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Bowe, Julie 1962-

Bowe, Julie 1962-

PERSONAL:

Born June 19, 1962, in WI; daughter of a cabinet maker and sheep farmer; married; children: one daughter, one son. Education: Luther College (Decorah, IA), bachelor's degree; Luther Seminary (St. Paul, MN), M.A.

ADDRESSES:

Home—WI. Agent—The Chudney Agency, 72 N. State Rd., Ste. 501, Briarcliff Manor, NY 10510.

CAREER:

Author and editor. Augsburg Fortress Publishers, Minneapolis, MN, curriculum writer and editor. Has also worked as a youth director and camp program director.

MEMBER:

Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators.

WRITINGS:

My Last Best Friend, Harcourt (Orlando, FL), 2007.

My New Best Friend, Harcourt (Orlando, FL), 2008.

SIDELIGHTS:

Julie Bowe grew up on a farm in Luck, Wisconsin, in a close-knit family that celebrated their Danish heritage. She was interested in writing from a young age, and turned to creating stories for children after her second child was born. Her first novel, My Last Best Friend, tells the story of Ida May, a girl who finds it hard to face fourth grade now that her best friend has moved away. Ida May hopes to befriend new girl Stacey, although to do so she will have to overcome the bullying of popular classmate Jenna. "Like Ida," Bowe once commented, "I loved to read and draw when I was a kid, and hoped to be an artist someday. I still love to read and I like to think that I make pictures with my writing. I guess I grew up to be an artist after all!"

In Booklist, Stephanie Zvirin observed that My Last Best Friend is filled with "comedy and important growing-up issues" that "meld in a strong debut, just right for the age group." "Delightful details enhance this friendship story that develops realistically," Debbie Stewart Hoskins similarly noted in School Library Journal. A Kirkus Reviews writer observed that "Ida's humorous outlook is engaging, and the situation is realistic," and recommended the book for reluctant readers. "If the book's resolution is a little too tidy, Bowe's characters emerge fully formed," a Publishers Weekly critic commented, concluding that in My Last Best Friend "Ida embodies the universal longing to connect with a kindred spirit."

A sequel to Ida May's story, My New Best Friend finds friends Ida May and Stacey hoping to form a "Secret Mermaid Club." When the club gets out of hand in acting against Jenna, Ida May must find a way to calm things down while still preserving her friendship with Stacey. In School Library Journal contributor Maryann H. Owen remarked that "various family situations are well represented and lend credence to the characters' behaviors" in My New Best Friend. "Bowe is spot-on with Ida May's feelings," a Kirkus Reviews critic commented, concluding that "fans of Ida May will be overjoyed to read this new installment."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, September 1, 2007, Stephanie Zvirin, review of My Last Best Friend, p. 114.

Kirkus Reviews, March 15, 2007, review of My Last Best Friend; July 1, 2008, review of My New Best Friend.

Publishers Weekly, April 23, 2007, review of My Last Best Friend, p. 51.

School Library Journal, May, 2007, Debbie Stewart Hoskins, review of My Last Best Friend, p. 85; October 1, 2008, Maryann H. Owen, review of My New Best Friend.

ONLINE

Julie Bowe Home Page,http://www.juliebowe.com (October 15, 2008).

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