Haas, (Katherine) Jessie 1959–

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HAAS, (Katherine) Jessie 1959–

PERSONAL: Born July 27, 1959, in Putney, VT; daughter of Robert Joseph (a truck driver) and Patricia (a farmer) Haas; married Michael Daley (a writer), April 25, 1981. Education: Wellesley College, B.A. Politics: Progressive Democrat. Hobbies and other interests: Horseback riding, cooking, knitting, drawing, reading, Scottish dancing, politics.

ADDRESSES: Home—VT. Office—c/o Author Mail, HarperCollins, 10 E. 53rd St., 7th Floor, New York, NY 10022.

CAREER: Writer. Worked as a yarn mill laborer, mid-1980s–1991.

MEMBER: Society of Children's Book Authors and Illustrators, Vermont Citizens Campaign for Health (president of board).

AWARDS, HONORS: Publishers Weekly Best Book, School Library Journal Best Book, Parent's Choice Gold Award winner, Notable Trade Book in the Field of Social Studies, and CCBC Choice, all 2000, all for Unbroken.

WRITINGS:

Keeping Barney, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 1982.

Working Trot, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 1983.

The Sixth Sense and Other Stories, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 1988.

Skipping School, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 1992.

Beware the Mare, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 1993.

Chipmunk!, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 1993.

A Horse like Barney, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 1993.

Busybody Brandy, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 1994.

Mowing, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 1994.

Safe Horse, Safe Rider: A Young Rider's Guide to Responsible Horsekeeping, Storey (North Adams, MA), 1994.

Uncle Daney's Way, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 1994.

A Blue for Beware, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 1995.

Getting Ready to Drive a Horse and Cart, Storey (North Adams, MA), 1995.

No Foal Yet, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 1995.

Be Well, Beware, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 1996.

Clean House, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 1996.

Sugaring, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 1996.

Westminster West, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 1997.

Beware and Stogie, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 1998.

Fire!: My Parents' Story, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 1998.

Unbroken, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 1999.

Hurry!, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 2000.

Runaway Radish, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 2001, published as Runaway Pony, HarperTrophy (New York, NY), 2004.

Will You, Won't You?, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 2001.

Appaloosa Zebra: A Horse Lover's Alphabet, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 2002.

Shaper, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 2002.

Scamper and the Horse Show, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 2004.

Hoofprints: Horse Poems, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 2004.

Birthday Pony, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 2004.

Contributor to Horse Illustrated.

SIDELIGHTS: Jessie Haas's fiction for young readers frequently features animals and farm activities, reflecting the author's rural life in Vermont. Various stories drawn from Vermont history also inform her work. Unbroken, for example, was inspired by a true story of a young Vermont girl who was orphaned and left to live with an aunt who was very different from her family. In the book, the girl is Harriet, who is left an orphan in 1910, after her mother's death in a collision between a horse-drawn vehicle and an automobile. Sent to live on her aunt's farm, she brings along her young colt, determined to train him so that she can continue to get to school. Harriet does not care for her aunt's stern ways, but slowly she gets to know and appreciate the woman who is now her caretaker, and who proves her love when Harriet is hurt in an accident with her colt. "The quiet novel moves quickly and is enriched by genuine dialogue, realistic portrayals of grief, and careful observations in the first-person narrative," praised Horn Book reviewer Bridget T. McCaffrey. "Sensory descriptions of the hills … and of tasks such as butter churning and hay cutting give a strong sense of the Green Mountain setting and turn-of-the-century time."

Horses again figure into Runaway Radish, the story of a pony and his succession of owners. Radish, the pony of the title, has a satisfying life for years with a girl named Judy, but she eventually grows too tall to ride him. The same thing happens with his next owner, Nina. Eventually, Radish finds a permanent home at a children's riding camp. "In elementary yet lively prose, Haas presents a pony's-eye view on the human-equine relationship," commended Anita L. Burkam in Horn Book. She found the book particularly appropriate for second and third graders, saying that it will "allow them a vicarious thrill of horse ownership without disguising the fact that the responsibilities aren't always glamorous or pleasant." Lisa Falk also recommended the book, commenting in School Library Journal: "The story is simply written, yet it has a truthful ring for anyone who knows or has owned a small pony, and Radish has loads of horse personality."

