Bledsoe, Karen E. 1962–
Bledsoe, Karen E. 1962–
(Karen Elizabeth Bledsoe)
PERSONAL: Born April 15, 1962, in Salem, OR; daughter of Don James (an accountant and Christmas tree farmer) and Harriet Elizabeth (a medical technologist and Christmas tree farmer; maiden name, Hiday) Lytle; married Glen Leonard Bledsoe (a teacher and writer), June 28, 1992; children: Gabriel Scott (stepson), James Wesley Solonika. Education: Willamette University, B.S., 1985, M.A.T., 1991; Oregon State University, M.S., 1988; doctoral study in science and mathematics education. Hobbies and other interests: Gardening, shin-shin toitsu aikido.
ADDRESSES: Home—Salem, OR. Office—Department of Biology, Linn-Benton Community College, 6500 Pacific Blvd. SW, Albany, OR 97321. E-mail—[email protected]
CAREER: Educator and author. Temporary and substitute teacher at public schools in Salem, OR, 1991–95; Western Oregon University, Monmouth, instructor in biology, beginning 1995; Linn-Benton Community College, Albany, OR, currently instructor in biology. Oregon Academy of Science, science education co-chairperson and Web page designer, 1996–; Oregon Collaborative for Excellence in the Preparation of Teachers, faculty fellow, 1997–; Oregon Public Education Network, team coach for Master WEBster Web page design contest, 1998–99. U.S. Forest Service, seasonal biological technician, 1985; City of Salem, seasonal recreational leader and environmental educator, 1989–94; School Science and Mathematics Journal, managing editor; Science and Math Investigative Learning Experiences (SMILE), Oregon State University, curriculum coordinator.
MEMBER: Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, National Biology Teachers Association, Oregon Science Teachers Association, Phi Delta Kappa.
AWARDS, HONORS: Oregon Writing Project, Willamette University, fellow.
FOR YOUNG PEOPLE; EDITOR WITH HUSBAND, GLEN BLEDSOE
Classic Ghost Stories II, Lowell House (Los Angeles, CA), 1998.
Classic Sea Stories, Lowell House (Los Angeles, CA), 1999.
Creepy Classics III: More Hair-Raising Horror from the Masters of the Macabre, Lowell House (Los Angeles, CA), 1999.
Classic Mysteries II, Lowell House (Los Angeles, CA), 1999.
Classic Adventures, Lowell House (Los Angeles, CA), 2000.
(With Candyce Norvall) 365 Nature Crafts, Publications International (Lincolnwood, IL), 1997.
Best Friends, Publications International (Lincolnwood, IL), 1997.
School Memories Album, Publications International (Lincolnwood, IL), 1998.
Millennium Album, Publications International (Lincolnwood, IL), 1998.
(With Maria Birmingham and Kelly Milner Halls) 365 Outdoor Activities, illustrated by Anne Kennedy, Publications International (Lincolnwood, IL), 2000.
(With husband, Glen Bledsoe) Ballooning Adventures, Capstone Books (Mankato, MN), 2001.
(With Glen Bledsoe) The Blue Angels: The U.S. Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, Capstone Books (Mankato, MN), 2001.
(With Glen Bledsoe) The World's Fastest Helicopters, Capstone Books (Mankato, MN), 2002.
(With Glen Bledsoe) The World's Fastest Trucks, Capstone Books (Mankato, MN), 2002.
(With Glen Bledsoe) Airplane Adventures, Capstone Books (Mankato, MN), 2002.
(With Glen Bledsoe) Bicycling Adventures, Capstone Books (Mankato, MN), 2002.
(With Glen Bledsoe) The World's Fastest Dragsters, Capstone Books (Mankato, MN), 2003.
(With Glen Bledsoe) The World's Fastest Indy Cars, Capstone Books (Mankato, MN), 2003.
Daredevils of the Air: Thrilling Tales of Pioneer Aviators, Avisson Press (Greensboro, NC), 2003.
