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Connie Roop (1951–) Biography - Personal, Career, Member, Honors Awards, Writings, Sidelights

york illustrated scholastic review

(Constance Betzer Roop)

Personal

Born 1951, in Elkhorn, WI; Education: Lawrence University, B.A., 1973; attended University of Wisconsin—Madison and Colorado School of Mines, 1974; Boston College, M.S.T., 1980. Politics: "Independent." Religion: Unitarian-Universalist. Hobbies and other interests: Reading, traveling, camping, sewing, skiing, and activities with her husband and children.

Career

Appleton Area School District, Appleton, WI, science teacher, beginning 1973. Fulbright exchange teacher at Lady Hawkins School, Kingston, England, 1976–77. D.C. Heath Company, consultant, 1986–87; Duquesne University, workshop coordinator, beginning 1986; "Belize Bound" participant, 1997, 1998.

Member

American Association of University Women (chairperson of international relations, 1984–87; issue chairman, 1987–88), National Education Association, Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, Wisconsin Society of Science Teachers, Wisconsin Society of Earth Science Teachers (treasurer, 1987–), Wisconsin Regional Writers, American Field Service, Friends of the Appleton Library (member of board of directors for community nursery school, 1986–87), Wild Ones.

Honors Awards

Children's Choice Award, International Reading Association/Children's Book Council (CBC), 1984, for Out to Lunch! and Space Out!; Children's Book of the Year designation, Child Study Association, 1985, for Keep the Lights Burning, Abbie, and 1986, for Button for General Washington; Irma Simonton Black Award Honor Book, and Children's Book of the Year Award, both from Bank Street College of Education, and Outstanding Trade Book in the Language Arts, National Council of Teachers of English, all 1986, all for Keep the Lights Burning, Abbie; Outstanding Trade Book in the Field of Social Studies designation, National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS)/CBC, 1986, for Buttons for General Washington; Florida Sunshine Award, 1992, for Ahyoka and the Talking Leaves; Wisconsin Library Association Award, and Outstanding Trade Book in the Field of Social Studies designation, NCSS/CBC, both 1993, both for Off the Map: The Journals of Lewis and Clark; Kansas Reading Circle Book award, 1999, for Girl of the Shining Mountains: Sacagawea's Story.

Writings

WITH HUSBAND, PETER ROOP

Keep the Lights Burning, Abbie, illustrated by Peter E. Hanson, Carolrhoda (Minneapolis, MN), 1985.

Buttons for General Washington, illustrated by Peter E. Hanson, Carolrhoda (Minneapolis, MN), 1986.

Snips the Tinker, Milliken, 1988.

Seasons of the Cranes, Walker (New York, NY), 1989.

(Editor) I, Columbus: My Journal, 1492–93, illustrated by Peter E. Hanson, Walker (New York, NY), 1990.

Ahyoka and the Talking Leaves, illustrated by Yoshi Miyake, Lothrop (New York, NY), 1992.

One Earth, a Multitude of Creatures, illustrated by Valerie A. Kells, Walker (New York, NY), 1992.

(Editor) Off the Map: The Journals of Lewis and Clark, illustrated by Tim Tanner, Walker (New York, NY), 1993.

(Editor) Capturing Nature: The Writings and Art of John James Audubon, illustrated by Rick Farley, Walker (New York, NY), 1993.

Pilgrim Voices: Our First Year in the New World, illustrated by Shelley Pritchett, Walker (New York, NY), 1995.

Take Command, Mr. Farragut!, illustrated by Henri Sorensen, Lothrop (New York, NY), 1996.

Westward, Ho, Ho, Ho!, illustrated by Anne Canevari Green, Millbrook Press (Brookfield, CT), 1996.

Walk on the Wild Side!, illustrated by Anne Canevari Green, Millbrook Press (Brookfield, CT), 1997.

Let's Celebrate Christmas, illustrated by Katy Keck Arnsteen, Millbrook Press (Brookfield, CT), 1997.

