Hoobler, Dorothy 1941-

views updated

HOOBLER, Dorothy 1941-

PERSONAL: Born March 6, 1941, in Philadelphia, PA; daughter of Frederick and Eleanor (Bystrom) Law; married Thomas Hoobler (a writer and editor), December 18, 1971; children: Ellen Marie. Ethnicity: "English, Scottish, Swedish." Education: Wells College, A.B., 1963; New York University, M.A., 1971.

Politics: Liberal Democrat. Hobbies and other interests: Asian, American, African, and European medieval history; classical music; photography; gardening; travel.


ADDRESSES: Home—320 West 83rd St., Apt. 6-C, New York, NY 10024. Agent—Al Zuckerman, Writer's House, 21 West 26th St., New York, NY 10010. E-mail—[email protected]


CAREER: Has worked as an editor and genealogist; freelance writer, 1973—.


MEMBER: PEN International.


AWARDS, HONORS: Best Book Secondary Social Studies selection, Society for School Librarians International, 1991, for Showa: The Age of Hirohito-;Carter G. Woodson Honor Book, National Council for the Social Studies, 1997, for The Japanese American Family Album; nominated for Edgar Award, Mystery Writers of America, for The Ghost in the Tokaido Inn; several Parent's Choice awards; many "Books for the Teen Age" selections, New York Public Library.


WRITINGS:

WITH HUSBAND, THOMAS HOOBLER

Frontier Diary, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1974.

Margaret Mead: A Life in Science, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1974.

House Plants, Grosset (New York, NY), 1975.

Vegetable Gardening and Cooking, Grosset (New York, NY), 1975.

Pruning, Grosset (New York, NY), 1975.

An Album of World War I, F. Watts (New York, NY), 1976.

The Year in Bloom, Bantam (New York, NY), 1977.

Photographing History: The Career of Mathew Brady, Putnam (New York, NY), 1977.

An Album of World War II, F. Watts (New York, NY), 1977.

The Trenches: Fighting on the Western Front in World War I, Putnam (New York, NY), 1978.

Photographing the Frontier, Putnam (New York, NY), 1980.

U.S.-China Relations since World War II, F. Watts (New York, NY), 1981.

An Album of the Seventies, F. Watts (New York, NY), 1981.

The Social Security System, F. Watts (New York, NY), 1982.

The Voyages of Captain Cook, Putnam (New York, NY), 1983.

Stalin, Chelsea House (Philadelphia, PA), 1985.

Your Right to Privacy, F. Watts (New York, NY), 1986.

Zhou Enlai, Chelsea House (Philadelphia, PA), 1986.

Cleopatra, Chelsea House (Philadelphia, PA), 1986.

Nelson and Winnie Mandela, F. Watts (New York, NY), 1987.

Drugs and Crime, Chelsea House (Philadelphia, PA), 1988.

George Washington and Presidents' Day, Silver Burdett Press (Parsippany, NJ), 1990.

Showa: The Age of Hirohito, Walker (New York, NY), 1990.

Vietnam, Why We Fought: An Illustrated History, Random House (New York, NY), 1990.

Toussaint L'Ouverture, Chelsea House (Philadelphia, PA), 1990.

The Pacific Rim, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1990.

The Sign Painter's Secret: The Story of a Revolutionary Girl, Silver Burdett Press (Parsippany, NJ), 1991.

Aloha Means Come Back: The Story of a World War II Girl, Silver Burdett Press (Parsippany, NJ), 1991.

Next Stop, Freedom: The Story of a Slave Girl, Silver Burdett Press (Parsippany, NJ), 1991.

Treasure in the Stream: The Story of a Gold Rush Girl, Silver Burdett Press (Parsippany, NJ), 1991.

And Now, a Word from Our Sponsor: The Story of a Roaring '20's Girl, Silver Burdett Press (Parsippany, NJ), 1992.

A Promise at the Alamo: The Story of a Texas Girl, Silver Burdett Press (Parsippany, NJ), 1992.

The Trail on Which They Wept: The Story of a Cherokee Girl, Silver Burdett Press (Parsippany, NJ), 1992.

Lost Civilizations, Walker (New York, NY), 1992.

Mandela: The Man, the Struggle, the Triumph, F. Watts (New York, NY), 1992.

Confucianism, Facts on File (New York, NY), 1993.

African Portraits, Raintree Steck-Vaughn (Austin, TX), 1993.

