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Jennifer Richard Jacobson (1958–) Biography - Personal, Addresses, Career, Honors Awards, Writings, Sidelights

winnie review book school

(Jennifer Jacobson)

Personal

Born 1958, in NH; Education: Harvard University, M.A. Hobbies and other interests: Hiking, swimming, skiing, reading.

Addresses

Agent—c/o Author Mail, Can-dlewick Press, 2067 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02140.

Career

Writer of books for teachers and for children, 1995–. Sixth-grade teacher, curriculum coordinator, and language arts specialist at various schools in New England; educational consultant.

Honors Awards

Bank Street's Best Children's Book, Top Ten First Novels of 2001, Booklist, both for Winnie Dancing on Her Own; Children's Curriculum choice, School Library Journal, nominee, Rhode Island Children's Book Award, 2004, both for Truly Winnie.

Writings

FOR CHILDREN; AS JENNIFER RICHARD JACOBSON EXCEPT AS NOTED

(As Jennifer Jacobson) Mr. Lee (picture book), illustrated by John Agee, Open Court Pub. (Chicago, IL), 1995.

(As Jennifer Jacobson) Getting to Know Sharks (nonfiction), Sadlier-Oxford (New York, NY), 1997.

(As Jennifer Jacobson) A Net of Stars (picture book), illustrated by Greg Shed, Dial Books for Young Readers (New York, NY), 1998.

Moon Sandwich Mom (picture book), illustrated by Benrei Huang, A. Whitman (Morton Grove, IL), 1999.

Winnie Dancing on Her Own (chapter book), illustrated by Alissa Imre Geis, Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 2001.

Truly Winnie (chapter book), illustrated by Alissa Imre Geis, Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 2003.

Andy Shane and the Very Bossy Dolores Starbuckle (for beginning readers), illustrated by Abby Carter, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2005.

Stained (young-adult novel), Atheneum Books for Young Readers (New York, NY), 2005.

Winnie at Her Best (chapter book), illustrated by Alissa Imre Geis, Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 2005.

Andy Shane and the Pumpkin Trick (for beginning readers), Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2006.

FOR ADULTS; AS JENNIFER RICHARD JACOBSON EXCEPT AS NOTED

How Is My First Grader Doing in School?: What to Expect and How to Help, Simon and Schuster (New York, NY), 1998.

(With Dottie Raymer) How Is My Second Grader Doing in School?: What to Expect and How to Help, Simon and Schuster (New York, NY), 1998.

How Is My Third Grader Doing in School?: What to Expect and How to Help, Simon and Schuster (New York, NY), 1999.

The Big Book of Reproducible Graphic Organizers, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1999.

(With Dottie Raymer) How Is My Fourth Grader Doing In School?: What to Expect and How to Help, Simon and Schuster (New York, NY), 2000.

(With Dottie Raymer) How Is My Fifth Grader Doing In School?: What to Expect and How to Help, Simon and Schuster (New York, NY), 2000.

(With Dottie Raymer) How Is My Sixth Grader Doing In School?: What to Expect and How to Help, Simon and Schuster (New York, NY), 2000.

(As Jennifer Jacobson; with Dottie Raymer) Reading Renaissance Power Lessons: Literature-based Lessons to Teach Reading Skills, School Renaissance Institute (Madison, WI), 2001.

Sidelights

Jennifer Richard Jacobson is a teacher-turned-writer who has produced titles for parents and educators, such as the popular How Is My First Grader Doing in School?: What to Expect and How to Help and its sequels, as well as numerous books for children. Writing for a younger audience, Jacobson has produced award-winning picture books and chapter books, including the "Winnie" books, as well as a young-adult novel, the 2005 Stained.

Reviewing her picture book A Net of Stars, about how a little girl manages to overcome her fear of heights by riding a Ferris wheel under the stars at night, Booklist reviewer Hazel Rochman praised the manner in which Jacobson relates her tale "quietly in the first person." A writer for Publishers Weekly was also positive about this "nostalgiac" work, concluding that "young readers conquering anxieties of their own will want to linger over this comforting drama." Jacobson's 1999 picture book, Moon Sandwich Mom, provides another learning experience, this time for a young fox who discovers that life isn't really any better at his friends' houses. Kathy Broderick, writing in Booklist, observed that Jacobson "does a good job getting this 'grass-is-greener' story to a level little ones can understand."

