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Deborah HopkinsonDescribe your latest project.
I love historical anniversaries. They help give kids a way to make sense of when events happened. And 2009 is an especially exciting year because it marks the bicentennial of both Abraham Lincoln and Charles Darwin, who were born on the exact same day, as well as the 150th birthday of Oregon's statehood.
Abe Lincoln Crosses a Creek: A Tall, Thin Tale explores an incident in Lincoln's childhood when he was saved from drowning by his friend, Austin Gollaher.
I think kids will really love John Hendrix's illustrations for Abe. We wanted this book to encourage children to ask questions about history, such as "What really happened?" "Do ordinary people belong in history?" "How can we begin to understand what happened in the past?"
The story is also meant to be lots of fun!
I would like Jane Eyre to be my friend. To be honest, it's not just because I love her independence and brave spirit. I also like the idea that she might be willing to share her inheritance.
If you could choose any story to live in, which story would it be? Why?
Several years ago, I even dragged my daughter on a sort of literary pilgrimage to Bath, where, I am pleased to say, we met Austenites far more fanatical than I am.
What is your favorite literary first line?
"It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife." Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice
"Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show." Charles Dickens, David Copperfield
"I come from a family with a lot of dead people." Deborah Wiles, Each Little Bird That Sings (a National Book Award finalist for young people)
How did the last good book you read end up in your hands?
Tell us about your pets.
Right now, my old dog is the queen of the dog park. She looks like a bear, and we want to get her a sign to wear that reads: "I know I look like a bear. But I don't know what kind of dog I am."
Who are your favorite characters in history?
Make a question of your own, then answer it.
A: All audiences answer this question the same: boring. So what can I do to change that? When I walked up the worn, uneven stone steps of Jubilee Hall, I couldn't help shivering, because I realized that Ella Sheppard Moore, the young Jubilee singer I write about in A Band of Angels, had also walked there, full of pride that she helped build that building and save Fisk University.
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Deborah Hopkinson is most recently the author of Sky Boys: How They Built the Empire State Building. She is also the author of the ALA Notable Book, Apples to Oregon. She lives in Coravilis, Oregon.