Greene, Stephanie 1950-
Greene, Stephanie 1950-
Born September 12, 1950, in New York, NY; daughter of Philip M. (in marketing) and Constance C. (a children's book author) Greene; married George A. Radwan (a businessman), May 19, 1976; children: Oliver. Education: University of Connecticut, B.A. (French), 1972; attended Université de Rouen, 1970-71; Vermont College, M.F.A. (writing for children and young adults), 2007.
Home and office—2320 New Hope Church Rd., Chapel Hill, NC 27514. E-mail—[email protected]
The Hour (newspaper), Norwalk, CT, reporter, 1973-75; Ogilvy and Mather, Inc., New York, NY, advertising copywriter, 1976-84; Askey Associates, Keene, NH, co-creative director, 1987-89; Chapel Hill Press, Chapel Hill, NC, editorial director.
Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, Authors Guild, Authors League of America.
School Library Journal Best Book designation, 1991, for Owen Foote, Frontiersman; American Library Association Notable Book designation, 2006, for Queen Sophie Hartley; Bank Street College Best Book of the Year designation; American Bookseller Pick-of-the-List selection.
Show and Tell, illustrated by Elaine Clayton, Clarion (New York, NY), 1998.
Not Just Another Moose, illustrated by Andrea Wallace, Marshall Cavendish (New York, NY), 2000.
(Editor with Marshall Brooks) Fateful Choices: Tales along the Road Taken, Birch Brook Press (Delhi, NY), 2001.
The Rugrats' First Kwanzaa (based on Rugrats television series), Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2001.
Betsy Ross and the Silver Thimble, illustrated by Diana Magnuson, Aladdin Paperbacks (New York, NY), 2002.
Falling into Place, Clarion (New York, NY), 2002.
Queen Sophie Hartley, Clarion (New York, NY), 2005.
Moose's Big Idea, illustrated by Joe Mathieu, Marshall Cavendish (New York, NY), 2005.
Moose Crossing, illustrated by Joe Mathieu, Marshall Cavendish (New York, NY), 2005.
Sophie Hartley, on Strike, Clarion (New York, NY), 2006.
Pig Pickin', illustrated by Joe Mathieu, Marshall Cavendish (New York, NY), 2006.
"OWEN FOOTE" CHAPTER-BOOK SERIES
Owen Foote, Second-Grade Strongman, illustrated by Dee De Rosa, Clarion (New York, NY), 1996.
Owen Foote, Soccer Star, illustrated by Martha Weston, Clarion (New York, NY), 1998.
Owen Foote, Frontiersman, illustrated by Martha Weston, Clarion (New York, NY), 1999.
Owen Foote, Money Man, illustrated by Martha Weston, Clarion (New York, NY), 2000.
Owen Foote, Super Spy, illustrated by Martha Weston, Clarion (New York, NY), 2001.
Owen Foote, Mighty Scientist, illustrated by Catherine Bowman Smith, Clarion (New York, NY), 2004.
Stephanie Greene is the author of more than a dozen children's books, among them a series of beginning chapter books featuring Owen Foote. Greene's young protagonist is introduced to readers in Owen Foote, Second-Grade Strongman, in which Owen illustrates the intense concern younger boys have regarding their size and growth compared to their school-aged friends. As the smallest boy in his class, Owen dreads "height- and weight-chart day," especially after being publicly humiliated the year before when the nurse called him a "pipsqueak." This year the school nurse tells Owen's best friend, Joseph, that he is too fat, and now Owen speaks up and asks that she keep her voice down. Although his classmates idolize him for standing up to the thoughtless nurse, parents and teachers are upset and demand Owen's apology. All ends well when the nurse admits she needs a hearing aid. Writing in Horn Book, Nancy Vasilakis called Owen Foote, Second-Grade Strongman a believable book in which Greene "appears to have mastered the art of seeing things wholly from a child's perspective."
In Owen Foote, Soccer Star Owen returns to school having grown tall enough to play in the town's soccer league. When friend Joseph is bullied by another teammate and ridiculed in front of his fellow players, Owen denies being Joseph's friend, but eventually stands up for his buddy. A reviewer for Publishers Weekly noted that the tale is "imparted with humor," and that Greene's message "about the importance of being a true friend will escape no youngster" reading the story. Kay Weisman, writing in Booklist, noted that in addition to being an "appealing choice" for beginning chapter-book readers, the story handles "issues of sportsmanship, self-esteem, and loyalty" well.