Let's Celebrate Halloween, illustrated by Katy Keck Arnsteen, Millbrook Press (Brookfield, CT), 1997.

Grace's Letter to Lincoln, illustrated by Stacey Schuett, Hyperion (New York, NY), 1998.

If You Lived with the Cherokee, illustrated by Kevin Smith, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1998.

Martin Luther King, Jr., Heinemann (Chicago, IL), 1998.

Susan B. Anthony, Heinemann (Chicago, IL), 1998.

Brazil, Heinemann (Chicago, IL), 1998.

China, Heinemann (Chicago, IL), 1998.

Egypt, Heinemann (Chicago, IL), 1998.

India, Heinemann (Chicago, IL), 1998.

Israel, Heinemann (Chicago, IL), 1998.

Japan, Heinemann (Chicago, IL), 1998.

Vietnam, Heinemann (Chicago, IL), 1998.

A Home Album, Heinemann (Chicago, IL), 1998.

A City Album, Heinemann (Chicago, IL), 1998.

A Farm Album, Heinemann (Chicago, IL), 1999.

A School Album, Heinemann (Chicago, IL), 1999.

A City, Heinemann (Chicago, IL), 1999.

A Suburb, Heinemann (Chicago, IL), 1999.

A Town, Heinemann (Chicago, IL), 1999.

A Farming Town, Heinemann (Chicago, IL), 1999.

Let's Celebrate Thanksgiving, illustrated by Gwen Connelly, Millbrook Press (Brookfield, CT), 1999.

Let's Celebrate Valentine's Day, illustrated by Katy Keck Arnsteen, Millbrook Press (Brookfield, CT), 1999.

Girl of the Shining Mountains: Sacagawea's Story, Hyperion (New York, NY), 1999.

Good-Bye for Today: The Diary of a Young Girl at Sea, illustrated by Thomas B. Allen, Atheneum (New York, NY), 2000.

Whales and Dolphins, illustrated by Carol Schwartz, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2000.

Let's Celebrate Presidents' Day, illustrated by Gwen Connelly, Millbrook Press (Brookfield, CT), 2001.

Octopus under the Sea, illustrated by Carol Schwartz, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2001.

Let's Celebrate Earth Day, illustrated by Gwen Connelly, Millbrook Press (Brookfield, CT), 2001.

Escape from the Ice: Shackleton and the Endurance, illustrated by Bob Doucet, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2001.

California Gold Rush, Scholastic Reference (New York, NY), 2002.

Starfish: Stars of the Sea, illustrated by Carol Schwartz, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2002.

Take Command, Captain Farragut!, illustrated by Michael McCurdy, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2002.

Let's Celebrate St. Patrick's Day, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2003.

Over in the Rain Forest, illustrated by Carol Schwartz, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2003.

Millions of Monarchs, illustrated by Mike Maydak, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2003.

Louisiana Purchase, illustrated by Sally Wern Comport, Aladdin (New York, NY), 2004.

Holiday Howlers: Jokes for Punny Parties, illustrated by Brian Gable, Carolrhoda (Minneapolis, MN), 2004.

(With Diane L. Burns) Backyard Beasties: Jokes to Snake You Smile, illustrated by Brian Gable, Carolrhoda (Minneapolis, MN), 2004.

The Declaration of Independence, illustrated by Jim Madsen, Aladdin (New York, NY), 2005.

Authors' works have been translated into French and Spanish.

"MAKE ME LAUGH" SERIES; WITH PETER ROOP

Space Out! Jokes about Outer Space, illustrated by Joan Hanson, Lerner (Minneapolis, MN), 1984.

Go Hog Wild! Jokes from down on the Farm, illustrated by Joan Hanson, Lerner (Minneapolis, MN), 1984.

Out to Lunch! Jokes about Food, illustrated by Joan Hanson, Lerner (Minneapolis, MN), 1984.

Stick out Your Tongue! Jokes about Doctors and Patients, illustrated by Joan Hanson, Lerner (Minneapolis, MN), 1986.

