Mary Downing Hahn (1937-)
A former librarian and artist, Mary Downing Hahn has drawn upon her own childhood, as well as that of her parents and children, to write closely detailed stories that explore family issues. The themes in her books include loss of a parent or loved one, the struggle for identity and acceptance, and the blending of families. Hahn's novels have been successful, winning not only awards for novels such as Daphne's Book, Wait till Helen Comes: A Ghost Story, The Jellyfish Season, December Stillness, Stepping on the Cracks, and Hear the Wind Blow, but also a large and loyal readership whom Hahn regularly visits on her school speaking tours. Hahn once told Something about the Author (SATA) that she strives to create "real life" in her novels. "Like the people I know, I want my characters to be a mixture of strengths and weaknesses, to have good and bad qualities, to be a little confused and unsure of themselves." Like in real life, a happy ending is not always guaranteed. "At the same time, however," Hahn remarked, "I try to leave room for hope."
However, not all of Hahn's work is serious, as she explained in an interview with Authors and Artists for Young Adults (AAYA). "Some of my books I call entertainments, and they are often among my most popular. In those I use elements of fantasy and the supernatural, elements I can't employ in the serious fiction. You can't simply have a ghost come along in real life and change the course of a story. Or have the main character time travel out of trouble. But with my entertainments, that is not only possible but demanded." Many of the books Hahn has created in this vein feature supernatural elements, such as time travel, witches, ghosts, and vampires. Though not of a supernatural bent, one of her "entertainments" is The Gentleman Outlaw and Me–Eli, in which Hahn was finally able to indulge her own childhood fantasies of running off to the Wild West.
Reading to her daughters gave Hahn the encouragement she needed to try her hand at writing. When her first attempts were rejected, Hahn enrolled in graduate school, working toward a doctorate in English literature. She didn't complete her degree, instead working in the library system and beginning to write for children. Her first book, The Sara Summer—the story of a twelve-year-old girl who does not feel comfortable in the world around her—was published in 1979 after three years of writing and revision.
The Sara Summer exhibits an "intimate knowledge of subteens and a well-tuned ear," according to a Publishers Weekly contributor. The work centers on the developing friendship between Emily, who is often teased about her height, and Sara, who just moved in next door and is even taller than Emily. Unfortunately, Sara's brash, independent demeanor has a cruel side, exhibited in her treatment of her younger sister. Through a confrontation over this issue, Sara and Emily come to a new understanding of each other and themselves. Although Cyrisse Jaffee, writing in School Library Journal, faulted the book's "lack of plot," she noted that "kids will find [it] easy to read and relate to" the "ups and downs" of the girls' friendship. "The vivid characterizations of the two girls make the author's first novel a worthwhile venture," Richard Ashford concluded in Horn Book.
Hahn first exhibited her aptitude for including elements of the supernatural in her second book, The Time of the Witch, a novel that centers on a young girl's desire for her parents to stay together. "Sulky and opinionated, Laura is not a particularly attractive character," wrote Ann A. Flowers in Horn Book; nevertheless, "her problems are real and understandable." In her quest to halt the divorce of her parents, Laura seeks help from a local witch, who uses the opportunity to settle an old score with the unsuspecting family. Barbara Elleman in Booklist described the witch as one "readers won't soon forget," and School Library Journal contributor Karen Stang Hanley remarked that the "elements of mystery, suspense and the occult are expertly balanced against the realistic dimensions" of the story.
Hahn returns to the subjects of being an outsider and acting responsibly in her third novel, Daphne's Book, which a Publishers Weekly critic dubbed "a meaningful, gently humorous novel about characters the author endows with humanity." Jessica is dismayed when her English teacher assigns "Daffy" Daphne to be her partner in a school project, but over time the two girls form a friendship that must withstand Jessica's betrayal of Daphne's dangerous living situation to the authorities. "The characters, even secondary ones," stated Audrey B. Eaglen in School Library Journal, "are completely believable and very likable." Despite the "happy" ending, Barbara Cutler Helfgott commented in the New York Times Book Review, the book's "vitality derives from a convincing respect for hopeful beginnings and hard choices—two conditions for growth, no matter what your age."