Owen Foote, Frontiersman finds Owen and Joseph fighting off two older boys who have taken over their tree house, all the while trying to keep Owen's "OPM (overprotective mother)" out of the loop. In Owen Foote, Money Man the now-eight-year-old boy is in dire need of cash, hoping to purchase plastic vomit, whoopee cushions, and other sundry items from a mail-order catalog. Owen does not want to work for the money, however; instead he relies on his entrepreneurial skills and starts a dog-walking business with Joseph. Ultimately, Owen's schemes fail, but the funds nonetheless are found, having come from an unexpected source. A reviewer for Horn Book lauded Owen Foote, Frontiersman for its "good balance of narrative and dialogue," while "kid-friendly humor, good characterization, and a believable and fast-moving plot distinguish" Owen Foote, Money Man, according to Jennifer Ralston in a review for School Library Journal.
In Owen Foote, Super Spy Owen and Joseph decide to become spies. At first, they keep tabs on their own families, but this quickly becomes boring. The boys find a more challenging target in Principal Mahoney, who used to be a marine. When their surveillance efforts are detected, the boys learn not only the consequences of their actions, but the reasons why spying is wrong. "A lighthearted spirit and smart dialogue will keep young readers chanting for more of this funny fellow," wrote a Kirkus Reviews contributor of the title. Martha V. Parravano, in Horn Book, praised Greene's understanding of her narrator, writing that the author "has a light, humorous touch and one of the surest senses in the business of the inner workings of nine-year-old boys." Booklist critic Kay Weisman felt that Owen Foote, Super Spy "will be popular with Owen's fans and newcomers to the series."
Owen's adventures continue in Owen Foote, Mighty Scientist, which finds our hero determined to win the science fair project with the help of best friend Joseph. Joseph does not share Owen's love for lizards, however, and the science project soon takes a turn Owen does not like. Finally, when he really listens to Joseph's concerns, the duo learn to work together and produce a good project. Hazel Rochman remarked in Booklist that the book would be "a great title to spark discussion in science classes" due to the very real way Owen learns from both his scientific successes and failures. According to Horn Book reviewer Roger Sutton, "Owen's impulsive bossiness is one of his most endearing qualities." Linda Zeilstra Sawyer complimented Greene's narrative balance in her School Library Journal review, writing that Owen Foote, Mighty Scientist "strikes just the right balance of action, humor, and honest emotion."
As she does in her "Owen Foote" series, Greene focuses on issues many children confront in her other books. Show and Tell, for example, finds second-grader Woody learning to adjust to a new teacher in school after being erroneously brands him a troublemaker. Eventually, Woody and Mrs. Plunkett resolve their differences, teaching the boy a valuable lesson about relationships and first impressions. Writing in Booklist, Lauren Peterson praised Show and Tell for its "realistic" dialogue and the author for her ability to handle weighty issues with humor.
Falling into Place introduces eleven-year-old Martha, the oldest child in a blended family. Margaret is just beginning to adjust to her new stepmother and stepsisters when her grandparents move from their house next door to a retirement community because her grandfather, Tad, is sick. Changes keep coming as Margaret's father and stepmother announce that they are going to have a new baby and Tad passes away. Margaret feels overwhelmed and goes to the retirement community to visit her Gran. Hoping to find stability there, she instead learns that Gran is depressed and that Margaret's younger cousin Roy is now staying with the elderly woman. While not wanting to share her Gran's attention, Margaret includes Roy in a plan to help Gran meet some new friends. As Gran begins coping with the changes in her life, Margaret learns that she must also
cope with hers. Jean Gaffney, writing in School Library Journal, commented that "the reading is easy, and the plot moves along quickly, naturally, and with some humor." A Kirkus Reviews contributor called Falling into Place "warm and thoughtful," and noted that the story "investigates the complexities of loss, blended families, and friendship."
Queen Sophie Hartley introduces a new middle-grade heroine in Sophie. Feeling too ordinary, Sophie lists those things she is good at and those she is not, but by comparing herself to her talented older sister, her second list keeps growing. When her mother notes that one of Sophie's strengths is being kind, the girl decides to develop this talent by spending time with her grouchy, wheelchair-bound neighbor and befriends the most obnoxious girl in her class at school. "Greene's simple plot, droll dialogue, and strong characters intimately bring the reader into Sophie's world," wrote a Kirkus Reviews contributor, while School Library Journal reviewer Carol Schene called the novel's heroine "likable and resilient." Booklist reviewer Carolyn Phelan noted that "Greene conveys Sophie's emotions and thoughts with ruthless candor," and a Publishers Weekly critic wrote that the book's "narrative shines in its depiction of the heartwarming, entirely realistic Hartley family dynamics." Sophie and her family return in Sophie Hartley, on Strike, which a Horn Book contributor dubbed a "snapshot of real family life."
