Tracie Vaughn Zimmer Biography
Personal, Addresses, Career, Writings, Work in Progress, Sidelights
Born 0027;s name Randy; Education: Ohio State University, degree (special education); Miami University of Ohio, M.A. (reading). Hobbies and other interests: Reading, gardening, managing her Web site.
Agent—c/o Author Mail, Clarion Books, 215 Park Ave. S, New York, NY 10003.
Educator and writer. Teacher in Ohio public schools for ten years; instructor at community colleges; speaker at schools.
Sketches from a Spy Tree, illustrated by Andrew Glass, Clarion Books (New York, NY), 2005.
Reaching for Sun, Bloomsbury (New York, NY), 2006.
Author of teacher's guides and curricula.
Work in Progress
A poetry collection for Clarion Books, due 2008.
Born and raised in Ohio, Tracie Vaughn Zimmer taught in Ohio public schools, where her passion for reading and writing, as well as her training in special education, inspired her young students. In addition to working as a speaker for schools and as the author of instructional guides and teaching materials, Zimmer has also added to the wealth of books for young readers with her poetry collection Sketches from a Spy Tree.
In Zimmer's book she introduces Anne Marie, a girl who, like Zimmer herself, is an identical twin. In verse, Anne Marie describes many aspects of her life, from her family and friends to her neighborhood. In addition to people and places, Anne Marie also attempts to express her opinions regarding her parents' divorce, her mother's remarriage, her feelings—good and bad—about being a twin, and her everyday ups and downs. Illustrator Andrew Glass uses a variety of techniques, including photo collage and colored pencil, to compliment Zimmer's revealing poems, and a Kirkus Reviews critic commented that Sketches from a Spy Tree should be "of special interest to readers who may themselves be facing a shift in family structure." Lee Bock, writing in School Library Journal, added that, "with each turn of the page, readers encounter … delightfully energized illustrations that complement the subject and mood of each poem well." In Booklist, Carolyn Phelan praised the work, noting that Zimmer's poems "chart the shifting movements of Anne Marie's heart" in a book that combines "free verse and freewheeling art with distinction."
A novel told in free verse, Reaching for Sun focuses on Josie Watt, who knows what it means to be different. As Zimmer told SATA, "Her family's small farmhouse seems to shrink each time another mansion grows up behind it; she lives with her study-obsessed mom and opinionated Gran, and has never known her father; and even if she can forget that she has cerebral palsy, her mom can't seem to let it go. So, when a strange new boy moves into one of the houses nearby—Jordan, who's younger, brighter, and never seems to notice all the things that area supposed to make Josie different—she finds herself reaching out to him."
"I can't imagine my life without books," Zimmer added. "Since childhood, books have sheltered me. It is my honor and privilege to write them for children and my greatest hope that my young readers might find refuge with me in words."
Biographical and Critical Sources
Booklist, August, 2005, Carolyn Phelan, review of Sketches from a Spy Tree, p. 2032.
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, September, 2005, Deborah Stevenson, review of Sketches from a Spy Tree, p. 59.
Kirkus Reviews, June 15, 2005, review of Sketches from a Spy Tree, p. 693.
School Library Journal, August, 2005, Lee Bock, review of Sketches from a Spy Tree, p. 140.
Tracie Vaughn Zimmer Home Page, http://www.tracievaughnzimmer.com (December 14, 2005).