Hahn's next work, The Jellyfish Season, "is a very realistic look at family stress and the permanent changes it can make," according to a Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books reviewer. When thirteen-year-old Kathleen's father loses his job, she, her mother, and her three younger sisters must move in with relatives in a new town. Horn Book critic Mary M. Burns commented: "The well-defined characters are the key ingredients in an appealing, first-person narrative which ably conveys the tensions created by economic hardships." Although a reviewer in Publishers Weekly stated that at times Kathleen expresses herself "in words too adult for belief," School Library Journal writer Marjorie Lewis praised the author's resolution of "almost insurmountable problems in a most satisfying, realistic and reassuring way" and predicted The Jellyfish Season "should be a favorite among young teens."
The supernatural reappears in Hahn's next novel, Wait till Helen Comes, a tale Cynthia Dobrez described in Chicago's Tribune Books as "suspenseful and often terrifying." Molly and her brother move with their mother into a converted church near a graveyard with their new stepfather and his daughter, Heather, whose trouble-making includes her increasingly ominous friendship with a ghost. Wait till Helen Comes was widely praised for its effective pacing, realistic characterizations, and convincing supernatural elements. While Elizabeth S. Watson in Horn Book found the novel's opening "rather slow," she observed that Hahn "has written a gripping and scary ghost story that develops hauntingly." Judy Greenfield concluded in School Library Journal, "This is a powerful, convincing, and frightening tale," that should produce "a heavy demand from readers who are not 'faint at heart.'" Hahn herself found the book to be scary; she explained to AAYA "I don't think I would have been able to read it when I was ten. It has remained one of my most popular titles and was one of the quickest and easiest I've written. I have no idea why some books are so hard and some so easy."
Hahn's young characters often live in unusual family situations. In Tallahassee Higgins, for instance, Talley must move in with her childless aunt and uncle when her irresponsible mother takes off for Hollywood in search of stardom. Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books critic Zena Sutherland praised the "strong characters, good pace, and solid structure" of the novel, while Voice of Youth Advocates contributor Dolores Maminski found the story "sad, humorous, believable and readable." In Following the Mystery Man the young protagonist convinces herself that her grandmother's new tenant is the father she has never known—then finds herself in a lot of trouble when she discovers he is really a criminal. While Watson, writing in Horn Book, found that "there are no really frightening moments in this rather gentle, occasionally sad story," other reviewers concurred with School Library Journal contributor Elizabeth Mellett's assessment: "This is a suspenseful book that will keep readers interested and entertained until the last page."
Hahn takes on the subject of war and its consequences in December Stillness, in which a girl, Kelly, becomes emotionally involved with the homeless Vietnam vet she interviews for a school project. Kelly's ultimately tragic interference with the man eventually brings her closer to her Vietnam vet-father in what Nancy Vasilakis remarked "could have been a maudlin ending" that is saved by "the author's skillful use of dialogue in defining her characters" in Horn Book. Though several critics found the story preachy at times, Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books writer Roger Sutton remarked that "Hahn's practiced handling of suspense serves her well here." Hahn introduced the subject of war in a more sophisticated manner in 1991's Stepping on the Cracks, set during World War II. In this work, two patriotic twelve-year-old girls risk the wrath of their parents and the ostracism of their community when they befriend a conscientious objector. A Kirkus Reviews writer called the result "suspenseful, carefully wrought, and thought-provoking—a fine achievement." While acknowledging these strengths, critic Sutherland added that "what makes [the novel] outstanding is the integrity of the plot and the consistency of the characterization." Horn Book reviewer Maeve Visser Knoth similarly concluded: "The engrossing story handles the wide range of issues with grace and skill."
Hahn returns to ghost stories with The Doll in the Garden, a work Sutton dubbed "not as straight-ahead-scary" as Wait till Helen Comes, but which nonetheless benefits from "a direct style and smooth storytelling." After the death of her father, Ashley and her mother move into an apartment in a house owned by a hostile woman. Ashley and a new friend discover a doll buried in the garden and encounter the ghost of a dying child, which leads them back in time to discover the landlady's old secret. Although Horn Book critic Ethel R. Twichell found the ending "a little too pat," she nonetheless concluded: "Ashley's intriguing although never really scary experiences should hold most readers' attention to the end." Time for Andrew, published in 1994, is similarly spooky time-travel story distinguishes. While spending the summer with relatives in Missouri, twelve-year-old Drew becomes switched in time with his namesake, Andrew, who lived in the house eighty years before. Andrew refuses to return to his own time for fear he will die of diphtheria, and so the two join forces to change family history. While Virginia Golodetz, writing in School Library Journal, characterized the ending as "humorous but somewhat contrived," Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books reviewer Sutton dubbed Time for Andrew an "assured work from a deservedly popular writer, who, while gifted with the instincts of a storyteller, doesn't let her narrative get away from her characters."
