Other Free Encyclopedias » Brief Biographies » Biographies: James Heneghan (1930-) Biography - Personal to Rick Jacobson Biography - Personal

Francine Jacobs (1935-) Biography - Personal, Career, Member, Honors Awards, Writings, Sidelights

york illustrated review book

Born 1935, in New York, NY; Education: Queens College (now Queens College of the City University of New York), B.A., 1956. Hobbies and other interests: Travel, hiking, fishing, beachcombing, reading, cooking, gardening.

Career

Writer. Elementary school teacher in Rye, NY, 1956-58, and Chappaqua, NY, 1967-68.

Member

Authors Guild, Authors League of America.

Honors Awards

Outstanding Science Book for Children Award from National Science Teachers Association and Children's Book Council, 1975, for The Sargasso Sea: An Ocean Desert, 1980, for Coral, 1981, for Bermuda Petrel: The Bird That Would Not Die, 1982, for Supersaurus, and 1983, for Cosmic Countdown: What Astronomers Have Learned about the Life of the Universe; children's book of the year citation from Children's Book Committee of the Child Study Association, 1976, for A Secret Language of Animals: Communication by Pheromones; New York Academy of Sciences award for outstanding science book, 1986, for Breakthrough: The True Story of Penicillin.

Writings

The Wisher's Handbook, illustrated by Ingrid Fetz, Funk & Wagnalls (New York, NY), 1968.

Francine Jacobs

The Legs of the Moon, illustrated by Rocco Negri, Coward McCann & Geoghegan (New York, NY), 1971.

The King's Ditch: A Hawaiian Tale, illustrated by Jerry Pinkney, Coward (New York, NY), 1971.

Sea Turtles, illustrated by Jean Zallinger, William Morrow (New York, NY), 1972.

The Freshwater Eel, illustrated by Josette Gourley, William Morrow (New York, NY), 1973.

Nature's Light: The Story of Bioluminescence, illustrated by Pamela Carroll, William Morrow (New York, NY), 1974.

The Sargasso Sea: An Ocean Desert, illustrated by Jean Zallinger, William Morrow (New York, NY), 1975.

A Secret Language of Animals: Communication by Pheromones, illustrated by Jean Zallinger, William Morrow (New York, NY), 1976.

Sounds in the Sea, illustrated by Jean Zallinger, William Morrow (New York, NY), 1977.

The Red Sea, illustrated by Elsie Wrigley, William Morrow (New York, NY), 1978.

Africa's Flamingo Lake, photographs by Jerome Jacobs, William Morrow (New York, NY), 1979.

Sewer Sam, the Sea Cow, Walker & Co. (New York, NY), 1979, reprinted, 1991.

Coral, illustrated by D. D. Tyler, Putnam (New York, NY), 1980.

Fire Snake: The Railroad That Changed East Africa, illustrated by Lloyd Bloom, William Morrow (New York, NY), 1980.

Bermuda Petrel: The Bird That Would Not Die, illustrated by Ted Lewin, William Morrow (New York, NY), 1981.

Barracuda: Tiger of the Sea, illustrated by Harriett Springer, Walker & Co. (New York, NY), 1981.

Supersaurus, illustrated by D. D. Tyler, Putnam (New York, NY), 1982.

Cosmic Countdown: What Astronomers Have Learned about the Life of the Universe, M. Evans (New York, NY), 1983.

Breakthrough: The True Story of Penicillin, Dodd, Mead (New York, NY), 1985.

The Tainos: The People Who Welcomed Columbus, illustrated by Patrick Collins, Putnam (New York, NY), 1992.

A Passion for Danger: Nansen's Arctic Adventures, Putnam (New York, NY), 1994.

Follow That Trash!: All about Recycling, illustrated by Mavis Smith, Grosset & Dunlap (New York, NY), 1996.

Lonesome George the Giant Tortoise, illustrated by Jean Cassels, Walker & Co. (New York, NY), 2003.

