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

york illustrated children scholastic

(Peter G. Roop)

Personal

Born 1951, in Winchester, MA; Education: Lawrence University, B.A., 1973; Simmons College, M.A., 1980; also attended University of Wisconsin—Madison. Politics: Democrat. Religion: Unitarian-Universalist. Hobbies and other interests: Reading, traveling, speaking to educators, librarians, and writers, playing with his children.

Career

Appleton Area School District, Appleton, WI, teacher, 1973–99; writer, beginning 1977. Fulbright exchange teacher at Kingston County Primary School, Kingston, England, 1976–77; University of Wisconsin-Fox Valley, Menasha, instructor, 1983–84; University of Wisconsin, School of the Arts, Rhinelander, instructor, 1986–87. Workshop coordinator, Duquesne University, 1986–99; D.C. Heath Company, consultant, 1986–87; Learning magazine, teacher consultant, 1988–99. Member of board directors, Friends of the Appleton Public Library, 1974–84, and board of trustees, Appleton Public Library, 1983–89.

Member

Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, National Education Association, Wisconsin Regional Writers (president, 1983–86), Authors and Illustrators Who Visit Schools, Council for Wisconsin Writers.

Honors Awards

Jade Ring Award, Wisconsin Regional Writers Association, 1979, for play Who Buries the Funeral Director?, and 1982, for The Cry of the Conch; Reading Teacher of the Year award, Mideast Wisconsin Reading Council, 1983; Children's Choice Award, International Reading Association/Children's Book Council (CBC), 1985, for Out to Lunch! and Space Out!; Child Study Association Children's Books of the Year, 1985, for Keep the Lights Burning, Abbie, and 1986, for Buttons for General Washington; Teacher of the Year, and Outstanding Elementary Educator for Wisconsin, both from Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, both 1986; named Outstanding Elementary Educator in Appleton, Mielke Foundation, 1986; Children's Book of the Year Award, and Irma Simonton Black Award Honor Book, both from Bank Street College, 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, National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS)/CBC, 1986, for Buttons for General Washington; In Honor of Excellence Award, Burger King Corp., 1987, for excellence in education; Florida Sunshine Award, 1992, for Ahyoka and the Talking Leaves; Wisconsin Library Association Award, and Outstanding Trade Book in the Field of Social Studies, NCSS/CBC, both 1993, both for Off the Map: The Journals of Lewis and Clark; finalist for Storyteller Award, Western Writers of America, 1996, for The Buffalo Jump; Kansas Reading Circle Book award, 1999, for Girl of the Shining Mountains: Sacagawea's Story.

Writings

FOR CHILDREN

The Cry of the Conch, illustrated by Patric, Press Pacifica, 1984.

Little Blaze and the Buffalo Jump, illustrated by Jesse Wells, Montana Council for Indian Education, 1984, published as The Buffalo Jump, Northland Press, 1996.

Sik-Ki-Mi, illustrated by Shawn Running Crane, Montana Council for Indian Education, 1984.

Natosi: Strong Medicine, illustrated by Shawn Running Crane, Montana Council for Indian Education, 1984.

WITH WIFE, CONNIE 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 CONNIE 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 CONNIE 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 CONNIE 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 CONNIE ROOP

The Diary of John Wesley Powell: Conquering the Grand Canyon, illustrated by Laszlo Kubinyi, Benchmank 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 CONNIE 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

Peter Roop credits his years spent working in elementary school classrooms as "one of the prime motivations for my writing for children. When I began my career in education, teaching grades one through four, I was reading numerous children's books," he once explained to Readers follow a young man on his trip west during the California gold rush in The Diary of David R. Leeper: Rushing for Gold, an actual mid-nineteenth-century journal edited by the Roops. (Illustration by Laszlo Kubinyi.)SATA. "I said to myself, 'I can write these stories.' Little then did I realize the scope of children's literature and the skills it would take to write quality stories for children. The 'easy' appearance of many children's books hides the hours of hard work involved in creating a worthwhile book for young readers." Together with his wife, Connie Roop, Roop has invested those hours, producing such highly praised books as Grace's Letter to Lincoln, Buttons for General Washington, and numerous other works of nonfiction. In addition, the Roops have edited actual journals of such individuals as Christopher Columbus, Indian captive Mary Jemison, and several of the Pilgrim immigrants who founded New England's Plymouth Colony, sometimes traveling to the locations featured in their books to bring past lives to life. Other works by the Roops include biographies of Sacagawea, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Susan B. Anthony, as well as a collection of lighthearted joke and riddle books.

