blow Out, Benchmark Books (New York, NY), 2006.

Turn Into, Benchmark Books (New York, NY), 2006.

"GAMES AROUND THE WORLD" SERIES

Jump Rope, Compass Point Books (Minneapolis, MN), 2005.

Chess, Compass Point Books (Minneapolis, MN), 2005.

Card Games, Compass Point Books (Minneapolis, MN), 2005.

Spinning Toys, Compass Point Books (Minneapolis, MN), 2005.

"MONEY AND BANKS" SERIES

The History of Money, Weekly Reader Early Learning Library (Milwaukee, WI), 2005.

Coins, Weekly Reader Early Learning Library (Milwaukee, WI), 2005.

Saving Money, Weekly Reader Early Learning Library (Milwaukee, WI), 2005.

Paper Money, Weekly Reader Early Learning Library (Milwaukee, WI), 2005.

What Is a Bank?, Weekly Reader Early Learning Library (Milwaukee, WI), 2005.

Spending Money, Weekly Reader Early Learning Library (Milwaukee, WI), 2005.

"AMAZING BODY" SERIES

Soft and Smooth, Rough and Bumpy: A Book about Touch, Picture Window Books (Minneapolis, MN), 2005.

Sniff, Sniff: A Book about Smell, Picture Window Books (Minneapolis, MN), 2005.

Shhh …: A Book about Hearing, Picture Window Books (Minneapolis, MN), 2005.

Look!: A Book about Sight, illustrated by Rick Peterson, Picture Window Books (Minneapolis, MN), 2005.

Yum!: A Book about Taste, illustrated by Rick Peterson, Picture Window Books (Minneapolis, MN), 2005.

"AMAZING SCIENCE" SERIES

Spots of Light: A Book about Stars, illustrated by Denise Shea, Picture Window Books (Minneapolis, MN), 2006.

Spinning in Space: A Book about the Planets, illustrated by Denise Shea, Picture Window Books (Minneapolis, MN), 2006.

Space Leftovers: A Book about Comets, Asteroids, and Meteoroids, illustrated by Denise Shea, Picture Window Books (Minneapolis, MN), 2006.

Night Light: A Book about the Moon, illustrated by Denise Shea, Picture Window Books (Minneapolis, MN), 2006.

Hot and Bright: A Book about the Sun, illustrated by Denise Shea, Picture Window Books (Minneapolis, MN), 2006.

Fluffy, Flat, and Wet: A Book about Clouds, illustrated by Denise Shea, Picture Window Books (Minneapolis, MN), 2006.

"INSIDE STORY" SERIES

Igloo, Marshall Cavendish Benchmark (New York, NY), 2006.

Castle, Marshall Cavendish Benchmark (New York, NY), 2006.

Skyscraper, Marshall Cavendish Benchmark (New York, NY), 2006.

Pyramid, Marshall Cavendish Benchmark (New York, NY), 2006.

Teepee, Marshall Cavendish Benchmark (New York, NY), 2006.

Log Cabin, Marshall Cavendish Benchmark (New York, NY), 2006.

"SHAPE OF THE WORLD" SERIES

Circles, Marshall Cavendish Benchmark (Tarrytown, NY), 2006.

Rectangles, Marshall Cavendish Benchmark (New York, NY), 2006.

Ovals, Marshall Cavendish Benchmark (New York, NY), 2006.

Many-sided Shapes, Marshall Cavendish Benchmark (New York, NY), 2006.

Triangles, Marshall Cavendish Benchmark (New York, NY), 2006.

Squares, Marshall Cavendish Benchmark (New York, NY), 2006.

OTHER

Wall (play), produced in Hartford, CT, 1993.

Also author of short stories for adults.

Sidelights

Dana Meachen Rau is an editor as well as a prolific author of fiction and nonfiction for younger readers. In her work as a book editor, Rau once explained to SATA, "I coordinate the entire book process and collaborate with a diverse group of authors and illustrators." She also writes stories for children of all ages during her free time, specializing in fictional tales for beginning readers and elementary-grade nonfiction covering a range of topics, including biographies and the books in her "Amazing Body," "Shape of the World," and "Games around the World" series.

The world of make believe plays a large role in much of Rau's fiction, such as A Box Can Be Many Things, in which a discarded cardboard box sets the stage for a series of new adventures for two young children. Praising A Box Can Be Many Things, Carolyn Phelan wrote in Booklist that Rau's beginning reader "will appeal to imaginative preschoolers" as well as to children in the early elementary grades. Other easy readers include Shoo, Crow! Shoo!, a story about two children's efforts to make a scarecrow that was praised by Phelan for its "cheerful tone." The game-filled day spent by a boy and his tubby toy is the subject of Rubber Duck, wherein the illustrations by Patrick Girouard "add to the playfulness of the text," according to School Library Journal reviewer Janie Schomberg.

