Chibbaro, Julie 1955–
CHIBBARO, Julie 1955–
PERSONAL: Born 1955. Education: Attended Hunter College of the City University of New York, 1987–91.
CAREER: McKinsey & Co., New York, NY, editor, 1991–96; Channel Crossings Language and Translation, Prague, Czech Republic, teacher of English as a second language (ESL), 1996–99; GetFit.com, Redwood City, CA, editor, 1999–2000; Centre CCFA École de Langues, ELAM, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, ESL teacher, 2000–01; Rogaine, Montreal, copywriter, 2001; journalist and fiction writer, 2001–. Participant in numerous writers' conferences, workshops, and residencies in United States and Czech Republic, including Palenville Interarts Colony, 1993, Prague Summer Writer's Workshop, 1997, Squaw Valley Community of Writers, 1999 and 2001, and Vermont Studio Center, 2003.
Redemption (young-adult novel), Atheneum Books for Young Readers (New York, NY), 2004.
Contributor of short stories to periodicals, including Optimism Monthly, Prague Review, and Catalyst. Contributor of articles and reviews to periodicals, including Prague Post, Books in Canada, and Montreal Gazette.
SIDELIGHTS: Julie Chibbaro's young-adult adventure, Redemption, examines the possibility that English settlers arrived on North American shores almost a century before the founding of the Jamestown colony. Twelve-year-old Lily Applegate and her mother face expulsion from England in 1522 because they have harbored a religious reformer from Germany. Taking a ship bound for the New World, Lily and her mother hope to find Lily's father there, as he has been missing for some years. For both women, the perilous voyage to an unknown land brings privation and despair—Lily's mother is attacked by the very baron who demanded she leave England, and Lily suffers from the harsh conditions existing aboard the vessel. When the ship wrecks on the foreign shore, Lily and her mother must contend with the evil baron and with Native Americans, some of whom are hostile and some of whom are helpful.
Chibbaro based Redemption on research suggesting that a few English settlers arrived in North America prior to the main body of colonial immigration, and that these Europeans merged with Native American peoples. A Kirkus Reviews critic commended the novel as "a fascinating look at a little-known side of American history." Claire Rosser in Kliatt called Redemption "serious historical fiction," adding that readers in search of an intricate fictitious world "will be richly rewarded." School Library Journal contributor Anna M. Nelson wrote that Chibbaro "weaves a fast-paced and engrossing story," and in Horn Book, Joanna Rudge Long suggested that the author "vivifies the book with inspired descriptions." Long concluded that Chibbaro's novel is an "engrossing adventure … both beautifully written and thought-provoking."
Chibbaro told CA: "My mother wrote, though she never published. At first, I rebelled against that fact, not wanting to be like her, but when I began to see how necessary writing was to me (like breathing), I started to take it seriously.
"Great storytellers, strong feelings, serious subjects, my artist partner, and nature (human and otherwise) all influence my work. I get up every morning, write for half an hour in my journal, and go to my desk. I sit there until the afternoon, either trying to create new work, or going over what I've written until I get the shape right, making sure I've not forgotten any plot point or character detail, or any other essential issue that makes a novel valid. Afterwards, I take a walk, or a nap, and think about what needs to be covered the next day. I work from five to seven days a week.
"The most surprising thing I have learned as a writer is that writing is the only thing I can't seem to conquer. Meaning that when I think I've accurately captured an emotion or a scene, upon looking at the work the next day, I am nearly always disappointed at how short of my goal I've fallen. That kind of challenge makes me want to try again and again until I get it right. So every day I'm surprised how difficult writing is.
"I hope that the years I spend writing one book will compound into a powerful experience for the reader who takes a night or a week to read it. I hope to move my readers the way I've been moved by books, to make them think in fresh, new ways about a subject they might not have otherwise considered. I hope always to write books that are meaningful."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, May 15, 2004, Hazel Rochman, review of Redemption, p. 1628.
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, June, 2004, Elizabeth Bush, review of Redemption, p. 412.
Horn Book, July-August, 2004, Joanna Rudge Long, review of Redemption, p. 449.
Kirkus Reviews, May 1, 2004, review of Redemption, p. 439.
Kliatt, May, 2004, Claire Rosser, review of Redemption, p. 6.
School Library Journal, August, 2004, Anna M. Nelson, review of Redemption, p. 116.
Julie Chibbaro Home Page, http://juliechibbaro.com (February 7, 2005).