Going Buggy! Jokes about Insects, illustrated by Joan Hanson, Lerner (Minneapolis, MN), 1986.

Let's Celebrate! Jokes about Holidays, illustrated by Joan Hanson, Lerner (Minneapolis, MN), 1986.

"GREAT MYSTERIES" SERIES; WITH PETER ROOP

Dinosaurs: Opposing Viewpoints, Greenhaven (San Diego, CA), 1988.

Poltergeists: Opposing Viewpoints, Greenhaven (San Diego, CA), 1988.

The Solar System: Opposing Viewpoints, Greenhaven (San Diego, CA), 1988.

Stonehenge: Opposing Viewpoints, Greenhaven (San Diego, CA), 1989.

"IN THEIR OWN WORDS" SERIES; WITH PETER ROOP

Betsy Ross, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2001.

Sojourner Truth, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2002.

Sitting Bull, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2002.

"IN MY OWN WORDS" SERIES; EDITOR WITH PETER ROOP

The Diary of John Wesley Powell: Conquering the Grand Canyon, illustrated by Laszlo Kubinyi, Benchmark Books (New York, NY), 2001.

The Diary of Joseph Plumb Martin, a Revolutionary War Soldier, illustrated by Laszlo Kubinyi, Benchmark Books (New York, NY), 2001.

The Diary of David R. Leeper: Rushing for Gold, Benchmark Books (New York, NY), 2001.

The Diary of Mary Jemison, Captured by the Indians, Benchmark Books (New York, NY), 2001.

"BEFORE I MADE HISTORY" SERIES; WITH PETER ROOP

Sew What, Betsy Ross?, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2002.

Let's Split Logs, Abe Lincoln!, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2002.

Let's Play Soldier, George Washington!, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2002.

Turn on the Light, Thomas Edison!, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2003.

Let's Fly Wilbur and Orville!, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2003.

Go Fly a Kite, Ben Franklin!, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2003.

Let's Ride, Paul Revere!, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2004.

Let's Drive, Henry Ford!, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2004.

Let's Dream, Martin Luther King, Jr.!, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2004.

Give Me a Sign, Helen Keller!, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2004.

Take a Stand, Rosa Parks!, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2004.

Take a Giant Leap, Neil Armstrong!, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2005.

Thank You, Squanto!, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2005.

Lead Us to Freedom, Harriet Tubman!, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2006.

Sidelights

Together with her husband and collaborator, Peter Roop, Connie Roop enjoys focusing on the lives of actual men and women in the many books she writes for children. Drawing from actual journals as well as sometimes traveling to the locations they write about in their books, the Roops—both former educators—have contributed substantially to the growing number of nonfiction titles designed to capture the imagination of young readers. Among their books are biographies of David Farragut, Sacagawea, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Susan B. Anthony, while other nonfiction titles range from the lighthearted "Let's Celebrate" series describing holiday traditions to the science-based volume One Earth, a Multitude of Creatures.

Born in 1951 in Elkhorn, Wisconsin, Roop was raised in a family where reading was encouraged. "I loved school and was an avid reader," she once explained to SATA, noting that she also "actively participated in everything from bassoon and forensics to scouting where I gained a love for the outdoors." Although her writing skills brought Roop recognition during her middle-school years, she did not consider them significant enough to consider a career as an author. Instead, she fed her natural curiosity; during the summer of her junior year in high school, she traveled to Italy and lived with a family there as an American Field Service student. "This experience confirmed my desire to learn," Roop recalled, "and to discover the uniqueness of different cultures."

Roop enrolled at Lawrence University in 1969, with the intention of becoming a physician. However, a field camp experience changed all that; instead, she decided to study geology. "The vastness of geologic time still humbles me," she noted. Combining her fascination with nature with her empathy for people, Roop decided to go into education, and became a junior-high science teacher. She also married "an equally adventurous and curious person," fellow educator Peter Roop. Together, the Roops took advantage of travel and study opportunities, among them a year's stint teaching in England as part of the Fulbright Exchange Program.