Chinese Portraits, Raintree Steck-Vaughn (Austin, TX), 1993.

Italian Portraits, Raintree Steck-Vaughn (Austin, TX), 1993.

Mexican Portraits, Raintree Steck-Vaughn (Austin, TX), 1993.

The Summer of Dreams: The Story of a World's Fair Girl, Silver Burdett Press (Parsippany, NJ), 1993.

The Chinese American Family Album, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1994.

The Mexican American Family Album, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1994.

South American Portraits, Raintree Steck-Vaughn (Austin, TX), 1994.

Russian Portraits, Raintree Steck-Vaughn (Austin, TX), 1994.

French Portraits, Raintree Steck-Vaughn (Austin, TX), 1994.

The Italian American Family Album, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1994.

Japanese Portraits, Raintree Steck-Vaughn (Austin, TX), 1994.

The African American Family Album, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1995.

The Jewish American Family Album, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1995.

The German American Family Album, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1995.

The Irish American Family Album, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1995.

The Japanese American Family Album, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1996.

The Cuban American Family Album, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1996.

Florence Robinson: The Story of a Jazz Age Girl, Silver Burdett Press (Parsippany, NJ), 1997.

Priscilla Foster: The Story of a Salem Girl, Silver Burdett Press (Parsippany, NJ), 1997.

Sally Bradford: The Story of a Rebel Girl, Silver Burdett Press (Parsippany, NJ), 1997.

Julie Meyer: The Story of a Wagon Train Girl, Silver Burdett Press (Parsippany, NJ), 1997.

The Ghost in the Tokaido Inn, Philomel Books (New York, NY), 1999.

Vanity Rules: A History of American Fashion and Beauty, Millbrook Press (Brookfield, CT), 2000.

The Demon in the Teahouse, Philomel Books (New York, NY), 2001.

We Are Americans, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2003.

In Darkness, Death, Philomel Books (New York, NY), 2004.


"CENTURY KIDS" SERIES

The First Decade: Curtain Going Up, Millbrook Press (Brookfield, CT), 2000.

The Second Decade: Voyages, Millbrook Press (Brookfield, CT), 2000.

The 1920s: Luck, Millbrook Press (Brookfield, CT), 2000.

The 1930s: Directions, Millbrook Press (Brookfield, CT), 2000.

The 1940s: Secrets, Millbrook Press (Brookfield, CT), 2001.

The 1950s: Music, Millbrook Press (Brookfield, CT), 2001.

The 1960s: Rebels, Millbrook Press (Brookfield, CT), 2001.

The 1970s: Arguments, Millbrook Press (Brookfield, CT), 2002.

The 1980s: Earthsong, Millbrook Press (Brookfield, CT), 2002.

The 1990s: Families, Millbrook Press (Brookfield, CT), 2002.

OTHER

(Coeditor) Real American Girls Tell Their Own Stories, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1999.


WORK IN PROGRESS: Biography of Captain John Smith.


SIDELIGHTS: Working with her writer husband, Thomas, Dorothy Hoobler has compiled an impressive list of publications, some sixty titles of history, biography, and social issues. In two series alone, Silver Burdett's "Her Story" and a multi-cultural collection from Oxford University Press, "Family Album," the Hooblers have logged more than two dozen works detailing the fictional lives of girls in America through the ages and presenting a look at various ethnic American groups. The Hooblers' work is characterized by thorough research and clear, jargon-free text. Hoobler once explained: "In writing history, we try to learn enough about a person or event so that we can describe what it was like to live at a certain time, to experience as something new an event that is now 'history.'"


The curious minds of this husband-wife collaborative team have taken them on the voyages of Captain Cook, into the trenches of the First World War, and back to the stone ruins of lost civilizations. Their 1976 An Album of World War I provides an overview of that conflict, charting the progress of hostilities through major battles and important military maneuvers year by year. As a mark of their objective, journalistic approach to history, the Booklist reviewer of An Album of World War I noted that "there is no overt editorializing; statistics are left to speak for themselves." The same reviewer also noted that the book was a "perfectly functional overview" of the Great War. The Hooblers' interest in military history has also led them to write An Album of World War II as well as a history of the Western Front in World War I called The Trenches. They have also cowritten a retrospective of a later conflict, Vietnam, Why We Fought: An Illustrated History. Booklist's Stephanie Zvirin called the volume on Vietnam "abundantly illustrated" with a "lucid and well-organized text" that is "never dry." The Hooblers begin with the political background that led to the war, then follow the progress of the war as well as events in the postwar era to look at the legacies of Vietnam. They also include comments and quotes from military leaders and politicians alike, creating "an accessible, panoramic view that will garner a wide readership," according to Zvirin. Writing in Voice of Youth Advocates, Paula J. Lacey concluded that "this fairly short book is very clear and provides insight into most of the confusing aspects of the war."


