Children’s History Book Writer, Jean Fritz, Dies Aged 101

By May 18, 2017Authors, News

Award winning writer, Jean Fritz, who is best known for her history books aimed at younger readers, has passed away at the age of 101. The writer was able to take stories from throughout history and turn them into tales that allowed youngsters to explore history without having to endure the dryer parts of the subject.

As the New York Times reports, Jean passed away on Sunday at her home in Sleepy Hollow, N.Y, at the age of 101. Her death was confirmed by her son, David Fritz. Fritz published over 48 books during her life and her work focused mainly on historical American figures from the 16th and 19th century.

Despite aiming her books towards young readers, Frtiz’s books were still very historically accurate and she even went as far as to attribute no dialogue to historical figures unless tit came from reliable sources such as diaries or letters. She also presented these figures as complex and flawed human beings rather than the perfect specimens history often presents us.

Her books include the likes of: And Then What Happened, Paul Revere? (1973); Why Don’t You Get a Horse, Sam Adams? (1974); and Where Was Patrick Henry on the 29th of May? (1975), Will You Sign Here, John Hancock? (1976), Can’t You Make Them Behave, King George? (1977), and Shh! We’re Writing the Constitution (1987).

Born in Hankow (now Hankou), China in 1916, as the only child of Arthur Minton Guttery, a Presbyterian missionary, and Myrtle Chaney. Fritza grew up to be a keen student of history, particularly her parent’s homeland.

“My interest in writing about American history stemmed originally, I think, from a subconscious desire to find roots,” Fritz is quoted saying in the reference work Major Authors and Illustrators for Children and Young Adults. “I lived in China until I was 13, hearing constant talk about ‘home’ (meaning America), but since I had never been ‘home,’ I felt like a girl without a country.”

Fritz and her family returned to the United States in the 1920s were they settled in Connecticut. Fritz earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Wheaton College in Norton, Mass., and in 1941 married Michael Fritz. Jean Fritz is survived by her son, her daughter, and two grandchildren.

Honouring Douglas Adams with Towel Day on the 25th of May!

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Happy Towel Day, Reading Addicts!

In case you didn’t know, Towel Day is a celebration that happens every year on the 25th of May, as a tribute to the late author Douglas Adams who died in May, 2001.

On this day, fans around the universe honour him by carrying a towel, reading his novels, and generally spreading the word about the great man.

Fans of Adams’ work, and in particular The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, started this celebration 2 weeks after Douglas died in 2001, and since then many of us have been honouring him in our own ways…

An Italian Orchestra- the Magister Espresso Orchestra– produced this beautiful video as a tribute to Adams, for Towel Day.

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7 Scandalous Sayings from Dame Barbara Cartland

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The English romance novelist, Dame Barbara Cartland, was born on the 9th of July in 1901 and died on the 21st of May 2000.

She was a prolific best-selling author and one of the most successful of the 20th century. She wrote 723 novels all of which were translated into around 38 languages, and in 1976 was entered in the Guinness World Records for the most novels published in that single year.

Cartland was a self-professed “expert on romance”, however as she became more conservative in her later years this became a focus for ridicule. Barbara’s first novels were considered shocking and risqué however her later books were relatively tame, often involving virginal heroines and were lacking in saucy situations.

Her popularity never wained, though, and she will always be known as the Dame of romantic fiction.

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Ruskin Bond the Hip Hop Nature Boy

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Ruskin Bond was born on the 19th of May 1934 in Kasauli, and over the years lived in both the UK and all over India. His works have been influenced by his early life living at the foothills of the Himalayas.

His first novel, The Room On the Roof, was written when he was 17 and was partly based on his experiences at Dehradun, in a small rented room on a roof.

His first children’s book was The Angry River, published in 1972. On writing for children, Ruskin said, “I had a pretty lonely childhood and it helps me to understand a child better.”

Ruskin has written a series of autobiographical work: Rain in the Mountains, about his years spent in Mussoorie; Scenes from a Writer’s Life based on his life up until he was 21, and Scenes from a Writer’s Life focuses on his English adventures.

“It also tells a lot about my parents”, he says, “The book ends with the publication of my first novel and my decision to make writing my livelihood…Basically, it describes how I became a writer”.

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Visually Impaired Teenager Publishes First Book

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12 year old Julia Fleming, from Arab in Alabama, USA, is an award-winning, intelligent, young woman with a bright future in writing.

Earlier this year Julia won a State Literature title for students in grades 4-6. She surprised her teachers, parents, and friends by entering but not telling a soul when she did! The competition entailed taking a book they’d read and writing a letter to the author of the novel to explain how it impacted their lives. Julia did this without letting on that she is, in fact, legally blind.

Julia explained to WAFF News: “I’m legally blind, which means that I’m not totally blind, but that I was born totally blind,” She told of how she has had artificial cornea transplants to gain her some limited vision.

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10 Bookish Quotes from Gary Paulsen

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Gary Paulsen was born on the 17th of May, 1939 in Minnesota, USA.

Paulsen is a Young Adult literature writer and is best known for coming of age stories based in and around the wilderness. He writes primarily for teens, and is the author of over 200 books, more than 200 magazine articles and short stories, and has even written several plays.

The American Library Association awarded him the Margaret Edwards award in 1997 for his “significant and lasting” contribution in writing for teenagers. Three of Paulsen’s books (Dogsong, Hatchet, and The Winter Room) were also runners-up for the premier ALA annual book award for children’s literature, the Newbery Medal.

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