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Severance, John B(ridwell) 1935-

SEVERANCE, John B(ridwell) 1935-

PERSONAL: Born July 24, 1935, in New York, NY; son of Frank A. F. (a lawyer) and Frances V. Severance; married Gwenith Heuss (marriage ended); married Sylvia Frezzolini, March 16, 1984; children: (first marriage) Rebecca E., Abigail F. Ethnicity: "Caucasian." Education: Harvard University, B.A., 1958; Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT, M.A.L.S., 1969. Politics: Independent.

ADDRESSES: Home and office—6 George St., Westerly, RI 02891.

CAREER: Harper & Row Publishers, Inc., New York, NY, sales representative, 1958-61; schoolteacher in South Kent, CT, 1961-69, Wallingford, CT, 1969-84, and New York, NY, 1986-87; Kent Place School, Summit, NJ, teacher and department head, 1987-91.

MEMBER: Authors Guild, Authors League of America.

WRITINGS:

FOR YOUNG ADULTS

Winston Churchill: Soldier, Statesman, Artist, Clarion Books (New York, NY), 1996.

Grandhi, Great Soul, Clarion Books (New York, NY), 1997.

Thomas Jefferson: Architect of Independence, Clarion Books (New York, NY), 1998.

Einstein: Visionary Scientist, Clarion Books (New York, NY), 1999.

Skyscrapers: How America Grew Up, Holiday House (New York, NY), 2000.

Braving the Fire (novel), Clarion Books (New York, NY), 2002.

WORK IN PROGRESS: A historical novel set in the mid-nineteenth-century United States.

SIDELIGHTS: John B. Severance once told CA: "Somewhere in my high school years I discovered that I enjoyed the process of writing, whether it was an expository essay for history or a creative piece for English class. After several decades in education, I still enjoy ordering words, whether it's a free-wheeling letter to a friend or the laborious constructing and reconstructing of sentences in a chapter of a book in progress. To me, all writing seems fundamentally creative.

"I enjoy writing not because it comes easily to me (it doesn't), but I take pleasure in concentrating on phrasing and rephrasing until the juxtaposition of words is as clear and balanced as I can make it. It matters little if the day's output is ten pages or one paragraph. The feeling of accomplishment is the same.

"My current professional efforts are in the field of young adult biographies. My intention is to show that leaders who appear super-human in the pages of history were, in fact, very much like the rest of us. They became great only when they made the effort to reach beyond their ordinary human weaknesses.

"I am busily picking away at projects in nonfiction, but if that vein ever gives out, I would happily try fiction. Language is the raw material awaiting the hand of the wordsmith."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, June 1, 2000, Carolyn Phelan, review of Skyscrapers: How America Grew Up, p. 1879; December 15, 2000, Gillian Engberg, review of Skyscrapers, p. 810; October 1, 2002, Hazel Rochman, review of Braving the Fire, p. 313.

Horn Book, September, 2000, review of Skyscrapers, p. 600.

Kirkus Reviews, August 1, 2002, review of Braving the Fire, p. 1142.

New York Times Book Review, December 17, 2000, Simon Rodberg, review of Skyscrapers, p. 31.

School Library Journal, July, 2000, Mary Ann Carcich, review of Skyscrapers, p. 122; November, 2002, Elizabeth M. Reardon, review of Braving the Fire, p. 176.

Stone Soup, September, 2000, Casey Pelletier, review of Einstein: Visionary Scientist, p. 20.

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