Other popular general titles from the Hooblers include works on the history of photography, on drugs, the 1970s, and even archaeology. In Photographing the Frontier, they extended an earlier work on Mathew Brady to photographers of the American frontier in the second half of the nineteenth century. A Publishers Weekly critic commented in a review of the book that the Hooblers effect "a neat blend of history and photography" as they had in earlier texts, and that the book detailed "in rich text and pictures the saga of adventurous photographers." One decade fell under their lens for An Album of the Seventies which provides "solid, concise information in clear, easy-to-understand language that never talks down to readers," according to David A. Lindsey in School Library Journal. Drugs and crime are investigated in a 1988 Hoobler title of the same name. Reviewing Drugs and Crime, Hazel Rochman of Booklist observed that this "hard-hitting discussion shows how the extensive manufacture, distribution, and consumption of drugs are connected to 'rampant' violence."

The world of archaeology is examined in Lost Civilizations, a look at the facts and fiction surrounding such ancient cultures as Minoan Crete, the Easter Islanders, and the Olmecs, among others. Lola H. Teubert, writing in Voice of Youth Advocates, felt that the separation of fact from fiction in the descriptions of these lost civilizations "will make for lively discussions in history classes," while School Library Journal contributor David N. Pauli felt that this approach would also help young students "understand the value of painstaking archeological research compared to unsubstantiated theories that often downplay human achievements."


Much of the Hooblers' work has been done in biography form, series that look at multi-cultural America, and as the histories of fictional young females in America. One of their earliest in-depth biographies was of Captain James Cook. The Voyages of Captain Cook is "an attractive biography for young adults," according to T. Scott Grabinger, writing in Voice of Youth Advocates. Grabinger went on to explain that the biography was "not overburdened with details, yet gives a good picture of the man and era." Dennis Ford, writing in School Library Journal, noted that "Captain James Cook is realistically depicted in this excellent biography" which is comprehensive enough "to appeal even to adult readers." Booklist's Sally Estes concluded that The Voyages of Captain Cook was "a straightforward, informative, and obviously well researched account."


The Hooblers have also written biographies of such other internationally known figures as the one-time slave Toussaint L'Ouverture and the South African leader Nelson Mandela. In Toussaint L'Ouverture, the Hooblers tell the story of the courageous leader of a slave rebellion in Haiti against the French that was ultimately successful in winning freedom for Haiti. Dona Weisman observed in School Library Journal that students who need to expand their knowledge of black history or the history of the Western hemisphere "will welcome this interesting, easy-to-follow biography." Weisman concluded that the Hooblers' biography was a "clear and readable addition to history collections."


In Mandela: The Man, the Struggle, the Triumph, the Hooblers profile this century's most famous political prisoner, Nelson Mandela, who spent almost three decades in a South African prison for treason before becoming the first elected president of a newly democratic South Africa. Hazel Rochman noted in Booklist that while much of the information offered in the Hooblers' book was available in other biographies as well, theirs was "fair and readable" with "meticulously documented" sources. Janet G. Polachek commented in Voice of Youth Advocates that the "narrative is clean and objective." Loretta Kreider Andrews concluded in School Library Journal that "the Hooblers' book provides a better overall picture of the man and his role in South Africa" than other recent biographies of Mandela.


The Hooblers have also compiled mini-biographies of notable world and historical figures in the Raintree Steck-Vaughn "Images across the Ages" series. In Chinese Portraits, for example, they document the lives of a dozen men and women from artists to philosophers whose achievements affected not only their own country but also the greater world. Among others profiled in this title are Confucius, the poets Li Bo and Du Fu, and the politician Lin Xezu who fought the British opium traders. In Italian Portraits, they feature Caesar, Dante, Galileo, Verdi, and Montessori, among others. Their French Portraits include Charlemagne, Joan of Arc, Robespierre, Renoir, and Charles de Gaulle, while Russian Portraits profile, among others, Peter and Catherine the Great, Pushkin, Tolstoy, Tchaikovsky, and the filmmaker Eisenstein. Of Chinese Portraits and Italian Portraits, Diane S. Marton remarked in School Library Journal that the short biographies were "interesting" and "anecdotal," and that the chronological organization of the books with brief introductions "provide[s] fascinating glimpses into the long social history of these countries as well." Reviewing those same books, Booklist's Carolyn Phelan concluded that the "lively, informative writing makes each volume more readable than most collective biographies."

