Graber, Janet 1942–
Graber, Janet 1942–
PERSONAL: Born 1942, in Newcastle upon Tyne, England; married (marriage ended); married Richard Graber; children: three; three stepchildren.
ADDRESSES: Home—Burnsville, MN Agent—c/o Author Mail, Marshall Cavendish, 99 White Plains Rd., Tarrytown NY 10591-9001.
CAREER: Writer. Has worked for London studios of Twentieth Century-Fox.
MEMBER: Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators.
AWARDS, HONORS: Distinguished Achievement Award, American Association of Educational Publishers, for short story "Thanksgiving Gumbo."
I Couldn't Do It without My Group: Secrets of Starting and Running a Successful Writers' Group, Children's Book Insider, 1995.
Jacob and the Polar Bears (picture book), illustrated by Sandra Salzillo-Shields, Moon Mountain Publishing (North Kingstown, RI), 2002.
Resistance (young-adult novel), Marshall Cavendish (New York, NY), 2005.
Also contributor of articles to School, the Newcastle Journal, London Evening Standard, and Once Upon a Time.
WORK IN PROGRESS: A trilogy of young-adult novels, the "Crossland Chronicles."
SIDELIGHTS: Janet Graber did not begin her life as an author until she was in her fifties, and she was sixty before she sold her first full-length work, a picture book for children titled Jacob and the Polar Bears. The story traces the adventures of a little boy whose hand-me-down pajamas are decorated with a total of 172 polar bears "who only want to go 'swimming, swimming, swimming,' in the 'cold, cold night,'" related John Gessner in This Week Online. The first night Jacob wears his semi-new pajamas, the bears come to life and scamper off to wreak havoc. Jacob has to leave his bed and track them down, embarking on a magical voyage. In the process, wrote a reviewer for BookViews.com, Jacob finds out "how hard it is to make them behave despite their exuberance."
Resistance, Graber's first novel for young adults, is a story of World War II. Fifteen-year-old Marianne finds herself stuck in occupied France with her mother and deaf younger brother, Michel. Marianne also finds herself caught between her promise to her now-dead soldier father—to protect Michel—and the efforts of her mother and Michel to support the underground French Resistance against their Nazi occupiers. As a further complication, Marianne has to deal with a pair of German officers who live in her house and an injured English soldier living secretly in her woodshed. "Marianne wants only to quit involvement in the Resistance and be safe"; explained a Kirkus Reviews contributor, "but where is safety during wartime?" "Slowly, painfully," Carolyn Phelan commented in Booklist, "she discovers who is worthy of her trust, how to deal with those who are not, and what risks are worth taking." "This first novel has an edgy excitement," concluded Hope Morrison in the Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, "born of the well-drafted first-person perspective of a young person in the know amidst enormous danger."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, May 15, 2005, Carolyn Phelan, review of Resistance, p. 1669.
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, June, 2005, Hope Morrison, review of Resistance, p. 440.
Kirkus Reviews, March 1, 2005, review of Resistance, p. 286.
BookViews.com, http://www.bookviews.com/ (August 31, 2005), review of Jacob and the Polar Bears.
Midwest Book Review Online, http://www.midwestbookreview.com/ (August 31, 2005), review of Jacob and the Polar Bears.
Moon Mountain Publishing Web site, http://www.moonmountainpub.com/ (August 31, 2005), brief author biography.
This Week Online, http://www.thisweek-online.com/ (October 10, 2002), John Gessner, "Author Draws on Whimsy, Imagination, Perseverance" (interview).
WritingforChildren.com, http://www.writingforchildren.com/ (August 31, 2005), brief author biography.