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Davies, Jacqueline 1962–

Davies, Jacqueline 1962–

Personal

Born July 25, 1962, in Cleveland, OH; daughter of I. John (a physician) and Ann R. Davies; married John Bennett (a creative director); children: Sam, Henry, Mae. Education: Brown University, B.A., 1984.

Addresses

Home—MA. E-mail—jackie@jacquelinedavies.net.

Career

Children's book author.

Awards, Honors

Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People designation, National Council of Social Studies/Children's Book Council (CBC), Children's Notable Book for Fiction Award, International Reading Association/CBC, and New York Public Library Books for the Teen Age selection, all 2003, all for Where the Ground Meets the Sky; John Burroughs List of Nature Books for Young Readers inclusion, and New York Public Library 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing selection, both 2004, and Outstanding Science Trade Book for Students K-12 designation, National Science Teachers Association/CBC, 2005, all for The Boy Who Drew Birds; Children's Book Sense Picks, 2007, for The House Takes a Vacation.

Writings

Where the Ground Meets the Sky, Marshall Cavendish (New York, NY), 2002.

The Boy Who Drew Birds: A Story of John James Audubon, illustrated by Melissa Sweet, Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 2004.

The Night Is Singing, illustrated by Kyrsten Brooker, Dial Books for Young Readers (New York, NY), 2006.

The House Takes a Vacation, illustrated by Lee White, Marshall Cavendish (New York, NY), 2007.

The Lemonade Stand (chapter book), Houghton Miffin (Boston, MA), 2007.

Sidelights

Jacqueline Davies is the author of a number of award-winning books for young readers, including the middle-grade novel Where the Ground Meets the Sky and the picture book The House Takes a Vacation. The author's debut title, Where the Ground Meets the Sky, is set in the 1940s and concerns twelve-year-old Hazel, who has recently moved with her family from New Jersey to a place in New Mexico known as the "Hill." The "Hill" is actually a remote military base on which her father works. While Hazel wonders what her father is working on in such secrecy, readers gradually realize that he is among the group of scientists creating the atomic bomb. The secrecy of such a job ultimately takes its toll on the family; Hazel's mother grows increasingly despondent due to her husband's secretive occupation, calling it "bad for the soul." Janet Gillen commented in a review for School Library Journal that Davies' "suspenseful story successfully captures the tensions of a volatile period in American history as the atomic bomb was being developed," and leaves young readers with "plenty to think about and no simple answers."

Davies' first picture book, The Boy Who Drew Birds: A Story of John James Audubon, tells the story of the French-born naturalist who, newly arrived in the United States when a young man, befriends a pair of nesting phoebe birds. When the birds leave in the fall, the young artist ponders their winter destination and decides to test the prevailing theories about migratory behavior. To determine if the creatures return to the same nests in the spring, he bands the young birds with silver thread before they fly south. In Horn Book, Joanna Rudge Long applauded Davies' "lively narration that illuminates Audubon's passion for observation and sets his pivotal insight into context," and Susan Scheps, writing in School Library Journal, called the work "a wonderful and accessible introduction to a man who made a great impact on the science of ornithology." In Kirkus Reviews a contributor praised The Boy Who Drew Birds as "winsomely imagined" and added that Davies' story sustains reader interest in the "bird-obsessed" artist "whose perfectionism led him to burn his artwork every year."

In Davies' The Night Is Singing, a bedtime tale told in verse, the author explores the sounds of a country evening. As a little girl prepares for bed, she notices the hissing of a radiator, the chiming of a hall clock, the squawking of a goose, the howling of a fierce wind, and, finally, the tip-tapping of her mother's feet as she comes to her daughter's room. According to Jennifer Mattson, writing in Booklist, Davies' text "conveys a vivid sense of cocooning safety, unpunctured even in the wake of a ‘crashing’ thunderstorm." Long observed that, "for addressing bedtime concerns," The Night Is Singing serves as "a welcome contrast to the monster-under-the-bed genre," and a contributor in Kirkus Reviews described the work as "gratifying and readable night after night."

With its owners gone, a home decides it could use a rest in Davies' offbeat title The House Takes a Vacation. After the Petersons drive off to enjoy their holiday, their residence develops a mind of its own and begins planning its escape. When the bedroom windows inquire about the destination, however, each part of the house offers its own suggestion. After much discussion, however, the roof, front door, chimney, and sun porch

agree to head to the beach. School Library Journal critic Judith Constantinides remarked that The House Takes a Vacation "is memorable mainly for its play on words," adding the book "is somewhat sophisticated in its humor." Writing in Horn Book, Kitty Flynn similarly noted that "some of the wordplay may not register with young readers …, but that doesn't detract from the story's absurd humor."