Content with her choice of career, Roop did not branch out into her second career as a children's book author until the late 1970s, while pursuing a master's degree in science teaching at Boston College. "I began to read many of the books assigned to my husband in his master's of children's literature program as a welcome change from [the] science journals [I was required to read for my own degree]. Based on this reading, I developed a fiction booklist to supplement the science curriculum in my junior high school science classes. These scientifically accurate and exciting books provided my entry into the world of writing for children and young adults."

With this grounding in the juvenile nonfiction market, Roop wrote several articles for educational journals and worked as a reviewer and science specialist for Appraisal magazine. From there, she and her husband began their first book-length project, a series of illustrated joke and riddle books that includes Space Out! Jokes about Outer Space and Holiday Howlers: Jokes for Punny Parties.

While researching a travel article off the coast of Maine, the Roops learned the story of a young heroine named Abbie Burgess who, according to local legend, in 1856 singlehandedly kept two lighthouses lit during weeks of stormy weather. The resulting book, Keep the Lights Burning, Abbie, was published in 1985, beginning the Roops' long and prolific writing collaboration. Whereas Buttons for General Washington is a work of fiction, the many other books stemming from the Roops' fascination with exceptional men and women from the past have been nonfiction efforts. They often draw on original writings, as in Pilgrim Voices: Our First Year in the New World and Sojourner Truth, the latter part of Scholastic's "In Their Own Words" series. In Pilgrim Voices the Roops' use of actual writings from the period they profile "contributes authenticity and vitality to the text," in the opinion of Booklist contributor Karen Hutt. In profiling former slave and social reformer Truth, the Roops gather letters, contemporary newspaper accounts, and the text from Truth's famous work Ain't I a Woman? to weave together what Ajoke' T.I. Kokodoko described in School Library Journal as a biography that provides "facts and insights into the woman's character and convictions." Focusing, in another collaboration, on the works of William Bradford and other pilgrims, the Roops modernize the seventeenth-century language but retain the journal format of the original writings in Pilgrim Voices, resulting in a work that "is successful at creating a human sense of history beyond facts and timelines," according to Heide Piehler in a review for School Library Journal.

Other fact-based projects authored by the Roops include series of books profiling nations around the world, as well as the "In My Own Words" series, comprised of edited journals by explorers Lewis and Clark, ornithologist John James Audubon, Indian captive Mary Jemison, and others that are geared for upper-elementary-aged readers. The Diary of Mary Jemison: Captured by the Indians, for example, is based on Jemison's account, as published by James Seaver in 1824, and describes the girl's capture at age twelve and her life with a Seneca tribe. In another series installment, The Diary of David R. Leeper: Rushing for Gold, the Roops bring to life the excitement and hardships of the California gold rush of the late nineteenth century. Noting that the books are "especially appealing in their immediacy," School Library Journal contributor Dona J. Helmer praised the Roops' editing, noting that the "resulting texts are polished readable, and reliable." In Booklist, Carolyn Phelan noted that, due to modernized spellings, a glossary, and informative sidebars, the "In My Own Words" books "look appealing, read well, and carry the conviction of original accounts."

Drawing on her background in science, Roop has also worked with her husband on several titles for Greenhaven Press's "Great Mysteries" series, which explores quandaries still unsolved by scientific methods. "Scientific debate, key to the scientific process, is a critical element of these books," Roop once explained to SATA. "I believe young people need to realize that there are many unanswered questions in science and that they can be part of solving these questions." Among the "Great Mysteries" included in the series are unanswered questions surrounding dinosaurs, poltergeists, and Stonehenge.

