Author Deborah Hopkinson
Meet Deborah Hopkinson!
Deborah Hopkinson is the author of more than 45 books for young readers including picture books, short fiction, and nonfiction. Her historical fiction picture books often illuminate the lives of ordinary people or forgotten figures in history. She has won the SCBWI Golden Kite Award for picture book text twice, and in 2013 received both a YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction honor and a Robert F. Sibert Honor for Titanic, Voices from the Disaster. A frequent speaker in schools and conferences, her books help bring history alive and encourage young readers to practice critical thinking and historical thinking skills.
Deborah’s award-winning works include Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt, winner of the 1994 International Reading association Award; A Band of Angels, an ALA Notable title which also won the Golden Kite Award and was a Jane Addams award honor book; Under the Quilt of Night, winner of the Washington State Book Award, Bluebird Summer, a Golden Kite Award Honor Book, and Girl Wonder, winner of the Great Lakes Book Award and a 2004 Jane Addams Award honor book.
Her 2006 book, Sky Boys, How They Built the Empire State Building, was an ALA Notable and a Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor book, while Up Before Daybreak, Cotton and People in America, won a Carter G. Woodson Award and an ALA Notable book. Shutting out the Sky, Life in the Tenements of New York 1880-1924, was an NCTE Orbis Pictus award honor book, a Jane Addams Award honor book, an IRA Teachers’ Choice, and a James Madison Award Honor Book. Apples to Oregon won the Golden Kite Award and Spur Storytelling Award.
Sweet Land of Liberty was named an IRA Teachers Choice and a Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People 2008. Abe Lincoln Crosses a Creek, was an ALA Notable book and was named winner of the Comstock Award. A four-time Oregon Book Award finalist, she won in 2009, receiving the Eloise Jarvis McGraw Award in 2009 for Keep On! The Story of Matthew Henson, Co-Discoverer of the North Pole.
In 2013, Deborah published Knit Your Bit, a World War I Story, and The Great Trouble, A Mystery of London, the Blue Death, and a Boy Called Eel, both Junior Library Guild selections. Her 2006 historical fiction novel, Into the Firestom, is on the 2013-14 Oregon Battle of the Books list.
Deborah received a bachelor’s degree in English at the University of Massachusetts and holds a master’s degree in Asian Studies from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. She lives near Portland, Oregon, where she serves as Vice President for College Advancement for Pacific Northwest College of Art.
Deborah Hopkinson's History
I was a kid who loved to read. And I always wanted to be a writer. Although I don’t write directly about my own life, my books reflect what I care about. I grew up in Lowell, Massachusetts, the oldest of three girls. In the 1800s, the city was at the center of the Industrial Revolution. Maybe that’s how I got my interest in history – even though I didn’t realize it right away.
I did wonder why there were so few stories of women and African Americans in my history textbooks. So a lot of my stories are about amazing people who might not be well known. I’ve written about astronomer Maria Mitchell in Maria’s Comet, Ella Sheppard Moore and the Fisk University Jubilee Singers in A Band of Angels, and Henderson Luelling, who brought apple trees across the Oregon Trail in Apples to Oregon.
I met my husband, Andy, who is now the winemaker at Ankeny Vineyard in Salem, when I was at the University of Hawaii for my master’s degree, and we have two grown children, Rebekah and Dimitri.
In addition to writing, visiting schools, and speaking at conferences, I have a full time job. I was the first person in my family to go to college, and education is important to me. So for many years I’ve worked in philanthropy as an advancement (fundraising) professional for colleges and universities. Today I serve as vice president for advancement for Pacific Northwest College of Art in Portland, Oregon.
I love researching new ideas and projects – and enjoy hearing from teachers, librarians, and readers of all ages! Do you have an idea for me or need a speaker for your school or conference? Contact me at email@example.com.