Duprau, Jeanne 1944-

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Duprau, Jeanne 1944-


Born June, 1944, in San Francisco, CA; daughter of James B. (a steel company executive) and Dolly (a homemaker and painter) DuPrau. Education: Scripps College, B.A., 1966; University of California, Berkeley, secondary teaching credential, 1967. Politics: Democrat. Hobbies and other interests: Music, gardening.


Home—237 Santa Margarita Ave., Menlo Park, CA 94025. Agent—Nancy Gallt, 273 Charlton Ave., South Orange, NJ, 07079. E-mail—[email protected].


Teacher, editor, and technical writer in CA and NY. Volunteer work includes teaching computer classes for seniors, community garden projects, and grief counseling.


Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators.



The City of Ember (young adult novel), Random House (New York, NY), 2003.

The People of Sparks (young adult novel), Yearling (New York, NY), 2005.

Car Trouble, Greenwillow Books (New York, NY), 2005.

The Prophet of Yonwood, Random House (New York, NY), 2006.


Adoption: The Facts, Feelings, and Issues of a Double Heritage, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1981.

(With Molly Tyson) The Apple IIgs Book, Bantam Books (New York, NY), 1986.

The Earth House (memoir), New Chapter Press (Pound Ridge, NY), 1992.

Cloning, Lucent Books (San Diego, CA), 2000.

Cells, Kidhaven Press (San Diego, CA), 2002.

The American Colonies, Kidhaven Press (San Diego, CA), 2002.


Jeanne DuPrau began her writing career penning nonfiction books such as Adoption: The Facts, Feelings, and Issues of a Double Heritage, for which she was credited by reviewers with providing a sensitive, perceptive portrayal of the psychological and emotional impact of adopting a child or being adopted. A memoir followed, The Earth House, which describes the author's experience with Zen Buddhism and the building of a rammed-earth house with her partner, who died of cancer before the house could be completed. "DuPrau's clearly written prose is both poetic and lyrical," remarked Susanne Carter in Belles Lettres.

In Cloning DuPrau introduces middle-and high-school students to many aspects of this controversial issue in science. In a text praised for its clarity and straightforward approach to its subject, Cloning discusses the benefits of cloning in agriculture and medicine, and the fears of its opponents, who expect widespread use of the technique to have a detrimental effect on biodiversity, with possible exploitation in pursuit of ethnic cleansing or eugenics schemes. Arguments both for and against are presented in a way that is "always well balanced and gives readers ample information to form their own opinions," according to Randy Meyer in Booklist.

DuPrau is also the author of young-adult science-fiction novels, including The City of Ember. Her story centers on two twelve year olds, Lina and Doon, who live in a city where there is no natural light. Unless the electricity is on, Ember is engulfed in darkness. The city is old. The generator that keeps the lights going is breaking down, so darkness descends more and more often. The storerooms that hold all Ember's supplies are nearly empty. The crops in the greenhouses that grow Ember's food are beginning to fail. The mayor of Ember assures people that all is well, but Lina and Doon know the situation is critical. When Lina finds an ancient document that might be instructions for leaving the city, she and Doon embark on a desperate search that leads them through the dark streets of the city, into the labyrinth of tunnels that lies below, and finally into a new world. Elizabeth Devereaux, writing in the New York Times, remarked of the work: "Rapidly and solidly developed story lines keep such a tight focus on Lina and Doon's struggles that the sheer thrill of the climax almost sneaks up on the reader." School Library Journal critic John Peters predicted that The City of Ember 's "quick pace and the uncomplicated characters and situations will keep voracious fans of the genre engaged."

In the sequel to The City of Ember titled The People of Sparks, Lina and Doon have led 400 people to the above-ground world they discovered. At first welcomed, they soon find themselves in conflict with the residents of Sparks, who live near the vast barren wilderness resulting from the "Disaster." Although the people of Sparks are starting to establish a prosperous life once again, the low-tech agrarian people differ from the hightech Emberites over such issues as the use of resources and power. Before long, the hostilities begin to escalate due to the all-too-human traits of distrust and narrow thinking. A Kirkus Reviews contributor wrote that "this fast-paced tale of post-Apocalyptic strife will resonate with new and returning fans alike." Beth L. Meister, writing in the School Library Journal, noted that the author "clearly explores themes of nonviolence and when to stand up for oneself."

Car Trouble is another young adult novel by DuPrau. The novel tells the story of computer "nerd" Duff Pringle, a recent high school graduate from Virginia who is on his way to a lucrative job in the Silicon Valley in California. When his car breaks down, he gets a new ride by promising to deliver a vintage Chevy. Duff is soon joined by a hitchhiker named Stu, a girl named Bonnie, and a carsick dog. Meanwhile, Duff is unaware that he is being pursued by criminals who are after stolen money hidden in the car's trunk. In a review in Kliatt, Paula Rohrlick commented that the author "crafts an intriguing road trip/coming-of-age tale with some interesting characters and plot twists." A Kirkus Reviews contributor called the novel "a pleasingly zany caper peopled by amiably over-the-top characters." Tracy Karbel wrote in School Library Journal that " Car Trouble is a good read that is kept moving by strong characters who steer the flow of the story."



Belles Lettres, winter, 1992, Susanne Carter, review of The Earth House, p. 57.

Booklist, March 15, 1990, Stephanie Zvirin, review of Adoption: The Facts, Feelings, and Issues of a Double Heritage, p. 1423; November 15, 1999, Randy Meyer, review of Cloning, p. 611; April 15, 2003, Sally Estes, review of The City of Ember, p. 1466.

Book Report, September-October, 1990, Brooke Dillon, review of Adoption, p. 68.

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, May, 1990, Deborah Stevenson, review of Adoption, p. 212.

Horn Book, May-June, 2003, Roger Sutton, review of The City of Ember, p. 343; July-August, 2004, Roger Sutton, review of The People of Sparks, p. 450.

Kirkus Reviews, May 1, 2004, review of The People of Sparks, p. 441; July 1, 2005, review of Car Trouble, p. 733.

Kliatt, September, 2005, Paula Rohrlick, review of Car Trouble, p. 7.

Lambda Book Report, September-October, 1992, Randy Turoff, review of The Earth House, p. 42.

Library Journal, April 1, 1992, Harriet Gottfried, review of The Earth House, p. 126.

New York Times, June 22, 2003, Elizabeth Devereaux, review of The City of Ember, p. 22.

Publishers Weekly, June 30, 2003, Jennifer M. Brown, "Flying Starts" (interview), p. 18.

School Library Journal, July, 1990, Anna Biagioni Hart, review of Adoption, p. 90; May, 2003, John Peters, review of The City of Ember, p. 150; May, 2004, Beth L. Meister, review of The People of Sparks, p. 146; October, 2005, Tracy Karbel, review of Car Trouble, p. 158.


BookBrowse,http:// www.bookbrowse.com/ (May 19, 2006), author biography.

Jeanne DuPrau Home Page,http://www.JeanneDuPrau.com (May 19, 2006).

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