With Winnie Dancing on Her Own, Jacobson moved to chapter books in a story about third-grade Winnie and her friends Zoe and Vanessa. Ballet class threatens the friendship of these three, since Winnie would much rather go to the library than to dance class. Suddenly an outsider to her other friends' growing intimacy, Winnie learns important lessons about herself and her relationship to her widowed father as a result. A critic for Kirkus Reviews felt that the author "does a skillful job of showing the heart-wrenching emotions felt by a child left behind by unfeeling friends," and a reviewer for Publishers Weekly called this beginning novel an "uplifting tale." Jacobson reprises her youthful protagonist in Truly Winnie, a "winning second episode," according to a critic for Kirkus Reviews. This time Winnie and her friends go to summer camp, but she is separated from Zoe and Vanessa and must make new friends and avoid the usual gestures of sorrow from others when they learn that her mother is dead. When Winnie tells one white lie to avoid such condolences, she discovers that the lies suddenly multiply and she ends up in trouble. Booklist contributor Rochman noted that "young readers will find a lot to talk about; they'll recognize that Winnie's lie is also a wish." Jean Gaffney, reviewing the same title in School Library Journal, called it a "satisfying, quick-moving story [that] portrays the fun and challenge of camp life and making new friends."

Jacobson's first young-adult novel, Stained, appeared in 2005 and quickly earned positive reviews. This tale of a teenage triangle and sexual abuse by a priest is a "carefully written novel [that] tells how adolescents are vulnerable to sexual abuse," according to Kliatt reviewer Claire Rosser. Set in 1975, the novel is told from the point of view of teenager Jocelyn, who has found real affection with Benny, a boy who is new to the neighborhood. Meanwhile Gabe, whom Jocelyn has known since childhood, is acting odder than usual, and then Benny, feeling guilty about his relationship with Jocelyn, begins visiting the local priest and avoiding her. When Gabe suddenly disappears, things come to a head in what a Publishers Weekly reviewer described as a "quietly powerful, expertly told tale." Similarly, a contributor for Kirkus Reviews called Jacobson's first young-adult offering a "well-written and suspenseful story." Writing in Horn Book, Lauren Adams praised Jocelyn's narrative voice as "honest and compelling," and Rosser felt that Jocelyn's narration "grips the reader with her honesty, her confusion, and her growing wisdom."

Biographical and Critical Sources

PERIODICALS

Booklist, June 1, 1998, Hazel Rochman, review of A Net of Stars, p. 1779; July, 1999, Kathy Broderick, review of Moon Sandwich Mom, p. 1951; September 15, 2001, Hazel Rochman, review of Winnie Dancing on Her Own, p. 232; November 15, 2001, Hazel Rochman, review of Winnie Dancing on Her Own, p. 567; September 1, 2003, Hazel Rochman, review of Truly Winnie, p. 119.

Horn Book, March-April, 2005, Lauren Adams, review of Stained, p. 202.

Kirkus Reviews, August 1, 2001, review of Winnie Dancing on Her Own, p. 1125; August 1, 2003, review of Truly Winnie, p. 1018; March 1, 2005, review of Stained, p. 288.

Kliatt, January, 2005, Claire Rosser, review of Stained, p. 8.

Publishers Weekly, June 22, 1998, review of A Net of Stars, p. 90; August 6, 2001, review of Winnie Dancing on Her Own, p. 90; August 25, 2003, review of Truly Winnie, p. 66; October 6, 2003, review of Winnie Dancing on Her Own, p. 87; February 1, 2005, review of Stained, p. 176.

School Library Journal, December, 2001, Elaine Lesh Morgan, review of Winnie Dancing on Her Own, p. 104; November, 2003, Jean Gaffney, review of Truly Winnie, p. 96; October, 2004, review of Truly Winnie, p. S30; March, 2005, Francisca Goldsmith, review of Stained, p. 212.

ONLINE

Jennifer Richard Jacobson Home Page, http://www.jenniferjacobson.com (May 30, 2005).

Rick Jacobson Biography - Personal, Addresses, Career, Honors Awards, Writings, Sidelights [next]

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