Zimmer, Tracie Vaughn 1969(?)-

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Zimmer, Tracie Vaughn 1969(?)-

PERSONAL:

Born c. 1969; married; husband's name Randy; children: two. Education: Ohio State University, B.A.; Miami University, M.A.

ADDRESSES:

Home—Charlotte, NC. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Writer, teacher, and freelance copywriter.

WRITINGS:

CHILDREN'S BOOKS

Sketches from a Spy Tree, illustrated by Andrew Glass, Clarion Books (New York, NY), 2005.

Reaching for Sun, Bloomsbury Children's Books (New York, NY), 2007.

The Floating Circus, Bloomsbury Children's Books (New York, NY), 2008.

42 Miles, illustrated by Elaine Clayton, Clarion Books (New York, NY), 2008.

Steady Hands: Poems about Work, illustrated by Megan Halsey and Sean Addy, Clarion Books (New York, NY), 2008.

SIDELIGHTS:

Tracie Vaughn Zimmer is an American writer, teacher, and freelance copywriter. She grew up in Ohio and received both of her university degrees within the state. Zimmer taught classes to a wide range of students and eventually began publishing her own books and creating teacher guide books.

Zimmer published her first book, Sketches from a Spy Tree, in 2005. Young Anne Marie records her observations of family life and the happenings around her, often from her spy tree, where she and her twin sister give contrasting reports. Anne Marie deals with the bitter attitude her mother has for her father leaving the family, accepting her new stepfather, and ultimately warming to her new baby sister. Anne Marie also gets an elevated perspective on the people in her neighborhood while sitting high atop her spy tree, including the cat lady's life with her feline companions. The poetic text is written in free verse and complemented by illustrations by Andrew Glass. A contributor to Kirkus Reviews commented that this book would be "of special interest to readers who may themselves be facing a shift in family structure." Booklist contributor Carolyn Phelan noted that "many of the illustrations seem to glow with infused, colored light that energizes the scenes." Phelan thought that the illustrations and pencil drawings add "distinction" to the free verse text. Lee Bock, writing in School Library Journal, found the poems to be "remarkably candid." Bock remarked that while reading the book, "readers encounter delightfully energized illustrations that complement the subject and mood of each poem well."

Zimmer's second book, Reaching for Sun, was published in 2007. Seventh-grader Josie resides on her grandmother's farm and suffers from cerebral palsy. She watches as developers buy up her family's farm land, shrinking the size of the farm considerably. This allows the family to pay for Josie's medical expenses and her mother's college tuition. Josie eventually befriends Jordan, a boy from a wealthy family who moves into a nearby mansion. He finds that Josie does not neglect him like his family does, and Josie earns her first real friend. Booklist contributor Anne O'Malley commented that "this quick-reading, appealing story will capture readers' hearts with its winsome heroine and affecting situations." Christine M. Heppermann, writing in Horn Book Magazine, noted that "garden imagery wends its way through this eloquent free verse novel about a seventh-grade girl with cerebral palsy." In a School Library Journal review, Nancy Brown thought that the text's "seeming simplicity" would attract some readers. Brown concluded that "readers … will enjoy spending time with Josie and may gain an increased awareness of what it's like to live with a disability." A contributor to Kirkus Reviews stated that "Josie's voice has a universal appeal."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, August, 2005, Carolyn Phelan, review of Sketches from a Spy Tree, p. 2032; January 1, 2007, Anne O'Malley, review of Reaching for Sun, p. 106.

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, March, 2007, Deborah Stevenson, review of Reaching for Sun, p. 314.

Center for Children's Books Bulletin, September, 2005, Deborah Stevenson, review of Sketches from a Spy Tree, p. 59.

Horn Book Magazine, March 1, 2007, Christine M. Heppermann, review of Reaching for Sun, p. 207.

Kirkus Reviews, June 15, 2005, review of Sketches from a Spy Tree, p. 693; January 15, 2007, review of Reaching for Sun, p. 83.

Library Media Connection, January, 2006, Anne Sushko, review of Sketches from a Spy Tree, p. 85.

School Library Journal, August, 2005, Lee Bock, review of Sketches from a Spy Tree, p. 140; March, 2007, Nancy Brown, review of Reaching for Sun, p. 222.

ONLINE

Cynsations,http://cynthialeitichsmith.blogspot.com/ (April 19, 2007), author interview.

Embracing the Child,http://www.embracingthechild.org/ (January 4, 2008), author interview.

Tracie Vaughn Zimmer Home Page,http://www.tracievaughnzimmer.com (January 4, 2008), author biography.

Tracie Vaughn Zimmer MySpace Profile,http://profile.myspace.com/ (January 4, 2008), author profile.

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