Born in Winchester, Massachusetts, in 1951, Roop attended Lawrence University. After graduating in 1973, he married fellow Lawrence University student Connie Betzer and began a teaching career. Although he had talked about doing some writing for children his students' age, he did not set pen to paper until he was inspired to do so while teaching in England as a Fulbright exchange teacher in 1976. "I decided to stop talking and start writing," Roop once noted. "That year I wrote four children's stories and articles, two of which were eventually published in magazines. My route to writing children's books was focused first on writing for the many children's magazines. By taking this approach I hoped to gain the necessary background in the profession, to hone my writing skills, and to establish a name in preparation for writing my books."

In 1980 Roop earned a master's degree at Simmons College's Center for the Study of Children's Literature. "The work at Simmons was pivotal in my understanding of children's literature and in writing for children," he explained, counting among his favorite teachers fellow children's authors Nancy Bond and Scott O'Dell. In fact, O'Dell's work—especially Island of the Blue Dolphins—Roop counts as "the mainstay of my perspective on writing for children. O'Dell's style, sensitivity, and adept mixing of history and fiction are models for my own writing efforts."

After Roop had been writing for magazines for several years, he published his first book, The Cry of the Conch, in 1984. This story about ancient Hawai'i was followed by three books for the Blackfeet Indian Nation: Little Blaze and the Buffalo Jump, Sik-Ki-Mi, and Natosi: Strong Medicine. Little Blaze and the Buffalo Jump, originally published by the Montana Council for Indian Education in 1984, was republished as The Buffalo Jump in 1996. Focusing on a young runner of the Blackfeet Indian tribe, Roop's story describes the manner in which Montana's Native American tribes hunted buffalo by using a decoy to lead them over a steep cliff to their death. In School Library Journal, contributor Celia A. Huffman called Roop's story "well-researched" and "compelling," praised its "engaging main character," and noted that The Buffalo Jump "recreates and important part of Native American history and livelihood." While less enthusiastic about Roop's "romanticizing" of his Native American characters, a reviewer for Publishers Weekly also had praise for the work, noting that it "keeps alive the memory of a traditional Native American practice."

In 1985 Roop began his long-running collaboration with his wife, Connie, who also worked as a teacher of elementary-age children. "Inspired by a walk along the coast of Maine, we wrote a joke and riddle book about the seashore," Roop recalled. This first effort, while not published, developed into other similar books that include such wacky titles as Space Out! Jokes about Outer Space, Going Buggy! Jokes about Insects, and Backyard Beasties: Jokes to Snake You Smile.

One of the reasons the Roops' books are so popular with readers is that they feature young people of history, "children who, like Abbie, are 'footnotes in his-tory,'" according to Roop. "By researching and writing these heroic stories, we hope to provide children with an exciting glimpse into the past." In fact, it has been Roop's personal interest in history—an interest he shares with his wife—that has inspired most of his writing, even from the start of his career. "As a writer on assignment for Cobblestone, a history magazine, I researched and wrote about topics ranging from the origins of Native Americans to the creation of video games," Roop noted. These Cobblestone assignments inspired several books, including Girl of the Shining Mountains: Sacagawea's Story and Good-Bye for Today: The Diary of a Young Girl at Sea, the story of nine-year-old Laura Jernegan who leaves her home to sail with her father aboard his whaling ship in the Arctic Ocean. In a Publishers Weekly review of Good-Bye for Today a contributor wrote that "careful research underpins this intriguing tale," while Booklist reviewer Gillian Engberg noted that by creating a "believable first-person voice" and telling their story in a diary format, the Roops "convey the often dangerous life" endured by those at sea during the nineteenth century.