Shaper concerns Chad, a teenaged boy in Vermont who has isolated himself after his dog's death. He becomes involved with an animal trainer, helping the man with a problem dog; but Chad feels that his own behavior is being manipulated much as the dog's is. Kay Weisman in Booklist commented, "Haas's latest novel is a thoughtful piece featuring quirky characters with believable problems…. This should be popular with preteens, especially those who feel isolated from their own families." Horn Book reviewer Peter D. Sieruta also praised Shaper and its author: "Haas, who seems to get stronger with every book, uses well-chosen details to create living, breathing characters with family traditions and personal histories."

Haas told CA: "My motivation for writing has been to have books around that I like. I also feel a need to repay my debt to the writers who have stirred me and given me inspiration—people like Madeleine L'Engle, Kate Seredy, Marguerite Henry, and Walter Farley. I'm trying to emulate them and do for someone else what they have done for me. I write about animals because I was brought up with animals, and I believe they have a lot to teach us. Vermont is my favorite setting, for fiction and for real life."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Book, May-June, 2002, review of Runaway Radish, p. 29.

Booklist, November 15, 1992, Mary Romano Marks, review of Skipping School, p. 590; March 15, 1999, Lauren Peterson, review of Unbroken, p. 1325; April 15, 2001, Gillian Engberg, review of Runaway Radish, p. 1552; January 1, 2002, Julie Cummins, review of Appaloosa Zebra: A Horse Lover's Alphabet, p. 864; September 15, 2001, Lolly Gepson, review of Unbroken, p. 240; July, 2002, Kay Weisman, review of Shaper, p. 1844; March 15, 2004, review of Hoofprints: Horse Poems, p. 1297; June 1, 2004, John Peters, review of Scamper and the Horse Show, p. 1741; August, 2004, review of Birthday Pony, p. 1934.

Book Report, January-February, 1993, Elizabeth S. Watson, review of Skipping School, p. 90; September-October, 1999, Catherine M. Andronik, review of Unbroken, p. 59.

Buffalo News, August 12, 1997, review of Westminster West, p. N7; May 24, 1998, review of Fire!: My Parents' Story, p. E6; March 30, 1999, review of Unbroken, p. N7.

Horn Book, March-April, 1989, Elizabeth S. Watson, review of The Sixth Sense and Other Stories, p. 216; May-June, 1993, Elizabeth S. Watson, review of Beware the Mare, p. 333; July, 1999, Bridget T. McCaffrey, review of Unbroken, p. 464; July, 2000, review of Hurry!, p. 435; May, 2001, review of Runaway Radish, p. 324; May-June, 2002, Peter D. Sieruta, review of Shaper, p. 330.

Kirkus Reviews, January 15, 2004, review of Hoof-prints: Horse Poems, p. 83; April 1, 2004, review of Scamper and the Horse Show, p. 330; July 1, 2004, review of Birthday Pony, p. 630.

New York Times Book Review, May 16, 1999, Emily Arnold McCully, review of Unbroken, p. 25.

Publishers Weekly, November 9, 1992, review of Skipping School, p. 87; October 2, 2000, review of Will You, Won't You?, p. 82; March 8, 2004, review of Hoofprints: Horse Poems, p. 76.

School Library Journal, November, 1992, Phyllis Zucker Singer, review of Skipping School, p. 121; April, 1993, Charlene Strickland, review of Beware the Mare, p. 118; April, 1999, Christy Norris Blanchette, review of Unbroken, p. 134; June, 2000, Lee Bock, review of Hurry!, p. 114; October, 2000, Laura Scott, review of Will You, Won't You?, p. 160; May, 2001, Lisa Falk, review of Runaway Radish, p. 122; February, 2002, Wanda Meyers-Hines, review of Appaloosa Zebra: A Horse Lover's Alphabet, p. 101; May, 2002, William McLoughlin, review of Shaper, p. 152.

Stone Soup, March, 2000, Julia Schuchard, review of Unbroken, p. 34; March, 2004, Susan Scheps, review of Hoofprints: Horse Poems, p. 234; July, 2004, review of Scamper and the Horse Show, p. 77.

ONLINE

Jessie Haas Home Page, http://www.jessiehaasbooks.com (September 6, 2004).

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Haas, (Katherine) Jessie 1959–

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