Hausman, Gerald 1945- (Gerry Hausman)
Hausman, Gerald 1945- (Gerry Hausman)
Born October 13, 1945, in Baltimore, MD; son of Sidney (an engineer) and Dorothy (a teacher and homemaker) Hausman; married Loretta Wright (an author), June, 1968; children: Mariah, Hannah Hausman Greaux. Education: New Mexico Highlands University, B.A. (English literature), 1968. Hobbies and other interests: Reading, long-distance swimming, storytelling, qigong.
Educator and author. Poetry teacher in Lenox, MA, 1969-72; Bookstore Press, Lenox, MA, editor, 1972-77; Sunstone Press, Santa Fe, NM, vice president, 1979-83; Santa Fe Preparatory School, Santa Fe, NM, teacher of English, 1983-94. Poet-in-residence in public schools, 1970-76, at Central Connecticut State College, 1973, and for city of Pittsfield, MA. Blue Harbour Creative Writing School, Port Maria, Jamaica, cofounder, 1986-93. Literary arts consultant for Berkshire County, MA.
Authors Guild, Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators.
Union College poetry prize, 1965, for Quebec Poems; Children's Protective Services Award for performance art; Massachusetts Council on the Humanities teaching grant; Connecticut Commission on the Arts teaching grant; Gerald Hausman Scholarship established for Native-American high-school students at Santa Fe Preparatory School, 1985; Aesop Accolade Award, American Folklore Society (children's section), 1995, for Duppy Talk: West Indian Tales of Mystery and Magic;
Notable Social Studies Book for Young People designation, Children's Book Council (CBC)/National Council for the Social Studies, 1996, and 1999, for Doctor Bird: Three Lookin' Up Tales from Jamaica; Americus Award honorable mention, 1998, for Doctor Bird; Pick of the Lists selection, American Booksellers Association, 1999, for Dogs of Myth: Tales from around the World; Bank Street College of Education Best Book selection, 2000, for Tom Cringle: Battle on the High Seas and Cats of Myth: Tales from around the World; Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People designation, and New York Public Library Best Books for the Teen Age designation, both 2001, both for The Jacob Ladder; Parents' Choice Silver Medal for Nonfiction, 2003, and New York Public Library Best Book for the Teen Age designation and CCBC Choice designation, both 2004, all for Escape from Botany Bay; National Social Studies Council/ CBC Best Book designation, 2007, for A Mind with Wings.
(Editor) The Shivurrus Plant of Mopant, and Other Children's Poems, Giligia, 1968.
The Boy with the Sun Tree Bow, Berkshire Traveller Press (Stockbridge, MA), 1973.
Beth: The Little Girl of Pine Knoll, Bookstore Press (Lenox, MA), 1974.
The Day the White Whales Came to Bangor, Cobblesmith, 1977.
Coyote Walks on Two Legs, Philomel (New York, NY), 1993.
Eagle Boy, illustrated by Cara and Barry Moser, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1993.
Turtle Island Alphabet for Young Readers, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1993.
(Reteller) Duppy Talk: West Indian Tales of Mystery and Magic, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1994.
Doctor Moledinky's Castle: A Hometown Tale, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1995.
(Collector and reteller) How Chipmunk Got Tiny Feet: Native American Animal Origin Stories, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1995.
Doctor Bird: Three Lookin' Up Tales from Jamaica, illustrated by Ashley Wolff, Philomel Books (New York, NY), 1998.
(Reteller) The Story of Blue Elk, illustrated by Kristina Rodanas, Clarion Books (New York, NY), 1998.
(With Cedella Marley) The Boy from Nine Miles: The Early Life of Bob Marley, illustrated by Mariah Fox, Hampton Roads (Charlottesville, VA), 2002.
(With wife, Loretta Hausman) Horses of Myth: Tales from around the World, illustrated by Robert Florczak, Dutton (New York, NY), 2005.
(With Cedella Marley) Three Little Birds (board book), Tuff Gong Books (Miami, FL), 2006.
(With Loretta Hausman) The Healing Horse (middle-grade novel), Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 2006.
FOR YOUNG ADULTS
Sitting on the Blue-Eyed Bear: Navajo Myths and Legends, Lawrence Hill (Westport, CT), 1975.