Moose and his friend Hildy the Pig are the stars of the chapter books Moose's Big Idea, Moose Crossing, and Pig Pickin'. In the first title, after Moose loses his antlers, friend Hildy encourages him to look on the bright side. Resigned at first to spending hunting season inside, drawing and reading, Moose gets so bored that he decides to sell coffee to the hunters, and his spirits eventually climb when his antlers start to grow back. In Moose Crossing, Moose discovers a sign with his picture on it and concludes that he is famous. Hildy finds her friend's behavior ridiculous when Moose struts around near the sign, preening for his fans. When the humans stopped near Moose's display begin to take photographs, the flash of cameras unnerve the silly moose, and ultimately Hildy comes to his rescue. Laura Scott, in School Library Journal, felt that Moose's Big Idea provides "lots of laughs," and Kristine M. Casper noted in the same periodical that readers of Moose Crossing "will take pleasure in watching Moose realize that being famous is not as much fun as he thought."
Greene once told SATA: "Although I've written in one form or another all of my professional life, I wasn't one of those writers who claim they were born with a pencil in hand. In fact, one of my most detested chores as a child were the ‘Bread and Butter" notes I was required to write as a child every Christmas and birthday. They were enough to put me off writing for life.
"However, I prevailed, and once I had a child of my own and started spending a lot of time both with him and his friends, I remembered how intriguing, how much fun, how humorous, and brave and scary and fascinating children are. I love them best of all human forms, followed closely by the elderly. I like to listen to what children say and watch what they do, and if any book I write can make them laugh or make them think or teach them something or bring them comfort—that's all I ask.
"And, lo and behold! The more I work with wonderful and smart editors—who have made me a better writer with each book—I have come to love the actual work of writing. Word by sometimes painful word, nothing brings me more satisfaction than knowing I have written something good. Except, maybe, talking to my son, taking a walk on a beautiful day, traveling to a place I've never seen before, smelling salt water, listening to sea gulls, feeling the sun on my back, smelling garlic roasting. … Okay, so lots of things bring me great satisfaction, but none more than writing—or reading—a great book."
Biographical and Critical Sources
Greene, Stephanie, Owen Foote, Second-Grade Strongman, Clarion (New York, NY), 1996.
Greene, Stephanie, Owen Foote, Frontiersman, Clarion (New York, NY), 1999.
Booklist, April 15, 1996, Hazel Rochman, review of Owen Foote, Second-Grade Strongman, p. 1438; March 15, 1998, Kay Weisman, review of Owen Foote, Soccer Star, p. 1243; November 1, 1998, Lauren Peterson, review of Show and Tell, p. 492; September 1, 2000, Kay Weisman, review of Owen Foote, Money Man, p. 122; January 1, 2002, Kay Weisman, review of Owen Foote, Super Spy, p. 857; October 15, 2002, Diane Foote, review of Falling into Place, p. 404; August, 2004, Hazel Rochman, review of Owen Foote, Mighty Scientist, p. 1933; April 1, 2005, Carolyn Phelan, review of Queen Sophie Hartley, p. 1360.
Children's Bookwatch, November, 2004, review of Owen Foote, Mighty Scientist.
Horn Book, May-June, 1996, Nancy Vasilakis, review of Owen Foote, Second-Grade Strongman, p. 332; May-June, 1998, Roger Sutton, review of Owen Foote, Soccer Star, p. 344; September, 1999, review of Owen Foote, Frontiersman, p. 610; September, 2000, review of Owen Foote, Money Man, p. 569; November-December, 2001, Martha V. Parravano, review of Owen Foote, Super Spy, p. 748; September-October, 2004, Roger Sutton, review of Owen Foote, Mighty Scientist, p. 583.
Kirkus Reviews, October 1, 2001, review of Owen Foote, Super Spy, p. 1424; October 1, 2002, review of Falling into Place, p. 1470; April 1, 2005, review of Queen Sophie Hartley, p. 417; September 15, 2005, review of Moose Crossing, p. 1026.
Publishers Weekly, February 16, 1998, review of Owen Foote, Soccer Star, p. 211; May 2, 2005, review of Queen Sophie Hartley, p. 200.
School Library Journal, September, 2000, Jennifer Ralston, review of Owen Foote, Money Man, p. 198; October, 2001, Wanda Meyers-Hines, review of Owen Foote, Super Spy, p. 118; September, 2002, Jean Gaffney, review of Falling into Place, p. 225; October, 2004, Linda Zeilstra Sawyer, review of Owen Foote, Mighty Scientist, p. 114; April, 2005, review of Owen Foote, Mighty Scientist, p. S38; May, 2005, Carol Schene, review of Queen Sophie Hartley, p. 83; October, 2005, Laura Scott, review of Moose's Big Idea, p. 114; March, 2006, Kristine M. Casper, review of Moose Crossing, p. 190.