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Sandra Ann Horn (1944-) Biography - Personal, Addresses, Career, Writings, Work in Progress, Sidelights

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Born 1944, in Melksham, Wiltshire, England. Ethnicity: "White, European." Religion: Society of Friends ("Quaker").

Addresses

Agent—Celia Catchpole, 56 Gilpin Ave., East Sheen, London SW14 8Q4, England.

Career

Writer. Former educator, retired, c. 2003.

Writings

Tattybogle, illustrated by Ken Brown, Andersen Press, 1995.

The Silkie, illustrated by Stephanie Hawkem, Hodder Children's Books (London, England), 1997.

Rory McRory, illustrated by Bee Willey, Hodder Children's Books (London, England), 1998.

The Moon Thieves, illustrated by Esther Connon, Hodder Children's Books (London, England), 1999.

The Hob and Miss Minkin, illustrated by Amanda Harvey, Hodder Children's Books (London, England), 1999.

The Naming Song, illustrated by Amanda Harvey, Hodder Children's Books (London, England), 1999.

Hallowe'en, illustrated by Amanda Harvey, Hodder Children's Books (London, England), 1999.

The Christmas Presents, illustrated by Amanda Harvey, Hodder Children's Books (London, England), 1999.

The Dandelion Wish, illustrated by Jason Cockcroft, Dorling Kindersley (New York, NY), 2000.

Sandra Ann Horn

The Tattybogle Tree, illustrated by Karen Popham, Hodder Children's Books (London, England), 2000.

The Stormteller, illustrated by Amanda Harvey, Hodder Children's Books (London, England), 2000.

Goose Anna, illustrated by Mark Hearld, Hodder Children's Books (London, England), 2001.

Shadowhog, illustrated by Mary McQuillan, Red Fox, 2001.

The Crows' Nest, illustrated by Joseph Theobald, Franklin Watts (New York, NY), 2002.

Nobody, Him, and Me, illustrated by Pantelis Georgiou, Macmillan Children's Books (London, England), 2002.

Babushka, illustrated by Sophie Fatus, Barefoot Books (Cambridge, MA), 2002.

Also author of play adaptations of Babushka and The Silkie.

Work in Progress

The Heather Horse, a novel for older children; The Mud Maid, a picture book; Marellen, a novel for young adults.

Sidelights

Sandra Ann Horn is the author of several children's picture books and storybooks, among them The Dandelion Wish and Babushka. The Dandelion Wish follows two young preschoolers as they discover that their wishes come true when blowing on a dandelion. School Library Journal reviewer Judith Constantinides commented that Horn's "imaginative and lyrical text is paired with lovely impressionistic illustrations radiating light and sunshine," and will no doubt "captivate readers with its rhythmic words, as the pictures do with their beauty."

In Babushka a classic Russian folktale is adapted by Horn into an endearing Christmas story "with a wonderful message about the joys of selfless giving," according to Lauren Peterson writing in Booklist. After being too busy to accompany the Three Kings on their way to visit the baby Jesus, Babushka is inspired by her dreams of the chilly newborn to seek him out and bring him gifts to keep him warm. As she travels to Jesus' side, however, she encounters other people in need and gives her gifts away. When Babushka does finally reach the infant Jesus and his mother, Mary, she is shocked to find all of her gifts already surrounding the baby. As Mary explains, "Everything you gave with love, you gave to my son, also."

Horn told Something about the Author: "I grew up in a small town high on the Sussex Weald, into a family rich in grandparents, and great-grandparents, aunts and great-aunts, uncles and great-uncles, cousins, second cousins.…My great-grandmother, with whom I loved to spend times as a small child, spoke the Sussex dialect. Stories and accounts of the day were told in the evenings. My love of words and how they could paint pictures comes from that time, as does my love of the countryside and its wildlife. Those loves and that childhood feature in all my books in one way or another. Reading was and is one of my greatest pleasure, and I enjoy encouraging the love of stories and storybooks in children. The magic of transforming black marks on a white page into an adventure, a romance, a comedy—and all in your own head—is incomparable. I believe it helps to develop imagination—one of our greatest gifts—as nothing else can (especially not television, which does it all for you). I started to write poems and stories when I was a child, and apart from pauses when I had to build a career and look after my young children, I have gone on. I was lucky enough to meet a group of soul-mates at a creative writing class some years ago, and we formed a splinter group. We meet regularly to share and review each other's work. It is invaluable. In our early days, we agreed NOT to write with publication in mind, but rather to explore what we could do and work on our 'voices' and experiment with different genres until we felt we were as good as we could be. We got through many cups of tea and chocolate biscuits in the process, and all of us are now writers.

"My first book for children was Tattybogle, the story of a happy scarecrow whose head is full of straw and cheerful thoughts. He's a lot like me. I wanted to share my joy in the world, and my hope and my sense of wonder and mystery with young readers, and it seemed to work. Nine years down the line, Tattybogle is still selling and being borrowed from libraries and being used to illustrate an astounding range of ideas, from reincarnation to resurrection to the changing of the seasons. It's also just a simple, happy story with wonderful illustrations by Ken Brown! Another sixteen happy stories and picture-books later, I'm beginning to explore some more difficult issues, for older children, but the hope, joy and excitement are still there in those texts—especially hope. I've recently taken early retirement from my academic job in order to write full-time and I'm also going to publish the next picture-book—with Karen Popham's beautiful illustrations—myself, as a tribute and memorial to some very special people I want to honour. Getting to grips with the technical stuff is fun/interesting! I have also written stage versions of Babushka and The Silkie and I am hoping to see them staged. That's the thing about writing—the possibilities are endless!"

Biographical and Critical Sources

PERIODICALS

Booklist, August, 2000, Hazel Rochman, review of The Dandelion Wish, p. 2147; December 15, 2002, Lauren Peterson, review of Babushka, p. 764.

Kirkus Reviews, November 1, 2002, review of Babushka, p. 1619.

School Library Journal, December, 2000, Judith Constantinides, review of The Dandelion Wish, p. 110; October, 2002, Eva Mitnick, review of Babushka, p. 59.

ONLINE

Sandra Ann Horn Web site, http://www.tattybogle.com/ (June 1, 2004).

Nick Hornby Biography [next] [back] Shirley Horn Biography - Took to the Piano Early, Career Sparked by Miles Davis, Focused on Being a Homemaker

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