Boyden, Linda 1948-

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BOYDEN, Linda 1948-

PERSONAL: Born July 6, 1948, in Attleboro, MA; daughter of Ray and Marie (Dargis) Simmons; married John P. Boyden (an engineer), 1988; children: A. Rachel, Eámon, Maeve; (stepchildren) Luanne, John, Jr. Ethnicity: "Caucasian/Native American." Education: Framingham State College, B.S.Ed., 1970; University of Virginia, M.Ed., 1992. Hobbies and other interests: Volunteer work at Makawao Public Library, hiking in national parks, reading, sewing.

ADDRESSES: Home—151 Alalani St., Pukalani, HI 96768. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER: Self-employed storyteller and writer, specializing in American Indian stories. Elementary schoolteacher, 1970-97; teacher of writing at a private middle school on the island of Maui, Hawaii; gives readings from her works. United Lumbee Nation, enrolled member; Intertribal Council of Hawaii, member of Maui chapter.

MEMBER: Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, Wordcraft Circle of Native American Writers and Storytellers, Children's Literature Hawaii, Maui Live Poets Society.

AWARDS, HONORS: New Voices Award, Lee & Low Books, 2000, for The Blue Roses.

WRITINGS:

The Blue Roses, illustrated by Amy Córdova, Lee & Low Books (New York, NY), 2002.

Work represented in anthologies, including Through the Eye of a Deer, Auntlute Books, 1999; and Woven on the Wind, Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 2001.

WORK IN PROGRESS: Several picture-book manuscripts; three middle-reader manuscripts; a picturebook biography of Sarah Winnemucca; poetry for adults and children.

SIDELIGHTS: Linda Boyden told CA: "For as long as I can remember, I have loved words. Before I could read, I told myself stories to fall asleep or stories for my dolls to enact. The first most important discovery of my life was learning how to read. It changed everything! I still loved to make up my own stories, but now I could enjoy what others had imagined, too.

"Sometimes in my storytelling jaunts, though, important adults misunderstood me. To be good, they pointed out, I must learn the difference between telling the truth and telling lies. As I grew older and emerged as a writer, I discovered one of the truths of fiction writing: readers approve of the 'lies'! This is definitely for me, I decided.

"But I also wanted to teach, and I did for over twenty years. During snow days or when I was an at-home mom with my own babies, I wrote at every opportunity. When circumstances moved my husband and me to Maui in 1997, I abandoned teaching and began to try to market my writings in earnest.

"After many, many rejections, one of my manuscripts, The Blue Roses, hit the jackpot by winning the Lee & Low Books first New Voices Award in 2000. A traditional Cherokee myth says that the first stories came to people in dreams. My first book is based on a dream I had after my maternal grandfather passed on. I was thirty at the time, about to have my third child, and I couldn't travel the long distance to my grandfather's funeral. I was heartbroken. One night, Grandpa came to me in a dream. He stood in a beautiful garden (gardening had been his life-long hobby). Grandpa told me he was happy and to stop my carrying-on. It sounds strange, but I awoke with a new-found sense of contentment.

"Until then, death had terrified me. Seeing how happy he was changed that. Later I thought how poorly death is explained to most children. Wouldn't gardening be a great metaphor to help kids understand, to give them comfort and hope? These thoughts led to my book.

"Kids are still as hungry for good books as I was. Leading them to their own literacy is what I enjoy doing most, next to writing. Children have stories to tell. Teaching them to express their words aloud or on paper and to enjoy the written words of others empowers them and enriches the world."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Kirkus Reviews, April 1, 2002, review of The Blue Roses, p. 486.

School Library Journal, March, 2001, "New Voice in Children's Literature Honored," p. 22; June, 2002, Kathy Piehl, review of The Blue Roses, p. 88.