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Bloom, Barbara Lee 1943-

BLOOM, Barbara Lee 1943-

PERSONAL:

Born April 11, 1943, in Long Beach, CA; daughter of Verdon Bradley and Shirley Andrews; married Thomas K. Bloom (a university professor); children: Heidi, Heather. Ethnicity: "Mixed." Education: University of CaliforniaLos Angeles, B.A.; California State University—Long Beach, M.A.; University of Vermont, Ed.D. Hobbies and other interests: Running, biking, hiking, skiing, reading.

ADDRESSES:

Home—41 Henderson Terrace, Burlington, VT 05401. E-mail—[email protected].

CAREER:

Writer, historian, and educator. Champlain College, assistant professor, 1980-90, professor of history, 1990—. Vermont Governor's Institute faculty, summers, 1982-1985; Vermont Council on the Humanities and Social Sciences Scholar, 1985-1995; Universidad Regiomontana, Monterrey, Mexico, visiting professor, 1997. Worked on curriculum development for the Center for World Education.

MEMBER:

Vermont Sierra Club, National Council of the Social Sciences, Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators.

AWARDS, HONORS:

University Scholars Fellowship, Rotary International, 1997.

WRITINGS:

Exploring Historical Fiction, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1992.

The Chinese Americans, Lucent Books (San Diego, CA), 2002.

The Mexican Americans, Lucent Books (San Diego, CA), 2004.

WORK IN PROGRESS:

Research on American women suffragists and on cultures and peoples of the world.

SIDELIGHTS:

Writer and historian Barbara Lee Bloom relies on the techniques of both fiction and nonfiction to examine historical subjects. Bloom, a professor of history at Champlain College in Vermont, is the author of factually accurate but fictionalized accounts of history in books such as Exploring Historical Fiction. Her story "Ain't I a Woman?" concerns Sojourner Truth, a former slave who became an evangelist, speaker, abolitionist, and women's rights crusader in the United States during the middle 1800s.

In her two nonfiction books, The Chinese Americans and The Mexican Americans, Bloom describes in detail the reasons and results of Chinese and Mexican immigration to the United States. The books explore why the immigrants left their home countries, the types of work they undertook in the United States, the problems and prejudices they encountered, and their struggles and victories in making a new life in a new, sometimes dramatically unfamiliar, country. Diane S. Marton, writing in School Library Journal, remarked favorably upon the "clear, lively" writing in The Chinese Americans, noting that Bloom offers "many first-person accounts" as well as additional detail "in numerous side-bars and boxes."

The book pays special attention to Chinese immigrants in Hawaii, with a separate chapter on their lives in this U.S. island state. Marton called The Chinese Americans an "in-depth" book as well as a "solid choice for reports." Similarly, Bloom's The Mexican Americans offers a detailed account of the reasons behind Mexican immigration to the United States, as well as the cultural, economic, and social effects on immigrants and their families.

"I wrote my first book when I was ten years old," Bloom told CA. "It wasn't published, but instead it was hidden in a secret compartment in my best friend's closet. We coauthored this book about Elizabeth's adventures in a private girls' school in Massachusetts. We had done our research by pretending to be parents of Elizabeth and writing letters to various private institutions and asking about their schools. To a young girl growing up in Long Beach, California, attending an Eastern girls' school sounded far away and far more exciting than my public school in a beach community.

"Since then, I have continued to love to do research and to learn about far-away places. I have traveled a great deal in Europe and Latin America and even spent the spring of 1997 in Monterrey, Mexico. As a historian, I am now careful about getting the facts and writing as accurately as possible about what I've discovered. My writings include historical fiction, biography, and historical nonfiction. For my biographical story about Sojourner Truth, 'Ain't I a Woman?,' I was paid in Australian pounds when the school system of New South Wales included it in one of their textbooks. That same story was put on the Internet for Colorado legislatures to read. As a historian, I know the importance of telling the story as accurately as possible, but as a professor of history, I know the importance of finding the interesting details of the past to interest my students.

"Currently, I teach courses in American and world history," Bloom told CA. "I am the director of the international exchange program at my college. In the past I have developed, with others, multicultural curriculum for grades five through twelve."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

School Library Journal, July, 2002, Diane S. Marton, review of The Chinese Americans, p. 129.

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