Broach, Elise 1963-
Broach, Elise 1963-
Born September 20, 1963, in Atlanta, GA; married; children: three children. Education: Yale University, B.A. (history), M.A. (history), M.Phil. (history).
Home and office—P.O. Box 613, Monroe, CT 06468. E-mail—[email protected]
Notable Children's Book selection, American Library Association, Edgar Allan Poe Award nomination, Mystery Writers of America, Notable Children's Book designation, National Council of Teachers of English, Teachers' Choice Award, International Reading Association, and Connecticut Book Award finalist, all 2005, all for Shakespeare's Secret; Bank Street College of Education Best Books for Children designation, 2005, for Hiding Hoover and What the No-Good Baby Is Good For.
Wet Dog!, illustrated by David Catrow, Dial (New York, NY), 2005.
What the No-good Baby Is Good For, illustrated by Abby Carter, Putnam (New York, NY), 2005.
Hiding Hoover, illustrated by Laura Huliska-Beith, Dial (New York, NY), 2005.
Cousin John Is Coming!, illustrated by Nate Lilly, Dial (New York, NY), 2006.
When Dinosaurs Came with Everything, illustrated by David Small, Atheneum (New York, NY), 2007.
Shakespeare's Secret, Holt (New York, NY), 2005.
Desert Crossing, Holt (New York, NY), 2006.
Masterpiece, Holt (New York, NY), 2008.
Shakespeare's Secret was adapted as an audio book, Recorded Books, 2005.
Elise Broach is the author of a number of critically acclaimed picture books for children and novels for young adults. Broach made her literary debut in 2005 with Wet Dog!, about a playful pooch's attempts to cool down on a scorcher of a day. In What the No-good Baby Is Good For, also published in 2005, a young boy has grown frustrated with his baby sister and wants her out of the house. But as John and his mother pack a bag for the little one, he realizes that the tot has some redeeming qualities after all. School Library Journal contributor Suzanne Myers Harold called What the No-good Baby Is Good For "touching, funny, and honest" and remarked that the work "will resonate with older brothers and sisters everywhere." Hiding Hoover, another 2005 title, concerns the efforts of a brother and sister to conceal the friendly dragon they have adopted from their father, who has forbidden them from owning a pet.
In the humorous picture book Cousin John Is Coming!, Ben and his cat dread the arrival of the youngster's detestable relative, whose behavior makes a hoodlum look angelic. When Ben's mother reveals that Cousin John has developed a terrible allergy to felines, however, owner and pet begin to plot their revenge. A reviewer in Publishers Weekly complimented the work of Broach and illustrator Nate Lilly, stating that the author's "chirpy, keenly observed text acts as an effective comic foil to her collaborator's vision of an all-in-the-family near-apocalypse."
Shakespeare's Secret, Broach's first young-adult work, appeared in 2005. The story follows the exploits of Hero Netherfield, whose classmates at her new school tease the sixth-grader about her unusual moniker, not realizing that Hero was named after a character in William Shakespeare's play Much Ado about Nothing. Hero learns from her elderly neighbor, Mrs. Roth, that the home Hero's family just moved into holds the key to the mystery of the long-lost "Murphy Diamond," an heirloom that is rumored to have belonged to King Henry VIII's consort, Anne Boleyn. As Hero and Mrs. Roth, accompanied by Danny Cordova, the son of the police chief, search for the precious jewel, they uncover evidence that adds to the debate over who wrote Shakespeare's plays.
"I had lived in England as a child and was a bit of a Shakespeare nut, and I'd always admired the play Much Ado about Nothing because it's witty and fun but doesn't shy away from the deeper themes of honor, reputation, and betrayal," Broach told Cynthia Leitich Smith on the Cynsations Web site, describing the inspiration for Shakespeare's Secret. Though Broach intended to write a contemporary novel based on the play, her story took an entirely different turn when her children discovered a trophy dating from 1915 in the woods near their home. "It was like finding buried treasure," the author related to Smith. "We were all completely intrigued, wondering who might have owned it and left it there. As a result, in Shakespeare's Secret, the mystery of the diamond took center stage." The author's debut novel received strong reviews. Nancy Menaldi-Scanlan, writing in School Library Journal, stated that "the main characters are well developed, and the dialogue is both realistic and well planned," and Booklist critic Gillian Engberg noted that "sophisticated readers … will appreciate … the revelations of manylayered mysteries that tie the past to the present."
In Broach's 2006 novel, Desert Crossing, a road trip turns into a life-changing experience for three young people. While driving through a downpour in the New Mexico desert, Lucy, Kit, and Jamie hit something with their car; getting out to investigate, they are shocked to find the body of a dead girl on the highway. They ask for help from the nearest resident, a reclusive sculptor named Beth, and she agrees to shelter the teens. When local police inform the trio that the dead body was placed on the road by persons unknown, Lucy becomes obsessed with finding the killer. According to Booklist contributor Gillian Engberg, "this provocative, often beautiful novel … examines identity, responsibility, intimacy, and the charged, blurry divide between teenagers and adults."
"For me," Broach noted on her home page, "picture books come from inspiration and novels from discipline. A picture book tends to arrive in an imaginative rush. I know the whole story at once." Writing a novel, however, "is a long, hard journey. It demands steady devotion and patience, the willingness to ‘show up at the page’ day after day, no matter your mood."
Biographical and Critical Sources
Booklist, May 1, 2005, Gillian Engberg, review of Shakespeare's Secret, p. 1541; May 15, 2005, Hazel Rochman, review of What the No-good Baby Is Good For, p. 1663; June 1, 2006, Gillian Engberg, review of Cousin John Is Coming!, p. 58.
Kirkus Reviews, April 15, 2005, review of Shakespeare's Secret, p. 469; June 15, 2005, review of Hiding Hoover, p. 678; April 1, 2006, review of Desert Crossing, p. 342.
Kliatt, May, 2005, Janie Flint-Ferguson, review of Shakespeare's Secret, p. 8.
Publishers Weekly, July 31, 2006, review of Cousin John Is Coming!, p. 75.
School Library Journal, June, 2005, Suzanne Myers Harold, review of What the No-good Baby Is Good For, pp. 105–106, and Nancy Menaldi-Scanlan, review of Shakespeare's Secrets, p. 152; July, 2005, Linda M. Kenton, review of Wet Dog!, pp. 65–66; August, 2005, Susan Weitz, review of Hiding Hoover, p. 86; July, 2006, Catherine Threadgill, review of Cousin John Is Coming!, p. 68.
Voice of Youth Advocates, August, 2005, Lucy Schall, review of Shakespeare's Secret, p. 212.
Elise Broach Home Page,http://www.elisebroach.com (September 1, 2006).
Cynsations Web site,http://cynthialeitichsmith.blogspot.com/ (August 1, 2005), Cynthia Leitich Smith, interview with Broach.