Beyond the Page: Featuring Deborah Hopkinson
We are thrilled to launch our new Beyond the Page feature! Reminiscent of our 3 Questions feature, Beyond the Page is designed to help our readers get to know some fun facts about writers and their upcoming books.
Kicking off our first Beyond the Page feature is Deborah Hopkinson, author of the latest, Carter Reads the Newspaper (Peachtree Publishing, February 2019), illustrated by Don Tate. Get to know her through some fun questions below.
If you could dye your hair any color, what color would you pick and why?
I would choose purple, to match my favorite lavender boots. I do love these boots—so much that I bought another pair. Now I have an old pair and a new pair. Unfortunately, last year while on a two-week trip to do school visits in Missouri, I opened my suitcase in my hotel room to discover that in the dark, I’d packed two left boots! (Fortunately, my dear husband shipped the other to me.)
What did you want to be growing up?
A writer, of course! And it is still thrilling to me to identify myself as an author. However, as I often tell students at author visits, in addition to writing, I worked at another job to support my family for many years. I only became a full time author in 2014 (after getting fired from my last job!), more than twenty years after publishing my first book. We live in a celebrity culture, surrounded by stories of instant success. I want young people to know dreams sometimes take a long time.
What would you title your memoir?
I would call it History Must be Seen, which is something said by the 19th century history educator Lucy Maynard Salmon, who advocated teaching not with textbooks, but with artifacts of everyday life like shopping lists and letters. Not that I’ll ever write a memoir: I find writing about the extraordinary lives of other people too fascinating.
Tell us one fun insider-fact about Carter Reads the Newspaper, your most recent work.
While we all know about Black History Month, I think fewer people are aware that Dr. Carter G. Woodson founded what is today the Association for the Study of American Life and History. https://asalh.org/about-us/our-history/
In 1926, he chose February to celebrate the first Negro History Month, now Black History Month. What an accomplishment—to establish both a scholarly organization and a national movement still vital and thriving a century later. In 1944, Dr. Woodson wrote, “The teaching of the whole truth will help us in the direction of a real democracy.”
Deborah Hopkinson is the award-winning author of numerous critically acclaimed picture and chapter books, including Keep On!; Sweet Land of Liberty; Under the Quilt of Night; and Shutting Out the Sky: Life in the Tenements of New York 1880-1924. She lives in Oregon. Find out more about her and her books at https://deborahhopkinson.com/.