The Lemonade Stand, a chapter book, centers on Evan Treski and his younger sister, Jessie. Though the siblings generally get along well together, things change dramatically over the course of one summer. A bright and talented student, Jessie learns that she will skip a year of school and enter fourth grade with her brother. To make matters worse, in Evan's mind, they will be sitting in the same classroom. Soon misunderstandings abound, and as their rivalry grows, Evan and Jessie set up competing lemonade stands, each determined to outsell the other. "The plot rolls along smoothly," a contributor in Kirkus Reviews stated, and Booklist critic Carolyn Phelan observed that Davies "does a good job of showing the siblings' strengths, flaws, and points of view" in the work. The Lemonade Stand "is highly read- able and engaging," remarked Maria B. Salvadore in School Library Journal, the critic going on to describe the book as "funny, fresh, and plausible."

Davies once told SATA: "The first book I ever wrote is called The Sad Shape. I wrote it when I was in kindergarten and I have it still. It's a modest opus, no more than one hundred words long, but I like to show The Sad Shape to students when I visit school because it proves two points: 1) anyone in the room can write a story as good as my early stuff, and 2) all stories have a shape (even if it is a sad one).

"I've been writing stories since I was five, but I turned to writing books for kids when I was thirty. Previously, I'd written nonfiction and short stories for adults, but honestly I couldn't quite figure out what the point was. Most of the adults I knew were pretty set in their ways. They'd figured out a lot of what makes the world tick, and they didn't get particularly worked up over the

books they read. But kids, kids are full of juice. They do get excited about the books they read—the ones that make them laugh, the ones that make them check under the bed before going to sleep, the ones that make them think and cry and think some more. Kids really get INTO a story, and that was the kind of audience I wanted for my books.

"When I talk to kids who've read my books, they often tell me their reactions. ‘I was so sad when the cat died, I wished I could change that part.’ ‘Reading about John James Audubon made me go outside and start drawing birds myself. It's hard!’ ‘The character of Eleanor reminded me of my sister. I wish I was more like them because they're brave and have adventures.’ I love these comments. They help me see inside the story that I wrote to the story that is actually experienced by the reader. I feel extraordinarily lucky to have such a collaborative experience with my readers."

Biographical and Critical Sources

PERIODICALS

Booklist, September 1, 2002, GraceAnne A. DeCandido, review of Where the Ground Meets the Sky, p. 112; November 1, 2004, Carolyn Phelan, review of The Boy Who Drew Birds: A Story of John James Audubon, p. 477; May 15, 2006, Jennifer Mattson, review of The Night Is Singing, p. 49; March 15, 2007, Carolyn Phelan, review of The Lemonade War, p. 46.

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, October, 2004, Deborah Stevenson, review of The Boy Who Drew Birds, p. 68; April, 2007, Deborah Stevenson, review of The House Takes a Vacation, p. 3327.

Horn Book, November-December, 2004, Joanna Rudge Long, review of The Boy Who Drew Birds, p. 726; July-August, 2006, Joanna Rudge Long, review of The Night Is Singing, p. 423; May-June, 2007, Kitty Flynn, review of The House Takes a Vacation, p. 263.

Kirkus Reviews, September 1, 2004, review of The Boy Who Drew Birds; April 15, 2006, review of The Night Is Singing, p. 404; February 15, 2007, review of review of The House Takes a Vacation; April 1, 2007, review of The Lemonade War.

Publishers Weekly, September 13, 2004, review of The Boy Who Drew Birds, p. 81.

School Library Journal, April, 2002, Janet Gillen, review of Where the Ground Meets the Sky, p. 146; December, 2004, Susan Scheps, review of The Boy Who Drew Birds, p. 128; June, 2006, Sally R. Dow, review of The Night Is Singing, p. 110; May, 2007, Judith Constantinides, review of The House Takes a Vacation, p. 90, and Maria B. Salvadore, review of The Lemonade War, p. 90.

U.S. News & World Report, September 27, 2004, Marc Silver, review of The Boy Who Drew Birds, p. 16.

Washington Post Book World, September 12, 2004, Elizabeth Ward, review of The Boy Who Drew Birds, p. 12.

ONLINE

Jacqueline Davies Web site,http://www.jacquelinedavies.net (December 20, 2007).