Hahn branches out into adventure fiction with The Dead Man in Indian Creek, the story of two boys who suspect a local antique dealer of being behind the murder of the man they find in a nearby creek. Reviewers praised the fast-paced action and high suspense of this novel. Although Carolyn Noah in School Library Journal found several "illogical gaps" in the plot, other critics agreed with a contributor to Publishers Weekly that the "combination of crackling language and plenty of suspense" found here makes The Dead Man in Indian Creek "likely to appeal to even the most reluctant readers." Similarly, in The Spanish Kidnapping Disaster, three children are thrown together by the marriage of their parents, whom they are unexpectedly forced to join on their honeymoon in Spain. When one of them lies to the wrong person about their wealth, the three are kidnapped, which "creates action, danger, and suspense," commented Sutherland. The critic nevertheless faulted the book for "an undue amount of structural contrivance." Other reviewers, however, focused on Hahn's superb characterizations, including what a critic described in Publishers Weekly as "a surprisingly understanding look at what impels people to terrorist ac-tivity."
In Look for Me by Moonlight Hahn creates a supernatural romance for teen readers. In this "deliciously spinetingling story," as it was described by a reviewer for Publishers Weekly, Hahn tells the story of sixteen-year-old Cynda as she spends some time with her father at his inn, called Underhill, on the coast of Maine. Reputedly haunted by a ghost of a woman who was murdered there many years ago, the inn is also the place where Cynda encounters Vincent Morthanos, a guest and vampire. Cynda falls in love with the mysterious and forbidding stranger in a book that "takes the traditional elements . . . [and] places them in a setting that is alternately cozy and frightening" to create a perfect blend for readers who appreciate "danger with a dash of romance," noted Linda Perkins in Wilson Library Bulletin. Similarly, a critic for Publishers Weekly remarked that although some elements of the story are clichéd, "in Hahn's able hands, they add up to a stylish supernatural thriller."
Hahn has also written the young adult novel The Wind Blows Backward, which Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books contributor Sutton called "a lavishly romantic novel, with all the moody intensity anyone could want." Lauren's junior high crush on Spencer is revived in their senior year in high school, but Spencer is haunted by his father's suicide and by his behavior seems tempted to follow in his father's footsteps. In portraying Lauren's relationships, a Publishers Weekly critic commented, "Hahn makes excellent use of contrasting family situations to illustrate her theme of perseverance." Although Booklist critic Stephanie Zvirin found the plot "so predictable that it's only Hahn's rich, occasionally inspired prose that saves it from becoming mournfully melodramatic," School Library Journal writer Gerry Larson felt that "nonetheless, YA readers will identify with the pressures, conflicts, and concerns facing these teens." And Marilyn Bannon praised Hahn's handling of the subject of teen suicide, noting in Voice of Youth Advocates that "because [Hahn] has crafted such interesting, well rounded characters, her message is delivered effectively."
In The Gentleman Outlaw and Me—Eli: A Story of the Old West Hahn presents younger readers with the story of twelve-year-old Eliza and her dog Caesar as they make their way to Colorado in search of Eli's father. Accompanying Eli and Caesar on their quest is Calvin, a gentleman outlaw they encounter in the woods after Eli escapes her abusive guardians. At the end of many adventures, the three reach Colorado and finally locate Eli's Papa, a sheriff. Lola Teubert, writing in Voice of Youth Advocates characterized The Gentleman Outlaw and Me as a "rollicking read, full of the true flavor of the old West," while Horn Book reviewer Elizabeth S. Watson called it "tailor-made to satisfy a youngster's ache for high adventure." In addition to garnering praise for her storytelling abilities, Hahn once again also elicited praise for the historical background presented in the story. For example, Susan Dove Lempke was particularly impressed with the "fine job" Hahn did in "recreating the atmosphere of the days of cowboys and miners." As a child, Hahn had dreamed of running off to join cowboys, but as she told AAYA, "Growing up in College Park, there was not much opportunity for such high adventure."
Known for writing about difficult subjects, Hahn tackles an abusive family situation in her series of books featuring young Gordy Smith and his family, previously introduced to readers in Stepping on the Cracks. In her next book featuring Gordy, titled Following My Own Footsteps, Hahn's young protagonist finds himself living in North Carolina with his grandmother after his father has been imprisoned for being abusive. As he adjusts to life in a new place, Gordy struggles with doubt that he will escape the violence that surrounds him, especially after his mother accepts his father's apology and decides to give the troubled man a second chance.