Another science-related text, the Roops' One Earth, a Multitude of Creatures profiles a dozen creatures that live in the Pacific Northwest, among them black bears, rainbow trout, foxes, humpback whales, and owls. Illustrated with detailed drawings by Valerie A. Kells, the book outlines the survival chain existing within the region's contained ecosystem, and provides "a gentle, nonpreachy introduction to the interdependence and diversity of animals in an environment," according to Booklist contributor Leone McDermott. Let's Celebrate Earth Day also touches on science as it profiles the history of the holiday started in 1970 and the introduction of concepts such as "endangered species" and started Americans' move toward recycling, composting, and restoring native environments.

The Roops' other nonfiction titles range from studies of the way different people live in A City, A Suburb, and A Town to a series describing holiday traditions in the United States. In Let's Celebrate Valentine's Day, for example, the origins of the February holiday are discussed, and riddles, little-known facts, and Valentine's Day trivia are presented. In addition, heart-shaped cookie recipes, poetry, and holiday activities allow readers to create a special day for those they love. Other holidays included in the series are Halloween, Christmas, and Thanksgiving; praising one series installment, School Library Journal reviewer Patricia Mahoney Brown commented that the "book offers facts and fun from beginning to end…. This is no trick; it's a treat!"

"I look forward to writing projects on a variety of topics as my involvement with science, literature, history, and reading continues," Roop once wrote. "Peter and I are committed to children. I hope to always be able to look at the world with the eyes of a young person—full of fresh wonder, awe, and surprise. I am hopeful that through our books we can help young people discover the joy of learning. This is a precious gift that Peter and I possess and treasure and hope to share with others."

Biographical and Critical Sources

PERIODICALS

Booklist, November 15, 1992, Leone McDermott, review of One Earth, a Multitude of Creatures, p. 603; September 1, 1993, Carolyn Phelan, review of Off the Map: The Journals of Lewis and Clark, pp. 54-55; February 1, 1996, Karen Hutt, review of Pilgrim Voices: Our First Year in the New World, p. 929; December 15, 1996, p. 723; September 1, 1997, p. 137; February 14, 1999, p. 1073; June 1, 2000, Gillian Engberg, review of Good-Bye for Today: The Diary of a Young Girl at Sea, p. 1897; February 15, 2001, Carolyn Phelan, review of The Diary of David R. Leeper: Rush for Gold and The Diary of Mary Jemison: Captured by Indians, p. 1133; May 1, 2001, Kay Weisman, review of Let's Celebrate Earth Day, p. 1687; April 15, 2002, Carolyn Phelan, review of Take Command, Captain Farragut!, p. 1400; February 15, 2003, Hazel Rochman, review of Sojourner Truth, p. 1082.

Kirkus Reviews, January 15, 2002, review of Take Command, Captain Farragut!, p. 107.

Publishers Weekly, May 17, 1993, review of Off the Map: The Journals of Lewis and Clark, p. 82; September 18, 1995, p. 92; October 6, 1997, p. 52; June 19, 2000, review of Good-Bye for Today, p. 80; May 20, 2002, review of Take Command, Captain Farragut!, p. 70.

School Library Journal, December, 1992, p. 107; June, 1993, p. 122; January, 1996, Heide Piehler, review of Pilgrim Voices, p. 125; August, 1997, Patricia Mahoney Brown, review of Let's Celebrate Valentine's Day, p. 150; April, 1999, p. 122; December, 2000, Sue Sherif, review of Good-Bye for Today, p. 124; March, 2001, Dona J. Helmer, review of The Diary of David R. Leeper, p. 276; April, 2002, Carolyn Janssen, review of Take Command, Captain Farragut!, p. 140; July, 2003, Ajoke' T.I. Kokodoko, review of Sojourner Truth, p. 148; April, 2004, Cynde Suite, review of Holiday Howlers: Jokes for Punny Parties, p. 142; June, 2005, Ann Joslin, review of Louisiana Purchase, p. 142.

ONLINE

Peter and Connie Roop Home Page, http://www.author-illustr-source.com/ (January 3, 2006).

Peter Roop (1951–) Biography - Personal, Career, Member, Honors Awards, Writings, Sidelights [next] [back] Daphne (Marie) Rooke Biography - Daphne Rooke comments:

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