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Janie Lynn Panagopoulos Biography


Janie Lynn Panagopoulos is noted in her native Michigan and surrounding states for the historical fiction she has written about the area. She is the author of several works for young readers, including Train to Midnight, an adventure story about a family of slaves headed for Canada on the Underground Railroad, and a picture book titled A Place Called Home: Michigan's Mill Creek Story, which was selected by the State of Michigan as one of the featured books of the 2001 Read Michigan campaign.

With authentic historical detail, Janie Lynn Panagopoulos relates the story of the Campbell family, who built and ran a sawmill at the Straits of Mackinac during the American Revolution in A Place Called Home: Michigan's Mill Creek Story. (Illustrated by Gijsbert van Frankenhuyzen.)

Although the characters in her stories are generally fictional, Panagopoulos puts extensive effort into making sure that every other detail is accurate. To research one book, she canoed Michigan's Grand River in a birchbark vessel while wearing historically accurate clothes. On other occasions, the author traveled the entire length of the Erie Canal, slept in snow shelters, and attempted such historical modes of transportation as dogsleds and snowshoes.

Through her work, Panagopoulos strives to make the past come alive for her readers. "So often history is taught in such a removed manner that children don't relate to it," she told Rockford Register Star interviewer Julie Snively. "They need to realize history is a story about us and the connections we have."

Biographical and Critical Sources


Grand Rapids Press (Grand Rapids, MI), May 10, 2001, Matt VandeBunte, "Students Learn History from Author Panagopoulos," p. 4; March 28, 2002, Brian Donovan, "Aspiring Young Authors Learn How Acting Can Help," p. 3.

Green Bay Press-Gazette (Green Bay, WI), August 20, 1999, Jean Peerenboom, review of Train to Midnight, p. D1.

Rockford Register Star (Rockford, IL), August 30, 1999, Julie Snively, interview with Panagopoulos, p. 1C.


Jamie Lynn Panagopoulos Home Page, http://www.jlpanagopoulos.com/ (October 6, 2003).

River Road Publications Web Site, http://www.riverroadpublications.com/ (October 16, 2003), "Janie Lynn Panagopoulos."*

Additional topics

Brief BiographiesBiographies: Grace Napolitano: 1936—: Politician to Richard (Wayne) Peck (1934-) Biography - CareerJanie Lynn Panagopoulos Biography - Personal, Addresses, Career, Member, Honors Awards, Writings, Work in Progress, Sidelights