Praising the honesty with which the book deals with "the pain of some insoluble problems," Deborah Stevenson wrote in the Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books that Hahn has created a "telling and believable portrait of a boy on the cusp of major changes in his life." Maeve Visser Knoth also lauded Hahn for the difficulty of the subject she tackles in this work, noting her deft handling of such issues as alcoholism and domestic abuse. Additionally, critics were also appreciative of Hahn's skillful re-creation of the mid-1940s. Booklist reviewer Susan Dove Lempke felt that setting Gordy's story against World War II-America is a masterful touch by Hahn, and that the writer presents a "terrific rendering of day-to-day life" of the setting, with each "detail integral to the story."
In her third book of the series, As Ever, Gordy, the young boy's life is beset with turmoil once again; this time the death of his grandmother forces Gordy to return to his hometown with his younger sister. As he struggles to establish a relationship with his old rival, Liz, Gordy at first relapses into his old ways until he realizes that his father and older brother are not the best role models. Reviewing this book for Booklist, Linda Perkins wrote that although the historical background of As Ever, Gordy seems incidental to the story, Hahn has done a masterful job of creating a "painfully believable adolescent" character in Gordy Smith.
In Anna All Year Round Hahn uses the backdrop of pre-World War I America against which she sets the world of eight-year-old Anna. Based on recollections by Hahn's own mother, the writing in this book has been praised once again for its poignant evocation of the past, as well as the author's realistic depiction of her young protagonist. Several critics remarked on the accuracy of the portrait Hahn draws, noting especially her skillful use of the historical background. Anna is a tomboy, much to the dismay of her very proper mother, who speaks in German to Anna's aunt when the pair of them want to keep her from understanding. Anna's adventures include roller-skating down a cobblestone road and falling so that her chin needs stitches, throwing herself a "surprise" birthday party without telling her mother, learning long division, and trying to convince her mother that she should have a bright-colored coat for the winter. Stephanie Zvirin, writing in Booklist, noted particularly the accuracy of Hahn's research, praising the author for her skill in capturing the "flavor of early 1900s setting[s]." A reviewer for Horn Book noted that "All the chapters are informed by Hahn's able evocation of time and place."
In Anna on the Farm, the second novel featuring Anna Sherwood, Hahn tells the story of one summer spent by Anna on her uncle's farm in Maryland. Unfortunately, Anna is not the only guest; her uncle's nephew Theodore is staying there as well. The two spark immediately, Theodore calling Anna a "city slicker" and Anna considering him a "country bumpkin"; it doesn't take long for the pranks to start and quickly get out of hand. However, through their competition, the cousins see each other as friends. In a tale that is "rollicking fun" according to Voice of Youth Advocates contributor Debbie Whitbeck, Hahn provides "a great glimpse of pre-World War I America." As a Horn Book reviewer wrote, "Hahn defies nostalgia with both the immediacy and the honesty of her up-close, present-tense telling."
Although it might sound like a ghost story, Promise to the Dead is actually a story about slavery at the beginning of the U.S. Civil War. Jesse makes a promise to a dying slave that he will deliver her son Perry to his aunt in Baltimore. This is complicated by the fact that Perry's aunt is white, and is the sister to the deceased slave-owner who used to own both Perry and his mother. The two boys—Jesse at age fourteen and Perry at only seven—make a desperate flight; what keeps Jesse going is that he knows he cannot break a promise to someone who is dead. "This piece of historical fiction will be a hit," predicted Michele Baker in a review for Book Report. Cyrisse Jaffee, writing in School Library Journal, called Promise to the Dead "an involving story that raises many of the issues that led to the Civil War," while Ilene Cooper, in her Booklist review, commented "Obviously there's a lot going on here, but the plot never seems too overwhelming.