Hanukkah Crafts, Enslow Publishers (Berkeley Heights, NJ), 2004.
Chinese New Year Crafts, Enslow Publishers (Berkeley Heights, NJ), 2005.
Genetically Engineered Foods, Blackbirch Press (San Diego, CA), 2005.
WORK IN PROGRESS: A series of five short books on the human body; two books on military vehicles with husband and coauthor Glen Bledsoe.
SIDELIGHTS: In addition to focusing on her writing, both independently and with husband and coauthor Glen Bledsoe, Karen E. Bledsoe is also a biology instructor as well as the managing editor of the School Science and Mathematics Journal. Having loved writing since she was a young girl, Bledsoe openly admits to having had a long-time love affair with literature. The husband-and-wife team have coauthored a number of informational children's books, including The World's Fastest Dragsters and Bicycling Adventures. While she continues to work with her husband, Bledsoe has also begun publishing on her own, and has produced books such as Daredevils of the Air: Thrilling Tales of Pioneer Aviators and Hanukkah Crafts.
Daredevils of the Air begins with Orville and Wilbur Wright's invention of the airplane in 1903 and works its way forward through history. Bledsoe also provides readers with background on famous aviators such as Eddie Rickenbacker, Glenn Curtiss, and Charles Kingsford-Smith, who often risked their lives while advancing man's mastery of the skies, as safety was often not a top priority in early aviation history. Vicki Reutter, writing in the School Library Journal, commented that the book provides readers with "a solid introduction to a group of courageous individuals."
Bledsoe once commented: "Writing and teaching are natural careers for me. I've always liked telling what I know to a captive audience.
"Words have been my toys since I first taught myself to read at the age of three. I spent many hours manufacturing little books, hand-illustrated and bound with a stapler. Inventions were a favorite theme, followed closely by mysteries, code books, and adventure stories. When I wasn't writing, I was gobbling up books as fast as I could get my hands on them. Books were my best friends during my school years when we moved every year—sometimes twice a year. I was a wallflower and had difficulty making friends.
"In junior high and high school, when the family was more settled and I finally had friends again, I turned to more challenging themes in both my reading and writing: high fantasy, supernatural adventure, lengthy sagas. I churned out the usual dreary, self-pitying poetry characteristic of angst-ridden teen writers, wrote for the school yearbook, and got a fair start on a lengthy fantasy novel that I may yet finish. My best subjects were English and science, and I chose the life sciences as my college path.
"College and a disastrous marriage occupied the next eight years of my life. Though I had little energy to spare for it, I still dabbled at writing. With a sister-in-law, I completed my first novel, a cliché-ridden romantic spoof that will never see the light of print (nor was it meant to) but which taught me much about what it takes to finish a book. Earning my bachelor's degree and a master of arts in botany during this period taught me plenty about perseverance in adverse circumstances.
"Finding that teaching was more to my liking than scientific research, I enrolled in the master of arts in teaching program at Willamette University, where I earned my teaching certificate and met my current husband. The two events marked a new era in my life. In the mutually supportive environment we've nurtured in our home, we have both blossomed creatively. We always have projects going: novels in progress, Web pages going up, art work, music, gardening, while the television slowly gathers dust. When we write, it is often literally together, with two keyboards plugged in series into the back of a Macintosh. Our publishing successes have been modest so far, but we intend to persevere until we can retire from teaching and earn our living as writers."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
School Library Journal, March, 2002, Diane Olivo-Posner, review of Bicycling Adventures, p. 208; November, 2003, Jeffrey A. French, review of The World's Fastest Dragsters, p. 153; January, 2004, Vicki Reutter, review of Daredevils of the Air: Thrilling Tales of Pioneer Aviators, p. 140; June, 2005, Tanaz Sutaria, review of Chinese New Year Crafts, p. 133.
Glen and Karen Bledsoe Home Page, http://www.gkbledsoe.com (December 19, 2005).