The world of imagination is also central to Rau's nonfiction biography Harry Houdini: Master Magician, which profiles the life of the most famous escape artist of the early twentieth century. Born in Budapest in 1914, Houdini became a trapeze artist before enthralling audiences with his escapes from handcuffs, ropes, and straitjackets while locked in boxes, suspended in mid-air, or immersed underwater. Noting that Rau draws on Houdini's actual records, School Library Journal contributor Edith Ching cited Harry Houdini as "well researched" and noted that the book serves as "a useful resource for reports."

In The Solar System, part of the "Our Solar System" series designed for grades two and three, Rau brings readers on a tour of the planets surrounding Earth, as well as discussing meteors, comets, moons, and the possibilities that exist beyond the solar system. The "intellectually stimulating" series was praised by School Library Journal reviewer John Peters for providing enough information to engage budding scholars "without overwhelming them." Discussing Rau's other contributions to the series, which includes Black Holes, The International Space Station, and The Milky Way and Other Galaxies in addition to profiles of each planet in Earth's solar system, Peters awarded the books "high marks for visual appeal" and praised Rau for her "clear, specific presentation" of scientific topics. Reviewing Rau's volumes on Jupiter, Mars, and Mercury, the reviewer also wrote that "the level of detail is nicely calibrated to inform and fascinate readers."

With its more down-to-earth focus, The Statue of Liberty pairs color photographs with Rau's "clear and concise" explanation of New York's Lady Liberty and how she came to be, according to Dorcas Hand in School Library Journal. Moving from man-made art to the wonders of nature, A Star in My Orange serves as an "interesting introduction" to the art of observation, according to David J. Whitin in Teaching Children Mathematics. In the well-illustrated book, which features brilliantly colored photographs, Rau reveals the wealth of stars, spirals, hexagons, and other shapes and common formations that occur in nature. In her Booklist review, Phelan deemed the book "well-designed and effective," while in School Library Journal Jessica Snow wrote that A Star in My Orange presents parents with the opportunity to take children "on a journey of discovery in the natural world."

"I have always thought that one of the most important things an author can have is an active imagination," Rau once told SATA. "When I was little, my brother and I always used our imaginations. We pretended our beds were pirate ships, and the hallway was a bowling alley. The best creation of all was setting up the boxes in the basement to look like a palace!

"Now that I am an adult, I find that I am still always using my imagination. I pretend that driving my car is a roller coaster ride. I pretend that a walk in the woods is a safari adventure. When I look around my [home], I still pretend that I live in a palace!"

Biographical and Critical Sources

PERIODICALS

Booklist, October 15, 1996, Hazel Rochman, review of One Giant Leap, p. 419; May 1, 1997, Carolyn Phelan, review of A Box Can Be Many Things, p. 1504; December 1, 1999, Ilene Cooper, review of Purple Is Best, p. 716; April 15, 2001, Hazel Rochman, review of Chilly Charlie, p. 1569; July, 2001, Carolyn Phelan, review of Shoo, Grow! Shoo!, p. 2023; February 1, 2002, Carolyn Phelan, review of A Star in My Orange: Looking for Nature's Shapes, p. 944; May 1, 2002, Ilene Cooper, review of Yahoo for You, p. 1535; May 15, 2002, Carolyn Phelan, review of Venus and Jupiter, p. 1596; July, 2002, John Peters, review of Mars and Mercury, p. 110; June 1, 2003, Lauren Peterson, review of Neil Armstrong, p. 1800; October 15, 2005, Stephanie Zvirin, review of What Is a Bank?, p. 78.

School Library Journal, January, 2001, Ellen Heath, review of Explore in a Cave and Climb up a Mountain, p. 122; February, 2001, John Peters, review of The Solar System, p. 111; August, 2001, Melinda Piehler, review of Hats!, and Laura Scott, review of Shoo, Crow! Shoo!, p. 158; September, 2001, Laura Scott, review of My Favorite Foods, p. 204, Edith Ching, review of Harry Houdini, p. 252; January, 2002, Dorcas Hand, review of The Statue of Liberty, p. 118; February, 2002, Janie Schomberg, review of Lots of Balloons, p. 111; March, 2002, Janie Schomberg, review of Rubber Duck, p. 200; May, 2002, Jessica Snow, review of A Star in My Orange, p. 143; August, 2002, Mary Ann Carcich, review of I'll Make You a Card, p. 165; September, 2002, Andrew Medlar, review of Life on the Oregon Trail, p. 217; August, 2003, Maryann H. Owen, review of Dr. Seuss, p. 151; October, 2003, review of Jupiter, Mars, and Mercury, p. S27; February, 2004, Jennifer England, review of Frederick Douglass, p. 136; February, 2005, Melinda Piehler, review of Tired of Waiting, p. 94, and Christine E. Carr, review of My Bones and Muscles, p. 126; August, 2005, John Peters, review of Black Holes, p. 116.

Teaching Children Mathematics, March, 2004, David J. Whitin, review of A Star in My Orange, p. 382.

Margaret Rau (1913–) Biography - Personal, Career, Member, Honors Awards, Writings, Sidelights [next]

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