With Hear the Wind Blow, Hahn again tackles the difficulties of war. Set, like Promise to the Dead, during the U.S. Civil War, the novel centers around Haswell Magruder, a teen whose father has died fighting against the Union forces and whose brother is still out in the field. When a wounded Confederate soldier seeks to hide at the Magruder farm, the Magruders take him in and attempt to nurse him back to health, even though if they are discovered by the Union soldiers they will be punished. Unfortunately for the Magruders, the Union forces do come; they kill the soldier and raze the Magruder farm. Haswell's mother becomes ill and dies, and Haswell takes his sister and flees to the home of their relatives. After seeing her to safety, he then travels to find his brother, discovering the realities of war along the way. In her review for Horn Book, Betty Carter called the novel "a strong adventure inextricably bound to a specific time and place, but one that resonates with universal themes." Hahn presents "a picture of ordinary men who are not at all sure why they are fighting" according to Hazel Rochman in Booklist. "The drama of the Civil War and the fine storytelling and characterization hook readers from the outset," praised Renee Steinberg in her review for School Library Journal, while a reviewer for Publishers Weekly noted: "With his bravery and his honest grapplings with complex issues, Haswell will win readers' interest and sympathy from the outset."
Like several previous titles, The Old Willis Place: A Ghost Story deals with ghosts, but not in the expected way. The main character, Diana, lives with her brother in the woods behind a mansion; they have seen caretakers come and go, but they never reveal themselves to the people taking care of the property. They must never let themselves be seen and must never go into the house. Diana does not explain to readers why these are the rules–perhaps she does not know herself. However, when Lissa, the new caretaker's daughter, who is about Diana's age, arrives, the lonely girl hopes to have a friend, even though it is against the rules. As a complement to Diana's narration, readers also have access to Lissa's diary. "Hahn is a master at stretching the suspense," praised Ilene Cooper in her Booklist review, and a critic for Children's Bookwatch called the novel "another satisfying ghost story." Maria B. Salvadore noted, "This riveting novel is a mystery and a story of friendship and of redemption," and a critic for Kirkus Review characterized The Old Willis Place as "spooky, but with an underlying sweetness."
In her interview with AAYA, Hahn talked about her goals in writing: "I want to tell a good story, first and foremost. I don't think about theme. If it comes, great. But that is not my focus. I want readers to come away from my books feeling that they have read a story that sticks with them, with characters that linger on the mind. They might also gain a bit more understanding about people and realize that everyone has a story inside of them."
Biographical and Critical Sources
Authors and Artists for Young Adults, Volume 23, Gale (Detroit, MI), 1998.
Booklist, October 15, 1982, Barbara Elleman, review of The Time of the Witch, p. 311; May 1, 1993, Stephanie Zvirin, review of The Wind Blows Backward, pp. 1580, 1582; April 1, 1994, Stephanie Zvirin, review of Time for Andrew: A Ghost Story, p. 1446; March 15, 1995, Ilene Cooper, review of Look for Me by Moonlight, p. 1322; April 1, 1996, Susan Dove Lempke, review of The Gentleman Outlaw and Me—Eli, p. 1364; September 15, 1996, Susan Dove Lempke, review of Following My Own Footsteps, p. 240; May 1, 1998, Linda Perkins, review of As Ever, Gordy, p. 1518; March 15, 1999, Stephanie Zvirin, review of Anna All Year Round, p. 1329; April 1, 2000, Ilene Cooper, review of Promises to the Dead, p. 1473; February 15, 2001, Kay Weisman, review of Anna on the Farm, p. 1136; May 15, 2003, Hazel Rochman, review of Hear the Wind Blow, p. 1663; September 1, 2004, Ilene Cooper, review of The Old Willis Place: A Ghost Story, p. 124.
Book Report, January, 2001, Michele Baker, review of Promises to the Dead, p. 57.
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, February, 1986, review of The Jellyfish Season, p. 108; April, 1987, Zena Sutherland, review of Tallahassee Higgins, p. 146; September, 1988, Roger Sutton, review of December Stillness, p. 9; March, 1989, Roger Sutton, review of The Doll in the Garden, p. 171; May, 1991, Zena Sutherland, review of The Spanish Kidnapping Disaster, p. 218; December, 1991, Zena Sutherland, review of Stepping on the Cracks, p. 91; May, 1993, Roger Sutton, review of The Wind Blows Backward, pp. 281-282; April, 1994, Roger Sutton, review of Time for Andrew, pp. 259-260; October, 1996, Deborah Stevenson, review of Following My Own Footsteps, p. 61.
Children's Bookwatch, December, 2004, review of The Old Willis Place.
