Holbrook, Belinda 1953-

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Holbrook, Belinda 1953-

PERSONAL: Born August 1, 1953, in Belmond, IA; daughter of Dudley (a farmer) and Janice (a farmer; maiden name, Hughes) Johnson; married Dennis Holbrook (a media specialist), May 28, 1977; children: Ned, Nate. Ethnicity: "Caucasian." Education: Luther College (Decorah, IA), B.A., 1975; University of Iowa, M.A., 1980. Religion: Lutheran.

ADDRESSES: Home—2744 East 50th Street Ct., Davenport, IA 52807. Office—Harrison School, 1032 West 53rd St., Davenport, IA 52806. E-mail[email protected].

CAREER: Teacher at public schools in Westside, IA, 1975-77, and Atlantic, IA, 1977-85; Davenport Community Schools, Davenport, IA, media specialist, 1985-. Habitat for Humanity Quad-Cities, member of board of directors, 2000-.

MEMBER: International String Figure Association, Origami USA.


String Stories: A Creative, Hands-on Approach for Engaging Children in Literature, Linworth Publishing (Worthington, OH), 2002.

SIDELIGHTS: "Did you ever play the game Cat's Cradle when you were a child?" Belinda Holbrook asked CA. "My grandmother taught me how to play, and I have fond memories of that. My interest in string figures continued when my sons and I discovered books written by Camilla Gryski. It was fun sharing string figures with students at the school where I was the media specialist.

"I became a member of the International String Figure Association. Members gathered at the Winnipeg Folk Festival in Canada. It was a wonderful experience. When I returned home, I posted an enthusiastic message on a list-serv for librarians, LM-Net. An editor from Linworth Publishing contacted me, asking if I would be interested in writing a book about string figures! I was honored but declined at that time. I was contacted by another editor at Linworth a year or so later. I agreed, and my work began.

"I did write an overview and instructions, but the majority of the book consists of stories that I collected from other people. That was very interesting: searching down the stories, then contacting the original author of copyright holder to obtain permission to use the story. Everyone was very gracious and gave permission, except for one. Many storytellers use the string stories included in the book The Story Vine by Anne Pellowski (now out of print). I finally tracked down the publishing company that currently owns the copyright to that book. I was given permission to use the stories, but I would have to pay $2,300! I just couldn't afford that and declined.

"The illustrations for the book were a huge project. My then sixteen-year-old son took digital photos of each step of every figure. There are close to 500 photos included. Someone showed me how to use Adobe Photoshop so I could change them to black-and-white and add arrows.

"The funniest thing is that Linworth chose four photos to put on the front cover of the book. One of them shows a figure made using my big toe! It's not everyone who can claim to have a big toe on the cover of a book. It's been a lot of fun."



School Library Journal, August, 2003, Blair Christolon, review of String Stories: A Creative, Hands-on Approach for Engaging Children in Literature, p. 191.