All About Adolescent Literacy

All about adolescent literacy. Resources for parents and educators of kids in grades 4-12.
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A video interview with

Deborah Hopkinson

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Deborah Hopkinson was born in Lowell, Massachusetts. From an early age she was an avid reader, even hiding her own books inside the school textbooks she was supposed to be reading in class. History and science were her favorite school subjects, and remain topics she frequently writes about.

After reading many children's books to her young daughter, Hopkinson began her own career as an author and quickly found an audience. Her first published work, the picture book Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt, was recognized by the International Reading Association and Reading Rainbows. From picture books like Birdie's Lighthouse to non-fiction for young adults like Up Before Daybreak and Shutting Out the Sky, Hopkinson's award-winning books combine attention to small details with a presentation — text, illustration, and photographs — that engage young people with history.

Hopkinson has produced an impressive body of work, even as she worked full-time in philanthropy at the University of Hawaii, Oregon State University, and now at the Pacific Northwest College of Art.

Deborah Hopkinson and her family live in Corvallis, Oregon.

Selected Books

from Deborah Hopkinson

Abe Lincoln Crosses a Creek: A Tall, Thin Tale

Age Level: 9-12

Drama abounds in what might have happened if Austin Gollaher had not pulled the young Abraham Lincoln from a swollen Kentucky creek that day in 1816. This engaging tale was inspired and expanded from a real event noted by the author.

Buy Abe Lincoln Crosses a Creek: A Tall, Thin Tale

Shutting Out the Sky

Age Level: 12-14

Life for immigrants in the late 19th and early 20th centuries was filled with challenges, documented here through the lives of five young people from different countries. Black & white photographs add riveting detail.

Buy Shutting Out the Sky

Up Before Daybreak

Age Level: 12-14

Cotton has played a significant role in the history of the United States. Archival photographs and a clear text are used to explore King Cotton from Colonial times to the Industrial Revolution.

Buy Up Before Daybreak

Titanic: Voices from the Disaster

Age Level: 12-14

Deborah Hopkinson weaves together the voices and stories of real TITANIC survivors and witnesses to the disaster -- from the stewardess Violet Jessop to Captain Arthur Rostron of the CARPATHIA, who came to the rescue of the sinking ship. Packed with heartstopping action, devastating drama, fascinating historical details, loads of archival photographs on almost every page, quotes from primary sources, and painstaking back matter, this gripping story, which follows the TITANIC and its passengers from the ship's celebrated launch at Belfast to her cataclysmic icy end, is sure to thrill and move readers.

Buy Titanic: Voices from the Disaster

Courage and Defiance, Stories of Spies, Saboteurs and Survivors in WWII Denmark

Age Level: 12-14

When the Nazis invaded Denmark on Tuesday, April 9, 1940, the people of this tiny country to the north of Germany awoke to a devastating surprise. The government of Denmark surrendered quietly, and the Danes were ordered to go about their daily lives as if nothing had changed. But everything had changed.

Buy Courage and Defiance, Stories of Spies, Saboteurs and Survivors in WWII Denmark

The Great Trouble: A Mystery of London, the Blue Death, and a Boy Called Eel

Age Level: 9-12

Eel has troubles of his own: As an orphan and a "mudlark," he spends his days in the filthy River Thames, searching for bits of things to sell. He's being hunted by Fisheye Bill Tyler, and a nastier man never walked the streets of London. And he's got a secret that costs him four precious shillings a week to keep safe. But even for Eel, things aren't so bad until that fateful August day in 1854—the day the deadly cholera ("blue death") comes to Broad Street.

Buy The Great Trouble: A Mystery of London, the Blue Death, and a Boy Called Eel

A Bandit's Tale: The Muddled Misadventures of a Pickpocket

Age Level: 9-12

Eleven-year-old Rocco is an Italian immigrant who finds himself alone in New York City after he's sold to a padrone by his poverty-stricken parents. While working as a street musician, he meets the boys of the infamous Bandits' Roost, who teach him the art of pickpocketing. Rocco embraces his new life of crime—he's good at it, and it's more lucrative than banging a triangle on the street corner. But when he meets Meddlin' Mary, a strong-hearted Irish girl who's determined to help the horses of New York City, things begin to change. Rocco begins to reexamine his life—and take his future into his own hands.

Buy A Bandit's Tale: The Muddled Misadventures of a Pickpocket