Sidelights

Francine Jacobs grew up in the small oceanside community of Long Beach on Long Island, New York. "My favorite pastime was searching along the shore to discover treasures that the tides swept in," she told SATA. "I came to recognize the different kinds of seashells, to collect beach glass and best of all, to know the marvelous shore creatures: the clams, crabs, starfish, and seabirds."

Jacobs studied elementary education and child psychology at Queens College. After graduation she began teaching elementary school and married Jerome Jacobs. "When my children started school I began a new career, writing for young readers. Writing is work that is done alone in quiet. It stirs one's memories. I found myself thinking about the sea, hearing the screech of gulls, smelling the salt air, and wishing I were back at the shore, exploring tidal pools and poking through clumps of seaweed. I and my husband and children have spent much time together camping in wilderness and shore areas. I am not only a beachcomber today but a snorkeler and a certified scuba diver. I also enjoy hiking and fishing. Ideas for my books sometimes come from experiences on my travels. A visit to a turtle farm on a Caribbean island led me to write Sea Turtles. Coral developed while I explored the beautiful reefs in the Caribbean Sea. Lonesome George the Giant Tortoise resulted from my visit to George's pen in the Galapagos Islands."

Jacobs also told SATA, Bermuda Petrel "began as a result of a child's question: 'If so many animals are in danger of dying out, is there anything we can do to

George, the last Pinta Island tortoise, is protected at the Charles Darwin Research Station after his habitat on the Galapagos Islands is ruined by humans. (From Lonesome George the Giant Tortoise, written by Jacobs and illustrated by Jean Cassels.)

help them?' Soon after that, a piece in the newspaper caught my attention. It was about a bird, the Bermuda petrel, and how it is being saved. I started to learn more about this small seabird and discovered an exciting story. Much is written about animals that are dying out, but here was an animal that was making a comeback—and largely through the efforts of one man. I decided to write a book about the Bermuda petrel to answer the child who had asked what can be done to help animals in danger."

The idea for Breakthrough: The True Story of Penicillin "came from my daughter. Laurie had been fascinated by the development of penicillin in a lecture given by a chemist-professor who had taken part in it. The subject sounded so interesting that I had to learn more. So I visited Professor Max Tishler at Wesleyan University myself and thus began this exciting project."

During the 500th anniversary of Columbus's discovery of America, Jacobs published The Tainos: The People Who Welcomed Columbus. The book describes the negative consequences of Columbus's voyage: how the native Caribbean peoples were virtually wiped out by disease and domination following the European occupation. A Publishers Weekly critic called the book "a welcome and well-documented look at a different side of the story." A writer for Faces: People, Places, and Cultures, deemed it "an engaging, well-researched account of the rise and fall of the Taino Indians."

Jacobs concluded: "I enjoy writing nonfiction. Each of my books is a story—a true one!"

Biographical and Critical Sources

PERIODICALS

Booklist, June 1, 1992, Karen Hutt, review of The Tainos: The People Who Welcomed Columbus, p. 1753; June 1, 1994, Chris Sherman, review of A Passion for Danger: Nansen's Arctic Adventures, p. 1793.

Book Report, September-October, 1992, Carol Burbridge, review of The Tainos, p. 63.

Faces: People, Places, and Cultures, February, 1999, review of The Tainos, p. 45.

Horn Book, July-August, 1992, Ellen Fader, review of The Tainos, p. 468.

New York Times Book Review, January 18, 1981; November 1, 1992, Faith McNulty, review of The Tainos, p. 25.

Publishers Weekly, March 23, 1992, review of The Tainos, p. 74.

Reading Teacher, December-January, 1992, Lee Galda, review of The Tainos, p. 330.

School Library Journal, June, 1992, Patricia Manning, review of The Tainos, p. 133; March, 1997, Gale Sherman, review of Follow That Trash!: All about Recycling, p. 177.

Washington Post Book World, January 13, 1980.

Wilson Library Bulletin, March 23, 1992, Frances Bradburn, review of The Tainos, p. 74.

[back] Alphonso R. Jackson Biography

User Comments

Your email address will be altered so spam harvesting bots can't read it easily.
Hide my email completely instead?

Cancel or