Multi-ethnic America receives the Hoobler approach in Oxford University Press's "Family Album" series. Diaries, oral histories, and letters are all used to paint domestic pictures of various ethnic groups, from Italian American to Cuban American. Reviewing The Italian American Family Album, Marton noted in School Library Journal that the volume had "an enticing open format and is lavishly illustrated with interesting black-and-white photographs." Six chapters detail life in the country of origin, the waves of immigration, and adaptation to life in America, and also provide a wealth of detail on recipes, notable Italian Americans, and bits and pieces of history in sidebar format. Much the same organization is employed in other books in the series, including The Cuban American Family Album, a book dubbed "a good summation of the successful assimilation of Cubans into . . . American culture," by a Kirkus Reviews critic.


A further series the Hooblers have written extensively for is "Her Story" from Silver Burdett, fictional biographies of young women from various historical epochs of America. Reviewing Julie Meyer: The Story of a Wagon Train Girl and Sally Bradford: The Story of a Rebel Girl, Kay Weisman noted in Booklist that the Hooblers "pay close attention to the details of local color," and predicted that "these books will be welcomed by classrooms looking for historical novels."


In the "Century Kids" series, the Hooblers write a family saga in ten volumes, each volume set in a different decade of the twentieth century and involving members of the theatrical Aldrich family. In the series' first story, The First Decade: Curtain Going Up, young Peggy Aldrich witnesses the birth of her sister Nell, rides a horse in a race against a newfangled automobile, and is on hand when the family receives a visit from President Teddy Roosevelt. In The Second Decade: Voyages, an older Peggy loses her aunt and uncle, and the family loses much of their fortune, in the sinking of the Titanic. The 1920s: Luck finds Nell Aldrich, now a motion picture star, losing a diamond necklace to thieves while in Chicago. But young Lorraine Dixon, a black girl from rural Georgia, helps her recover the lost item. In each of the series' books, real-life historical events form the backdrop to the main story, while customs, technology, and attitudes of the time are faithfully presented. "The writing," Kay Weisman noted in Booklist, "is strong enough to draw readers into the family stories and leave them asking for more."

Eighteenth-century Japan is the setting for three mysteries by the Hooblers, The Ghost in the Tokaido Inn, The Demon in the Teahouse, and In Darkness, Death. Teenaged Seikei, the son of a merchant, helps discover the true thief who stole a Samurai's jewel in The Ghost in the Tokaido Inn. "This mystery," Roger Leslie wrote in Booklist, "builds with stirring intrigue and plays out to a most satisfying conclusion." In The Demon in the Teahouse, Seikei helps Judge Ooka, a real-life detective of the time, solve a series of murders and arsons. Barbara Scotto of School Library Journal found the novel to be "a fast-paced mystery with a well-constructed plot that moves quickly and often in dramatic ways." According to a reviewer for Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, "The Hooblers fashion not only a topnotch mystery, but an engrossing tour of the 'Floating World,' Yoshiwara, where delicately adorned Geishas hold powerful politicians in thrall and where even the blameless pursue their midnight pleasures in disguise."

"Increasing our understanding of other people is one of the reasons why we enjoy reading, and writing, history," Hoobler once explained. "It is also one reason why history is so important for young people growing up today, preparing for the twenty-first century. It is clear that all the people of the world have to come to a greater understanding of each other and learn to live with one another in a crowded, dangerous world in which misunderstanding could result in a nuclear war that could destroy the world." The Hooblers have dedicated their professional lives to writing history and biography so that such lack of understanding between cultures may become a thing of the past.

When asked what effect she hopes her books will have, Hoobler told CA: "[That] they will get young readers interested in learning about people in different times and places. I believe the imagination is stimulated by nonfiction as well as fiction."


BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, May 15, 1976, review of An Album of World War I, pp. 1336-1337; April 15, 1984, Sally Estes, review of The Voyages of Captain Cook, p. 1159; March 15, 1988, Hazel Rochman, review of Drugs and Crime, p. 1240; December 1, 1990, Stephanie Zvirin, review of Vietnam, Why We Fought: An Illustrated History, p. 731; May 14, 1992, Hazel Rochman, review of Mandela: The Man, the Struggle, the Triumph, p. 1672; July, 1993, Carolyn Phelan, review of Chinese Portraits and Italian American Portraits, p. 1954; January 1, 1997, p. 836; June 1-15, 1997, Kay Weisman, review of Julie Meyer: The Story of a Wagon Train Girl and Sally Bradford: The Story of a Rebel Girl, p. 1703; August, 1997, Kay Weisman, review of Priscilla Foster: The Story of a Salem Girl, p. 1900; June 1, 1999, Roger Leslie, review of The Ghost in the Tokaido Inn, p. 1813; October 15, 1999, Kay Weisman, review of Real American Girls Tell Their Own Stories, p. 437; April 1, 2000, Carolyn Phelan, review of Vanity Rules: A History of American Fashion and Beauty, p. 1458; May 1, 2000, Carolyn Phelan, reviews of The First Decade: Curtain Going Up and The Second Decade: Voyages, p. 1668; April 1, 2001, Kay Weisman, review of The 1940s: Secrets, p. 1483; May 1, 2001, Ilene Cooper, review of The Demon in the Teahouse, p. 1612.

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, June, 1980, p. 192.

Horn Book, April, 1984, p. 209; July, 2001, review of The Demon in the Teahouse, p. 453.

Kirkus Reviews, March 15, 1992, p. 394; November 15, 1996, review of The Cuban American Family Album, p. 1670; June 1, 1999, p. 883; October 15, 2003, review of We Are Americans: Voices of the Immigrant Experience, p. 1271.

New York Times Book Review, May 8, 1994, p. 20; December 17, 1995, p. 28.

Publishers Weekly, April 25, 1980, review of Photographing the Frontier, p. 80; September 6, 1999, review of Real American Girls Tell Their Own Stories, p. 105.

School Library Journal, March, 1982, David A. Lindsey, review of An Album of the Seventies, p. 158; April, 1984, Dennis Ford, review of The Voyages of Captain Cook, p. 124; May, 1988, p. 117; August, 1990, Dona Weisman, review of Toussaint L'Ouverture, p. 170; December, 1990, p. 130; September, 1992, David N. Pauli, review of Lost Civilizations, p. 267; December, 1992, Loretta Kreider Andrews, review of Mandela, p. 139; June, 1993, p. 138; August, 1993, Diane S. Marton, review of Chinese Portraits and ItalianPortraits, p. 174; December, 1993, p. 112; July, 1994, Diane S. Marton, review of The Italian American Family Album, p. 110; August, 1997, p. 136; June, 1999, Bruce Anne Shook, review of The Ghost in the Tokaido Inn, p. 130; December, 1999, Linda Beck, review of Real American Girls Tell Their Own Stories, p. 152; May, 2000, Joyce Adams Burner, review of Vanity Rules: A History of American Fashion and Beauty, p. 182; July, 2000, Lauralyn Persson, review of The First Decade: Curtain Going Up, p. 105, and Laura Glaser, review of The Second Decade: Voyages, p. 105; December, 2000, Cyrisse Jaffee, review of The 1920s: Luck, p. 145; May, 2001, Laura Glaser, review of The 1940s: Secrets, p. 154; June, 2001, Barbara Scotto, review of The Demon in the Teahouse, p. 150; November, 2001, Catherine Threadgill, review of The 1950s: Music, p. 158; April, 2003, Diane S. Martin, review of The Irish American Family Album, p. 105.

Voice of Youth Advocates, June, 1984, T. Scott Grabinger, review of The Voyages of Captain Cook, p. 109; August, 1990, p. 175; October, 1990, Paula J. Lacey, review of Vietnam, Why We Fought, pp. 243-244; December, 1990, p. 314; June, 1992, Janet G. Polachek, review of Mandela, p. 126; February, 1993, Lola H. Teubert, review of Lost Civilizations, p. 370; February, 1995, p. 361.


ONLINE

AppLit: Resources for Readers and Teachers of Appalachian Literature for Children and Young Adults,http://www.ferrum.edu/AppLit/ (November 15, 2002), Mary Warner, "The Contributions of Rebecca Caudill and Dorothy Hoobler to Appalachian Literature for Young Adults."