Fields, Terri 1948–
Fields, Terri 1948–
Author and educator. Sunnyslope High School, Phoenix, AZ, teacher.
Named Arizona Teacher of the Year, 1986; selected among top twenty teachers in the United States, 2000; Unsung Heroes Award, 2003; Southwest Books of the Year honor, 2003; Maud Hart Lovelace Award; Georgia Children's Choice Award; National Notable Trade Book designation, National Council for the Social Studies/Children's Book Council; Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers designation, American Library Association, 2008, for Holdup; One Book Arizona for Kids selection, 2008.
NOVELS; UNDER NAME T.S. FIELDS
Danger in the Desert, Rising Moon (Flagstaff, AZ), 1997.
Missing in the Mountains, Rising Moon (Flagstaff, AZ), 1999.
Help Your Child Make the Most of School: An Award-winning Teacher Reveals How Much You Can Matter in Your Child's Education, Villard Books (New York, NY), 1987.
Fourth Graders Don't Believe in Witches, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1989.
The Day the Fifth Grade Disappeared, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1992.
Bug Off, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1995.
After the Death of Anna Gonzales (young adult novel in verse), Holt (New York, NY), 2002.
Counting Arizona's Treasures, illustrated by Tony Marinella, Kiva (Walnut, CA), 2003.
Holdup (young adult novel), Roaring Brook (New Milford, CT), 2007.
Burro's Tortillas, illustrated by Sherry Rogers, Sylvan Dell (Mount Pleasant, SC), 2007.
My Father's Son (young adult novel), Roaring Brook Press (New Milford, CT), 2008.
Terri Fields has written books for adults, very young children, and teens. Her titles include picture books, retellings of folk tales, middle-grade adventure novels, and dramatic teen novels. "I really enjoy writing for different age groups!" Fields wrote on her home page. She travels to schools throughout the country, offering author visits and writing workshops for students and providing in-service workshops for teachers. In addition to her writing, Fields is an award-winning teacher who has coached high school speech programs and taught public speaking. She travels to different schools, offering workshops on writing and storytelling. In addition, Reading Is Sweet, a program to encourage reading that she devised for her high school, has won awards.
Fields's picture books include the concept book Counting Arizona's Treasures, which features photography and poetry by Fields of and about her native Arizona, and a retelling of "The Little Red Hen" in Southwestern style titled Burro's Tortillas. Written in a combination of Spanish and English, the book tells the story of Burro, who invites his friends Bobcat, Jackrabbit, and other Southwestern animals to help him make tortillas. They give their excuses, and Burro makes his tortillas alone. Recipes for tortillas are included in the back of the book. Noting the puns that flavor the book, a Kirkus Reviews contributor felt "the corny text moves briskly," and noted that the appendix includes information about the corn used in tortilla making.
Fields explores the weighty issue of teen suicide in After the Death of Anna Gonzales. A verse novel, the work is told from the multiple perspectives of Anna's classmates after Anna commits suicide. "The poems are natural and direct, and portray a high-school setting well, showing a diversity of experiences," wrote a Kirkus Reviews contributor. Shelle Rosenfeld, writing in Booklist, called Fields's "free-verse poems … sometimes quite moving," and praised the story's "accessibility, teen-familiar language, [and] situations." Kliatt contributor Michele Winship concluded that "Fields creates a realistic and sensitive portrayal of a school community rocked by a tragedy," and Sharon Korbeck wrote in School Library Journal that "readers will gain some important insight into the serious issue of teen suicide."
Like After the Death of Anna Gonzales, Holdup employs multiple perspectives, this time using nine characters involved in a holdup on a fast food restaurant. Jordan, an overachiever, is left in charge when the night manager is called away. Then two armed men appear at the end of the night to rob the understaffed restaurant. "The story is compelling and the characters are well drawn," wrote Sharon Morrison in School Library Journal. "Fields manages to paint a broad canvas of life as a contemporary highschool student," observed a contributor to Kirkus Reviews. Noting that several of the passages will make good monologues for theater students, Jennifer Mattson wrote in Booklist that "Fields' collage of distinct personalities shows how an after-school job creates an unlikely, fleeting community."
Fields is often asked by her young readers about her life as a writer. "I spend a lot of time in front of a computer," she explained on her home page, "and to many students' surprise, I spend more time re-writing and revising than I do actually coming up with ideas for stories. The ideas are the easy part."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, December 15, 2002, Shelle Rosenfeld, review of After the Death of Anna Gonzales, p. 753; May 1, 2007, Jennifer Mattson, review of Holdup, p. 44.
Kirkus Reviews, November 15, 2002, review of After the Death of Anna Gonzales, p. 1691; April 1, 2007, review of Holdup; May 15, 2007, review of Burro's Tortillas.
Kliatt, November, 2002, Michele Winship, review of After the Death of Anna Gonzales, p. 9.
School Library Journal, November, 2002, Sharon Korbeck, review of After the Death of Anna Gonzales, p. 165; November, 2003, Tim Wadham, review of Counting Arizona's Treasures, p. 92; April, 2007, Sharon Morrison, review of Holdup, p. 132.
Terri Fields Home Page,http://www.terrifields.com (July 1, 2008).