In the fictional letters that comprise Take Command, Captain Farragut! the Roops bring to life a boy that is more than a footnote in history; distinguished Admiral David Glasgow Farragut, who captured New Orleans during the U.S. Civil War, began his sailing career at age ten. Sometimes overlooked in Farragut's later military accomplishments is the fact that, as a boy he swiftly rose through the ranks to become captain of the U.S. Navy vessel Essex during the war of 1812. Farragut, who was only twelve when the captaincy was thrust upon him, was ultimately captured by the British, and the Roops frame their biography as a series of letters written by thirteen-year-old David to his father while the teen was a British captive held in Valparaiso, Chile. While noting that the book "seems to straddle fiction and nonfiction," Booklist reviewer Carolyn Phelan dubbed Take Command, Captain Farragut! an "intriguing read-aloud," while in School Library Journal Carolyn Janssen noted that the "well-researched" book "can help students relate to history."

Other books inspired by the Roops' fascination with history have included several edited journals, among them Pilgrim Voices: Our First Year in the New World, and the diaries of explorers Lewis and Clark, ornithologist John James Audubon, and Christopher Columbus. In Pilgrim Voices the Roops' use of actual writings from the period they profile "contributes authenticity and vitality to the text," according to Booklist reviewer Karen Hutt. Based on the seventeenth-century writings of William Bradford and his fellow New England colonists, the text in Pilgrim Voices has been modernized for twenty-first-century readers while retaining the flavor of the original writing. This technique by the Roops has resulted in a book that School Library Journal contributor Heide Piehler deemed "successful at creating a human sense of history beyond facts and timelines."

Off the Map: The Journals of Lewis and Clark is based on the explorers' eight-volume work recounting their explorations in the western territories during the years 1804–1806. Beginning with Thomas Jefferson's letter to Meriweather Lewis wherein the president sets forth guidelines and objectives for the trip, Off the Map follows Lewis and Clark's impressions of the natural world they encountered, their interactions with the region's native people, and other aspects of their historic trek to the Pacific Ocean. Deeming the book's editing "judicious," a Publishers Weekly contributor added that the Roops' creative approach and organization of the material, "impart[s] … a feel for the challenges and dangers of the 8,000-mile trip through the Louisiana Purchase." In Booklist, Carolyn Phelan called Off the Map a "vivid source … [that] would be a welcome part of any classroom study of the subject."

In an interesting take on biographies of notable Americans, the Roops' "Before I Made History" series presents the early years of notable individuals ranging from Benjamin Franklin and Abraham Lincoln to civil rights leader Rosa Parks and astronaut Neil Armstrong. Books in this series, which include Take a Giant Leap, Neil Armstrong!, Give Me a Sign, Helen Keller!, and Let's Drive, Henry Ford!, describe the formative years of many notable Americans, showing the influences and experiences that shaped their achievements as grown ups.

Another interest the Roops share is science; in fact, Connie Roop began her teaching career as a junior-high-school science teacher. This interest has resulted in several books, including a three-volume series published by Greenhaven Press that explores such great mysteries as the extinction of the dinosaurs, the existence of poltergeists, and the marvels of the solar system. Another science-related book, One Earth, a Multitude of Creatures, includes descriptions of twelve creatures that call the Pacific Northwest region home. Illustrated with detailed drawings of black bears, rainbow trout, foxes, humpback whales, and owls by artist Valerie A. Kells, One Earth, a Multitude of Creatures depicts the links between creatures in an ecosystem, and serves as what Booklist contributor Leone McDermott called "a gentle, nonpreachy introduction to the interdependence and diversity of animals in an environment."

Roop's interest in travel has allowed him to effectively bring to life many of the topics he presents to young readers. "As a writer I believe that getting the right sense of setting is critical to the impact of a story," he once explained to SATA. "Experiencing the sacredness of a pu'unhonua in Hawaii was essential to The Cry of the Conch. Feeling the chilling blasts of a nor'easter was vital in creating the atmosphere of Keep the Lights Burning, Abbie. Walking the cobbled streets of Philadelphia established the feeling of place in Buttons for George Washington." Taking his responsibility as an author of books for children seriously has also contributed to Roop's success. "Writing the best books possible for young readers is my goal," he maintained. "By providing the best for children, I can open more vistas and distant horizons to their wondering eyes and minds. What better role for a writer?"

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.authorillustr-source.com/ (January 3, 2006).

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over 5 years ago

connie roop, and peter roop is my cosin jaderoop

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almost 6 years ago

omg ur book i dont lik....

i do not understand the book :P