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"Davies, Jacqueline 1962–." Something About the Author. . Encyclopedia.com. 16 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Davies, Jacqueline 1962–." Something About the Author. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 16, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/children/scholarly-magazines/davies-jacqueline-1962-0

"Davies, Jacqueline 1962–." Something About the Author. . Retrieved August 16, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/children/scholarly-magazines/davies-jacqueline-1962-0

Davies, Jacqueline 1962-

DAVIES, Jacqueline 1962-

Personal

Born July 25, 1962, in Cleveland, OH; daughter of I. John (a physician) and Ann R. (Rosati) Davies; married John Bennett (a creative director); children: Sam, Henry, Mae. Education: Brown University, B.A., 1984.

Addresses

office c/o Author Mail, Dial Books for Young Readers/Dell Publishing, 1540 Broadway, New York, NY 10036. E-mail Jackie@jacquelinedavies.net.

Career

Children's book author.

Writings

Where the Ground Meets the Sky, Marshall Cavendish (New York, NY), 2002.

The Boy Who Drew Birds: A Story of John James Audubon, illustrated by Melissa Sweet, Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 2004.

The Night Is Singing Lullabies, illustrated by Kyrsten Brooker, Dial Books for Young Readers (New York, NY), 2006.

Sidelights

Jacqueline Davies' 2002 middle-grade novel Where the Ground Meets the Sky is set in the 1940s, and in it twelve-year-old Hazel has recently moved with her family from New Jersey to a place in New Mexico known as the "Hill." The "Hill" is actually a remote military base on which her father works. While Hazel wonders what her father is working on in such secrecy, readers gradually realize that he is among the group of scientists creating the atomic bomb. The secrecy of such a job ultimately takes its toll on the family; Hazel's mother grows increasingly despondent due to her husband's secretive occupation, calling it "bad for the soul." Janet Gillen commented in a review for School Library Journal that Davies' "suspenseful story successfully captures the tensions of a volatile period in American history as the atomic bomb was being developed," and leaves young readers with "plenty to think about and no simple answers."

Davies' first picture book, The Boy Who Drew Birds: A Story of John James Audubon, tells the story of the French-born naturalist who, newly arrived in the United States when a young man, befriends a pair of nesting phoebe birds. When the birds leave in the fall, the young artist wonders if they will return the following spring. In Kirkus Reviews a contributor praised the work as "winsomely imagined" and added that Davies' story sustains reader interest in the "bird-obsessed" artist "whose perfectionism led him to burn his artwork every year."

Davies told Something about the Author: "The first book I ever wrote is called The Sad Shape. I wrote it when I was in kindergarten and I have it still. It's a modest opus, no more than 100 words long, but I like to show The Sad Shape to students when I visit school because it proves two points: 1) anyone in the room can write a story as good as my early stuff, and 2) all stories have a shape (even if it is a sad one).

"I've been writing stories since I was five, but I turned to writing books for kids when I was thirty. Previously, I'd written nonfiction and short stories for adults, but honestly I couldn't quite figure out what the point was. Most of the adults I knew were pretty set in their ways. They'd figured out a lot of what makes the world tick, and they didn't get particularly worked up over the books they read. But kids, kids are full of juice. They do get excited about the books they readthe ones that make them laugh, the ones that make them check under

the bed before going to sleep, the ones that make them think and cry and think some more. Kids really get INTO a story, and that was the kind of audience I wanted for my books.

"When I talk to kids who've read my books, they often tell me their reactions. 'I was so sad when the cat died, I wished I could change that part.' 'Reading about John James Audubon made me go outside and start drawing birds myself. It's hard!' 'The character of Eleanor reminded me of my sister. I wish I was more like them because they're brave and have adventures.' I love these comments. They help me see inside the story that I wrote to the story that is actually experienced by the reader. I feel extraordinarily lucky to have such a collaborative experience with my readers."

Biographical and Critical Sources

PERIODICALS

Booklist, September 1, 2002, GraceAnne A. DeCandido, review of Where the Ground Meets the Sky, p. 112.

Kirkus Reviews, September 1, 2004, review of The Boy Who Drew Birds: A Story of John James Audubon.

School Library Journal, April, 2002, Janet Gillen, review of Where the Ground Meets the Sky, p. 146.

ONLINE

Jacqueline Davies Web site, http://www.jacquelinedavies.net/ (October 21, 2004).

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Davies, Jacqueline 1962-." Something About the Author. . Encyclopedia.com. 16 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Davies, Jacqueline 1962-." Something About the Author. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 16, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/children/scholarly-magazines/davies-jacqueline-1962

"Davies, Jacqueline 1962-." Something About the Author. . Retrieved August 16, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/children/scholarly-magazines/davies-jacqueline-1962