Horn Book, October, 1979, Richard Ashford, review of The Sara Summer, p. 534; February, 1983, Ann A. Flowers, review of The Time of the Witch, p. 44; March-April, 1986, Mary M. Burns, review of The Jellyfish Season, p. 201; November-December, 1986, Elizabeth S. Watson, review of Wait till Helen Comes, pp. 744-45; July-August, 1988, Elizabeth S. Watson, review of Following the Mystery Man, p. 493; November-December, 1988, Nancy Vasilakis, review of December Stillness, pp. 786-787; May/June, 1989, Ethel R. Twichell, review of The Doll in the Garden, p. 370; November-December, 1991, Maeve Visser Knoth, review of Stepping on the Cracks, p. 736; September, 1996, Maeve Visser Knoth, review of Following My Own Footsteps, pp. 595-596; September, 1996, Elisabeth S. Watson, review of The Gentleman Outlaw and Me—Eli, p. 596; July, 1999, review of Anna All Year Round, p. 465; May, 2001, review of Anna on the Farm, p. 324; May-June, 2003, Betty Carter, review of Hear the Wind Blow, pp. 346-347.
Kirkus Reviews, October 15, 1991, review of Stepping on the Cracks, p. 1343; April 1, 1995, review of Look for Me by Moonlight, p. 468; June 15, 1996, review of Following My Own Footsteps, p. 899; May 15, 2003, review of Hear the Wind Blow, p. 751; September 1, 2004, review of The Old Willis Place, p. 866.
Kliatt, July, 2003, Claire Rosser, review of Hear the Wind Blow, p. 12.
New York Times Book Review, October 23, 1983, Barbara Cutler Helfgott, review of Daphne's Book, p. 34.
Publishers Weekly, November 19, 1979, review of The Sara Summer, p. 79; August 5, 1983, review of Daphne's Book, p. 92; December 6, 1985, review of The Jellyfish Season, p. 75; February 9, 1990, review of The Dead Man in Indian Creek, p. 62; March 1, 1991, review of The Spanish Kidnapping Disaster, p. 73; November 1, 1991, review of Stepping on the Cracks, p. 81; April, 26, 1993, review of The Wind Blows Backward, pp. 80-81; April 10, 1995, review of Look for Me by Moonlight, p. 63; July 8, 1996, review of Following My Own Footsteps, p. 84; April 19, 1999, review of Anna All Year Round,, p. 74; April 17, 2000, review of Promises to the Dead, p. 81; May 19, 2003, review of Hear the Wind Blow, p. 75.
School Library Journal, December, 1979, Cyrisse Jaffee, review of The Sara Summer, p. 86; November, 1982, Karen Stang Hanley, review of The Time of the Witch, p. 84; October 1983, Audrey B. Eaglen, review of Daphne's Book, p. 168; October, 1985, Marjorie Lewis, review of The Jellyfish Season, p. 172; October, 1986, Judy Greenfield, review of Wait till Helen Comes, p. 176; April, 1988, Elizabeth Mellett, review of Following the Mystery Man, p. 100; April, 1990, Carolyn Noah, review of The Dead Man in Indian Creek, p. 118; May, 1993, Gerry Larson, review of The Wind Blows Backward, p. 124; May, 1994, Virginia Golodetz, review of Time for Andrew, p. 114; July 8, 1996, review of Following My Own Footsteps, p. 84; May, 1999, Linda Bindner, review of Anna All Year Round, p. 90; June, 2000, Cyrisse Jaffee, review of Promises to the Dead, p. 146; March, 2001, Debbie Whitbeck, review of Anna on the Farm, p. 209; May, 2003, Renee Steinberg, review of Hear the Wind Blow, pp. 152-153; December, 2004, Maria B. Salvadore, review of The Old Willis Place, p. 146.
Tribune Books (Chicago, IL), April 5, 1987, Cynthia Dobrez, review of Wait till Helen Comes, sec. 14, p. 4.
Voice of Youth Advocates, August, 1993, Marilyn Bannon, review of The Wind Blows Backward, p. 152; June, 1987, Dolores Maminski, review of Tallahassee Higgins, p. 78; June, 1996, Lola Teubert, review of The Gentleman Outlaw and Me—Eli, pp. 95-96; March, 2001, Debbie Whitbeck, review of Anna on the Farm, p. 209.
Wilson Library Bulletin, June, 1995, Linda Perkins, review of Look for Me by Moonlight, p. 135.
A Visit with Mary Downing Hahn (video), Kit Morse Productions, Houghton Mifflin (New York, NY), 1994.*
Brief BiographiesBiographies: Bob Graham (1942-) Biography - Awards to Francis Hendy Biography - Born to SewMary Downing Hahn (1937-) Biography - Personal, Career, Awards, Honors, Sidelights - Member, Writings