Turtle Dream (short fiction), Mariposa (Santa Fe, NM), 1989.
Ghost Walk (short stories), Mariposa (Santa Fe, NM), 1991.
Night Flight (novel), Philomel Books (New York, NY), 1996.
The Coyote Bead (novel), Hampton Roads (Charlottesville, VA), 1999.
(With Loretta Hausman) Dogs of Myth: Tales from around the World, illustrated by Barry Moser, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1999.
(Coauthor) Cats of Myth: Tales from around the World, illustrated by Leslie Baker, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2000.
Tom Cringle: Battle on the High Seas (novel), illustrated by Tad Hills, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2000.
(With Loretta Hausman) The Metaphysical Cat: Tales of Cats and Their Humans, Hampton Roads (Charlottesville, VA), 2001.
(With Uton Hinds) The Jacob Ladder (novel), Orchard Books (New York, NY), 2001.
Tom Cringle: The Pirate and the Patriot (novel), Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2001.
Castaways: Stories of Survival, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 2003.
(With Loretta Hausman) Escape from Botany Bay: The True Story of Mary Bryant, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2003.
(With Loretta Hausman) Napoleon and Josephine: The Sword and the Hummingbird (novel), Scholastic (New York, NY), 2004.
(With Loretta Hausman) A Mind with Wings: The Story of Henry David Thoreau, Random House (New York, NY), 2006.
(With Loretta Hausman) Leaves of Liberty (novel), Scholastic (New York, NY), 2007.
POETRY AND SHORT FICTION; FOR ADULTS
(With David Kherdian) Eight Poems, Giligia, 1968.
New Marlboro Stage, Giligia, 1969, 2nd edition, Bookstore Press (Lenox, MA), 1971.
Circle Meadow, Bookstore Press (Lenox, MA), 1972.
(Editor with David Silverstein) The Berkshire Anthology, Bookstore Press, 1972.
Night Herding Song, Copper Canyon Press (Port Townsend, WA), 1979.
Runners, Sunstone Press (Santa Fe, NM), 1984.
Contributor to Poets in the Schools, edited by Kathleen Meagher, Connecticut Commission on the Arts, 1973. Contributor to anthologies, including Contemporaries: Twenty-eight New American Poets, Viking (New York, NY); Desert Review Anthology, Desert Review Press; Poetry Here and Now, edited by David Kherdian, Morrow (New York, NY); Tales from the Great Turtle, edited by Piers Anthony and Richard Gilliam, Tor (New York, NY), 1994; Warriors of Blood and Dream, edited by Roger Zelazny, Avon (New York, NY), 1995; Wheel of Fortune, edited by Zelazny, Avon, 1995; The Gift of Tongues: Twenty-five Years of Poetry, edited by Sam Hammill, Copper Canyon Press (Port Townsend, WA), 1996; Lord of the Fantastic: Stories in Honor of Roger Zelazny, edited by Martin H. Greenberg, Avon, 1998; and Urban Nature: Poems about Wildlife in the City, edited by Laure-Anne Bosselaar, Milkweed Editions (Minneapolis, MN), 2000.
(With Loretta Hausman, under name Gerry Hausman) The Pancake Book, Persea Books (New York, NY), 1976.
(With Loretta Hausman, under name Gerry Hausman) The Yogurt Book, Persea Books (New York, NY), 1977.
No Witness (novel), Stackpole (Harrisburg, PA), 1980.
Meditations with Animals: A Native American Bestiary, Bear & Co. (Santa Fe, NM), 1986.
Meditations with the Navajo: Prayers, Songs, and Stories of Healing and Harmony, Bear & Co. (Santa Fe, NM), 1988.
Stargazer (novel), Lotus Press (Santa Fe, NM), 1989.
Turtle Island Alphabet (essays), St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1992.
(Reteller) The Gift of the Gila Monster: Navajo Ceremonial Tales, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1993.
Tunkashila, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1993.
(With Roger Zelazny) Wilderness (novel), Forge (New York, NY), 1994.
(Editor) Prayer to the Great Mystery: The Uncollected Writings and Photography of Edward S. Curtis, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1995.
The Sun Horse (essays), Lotus Press, 1995.
(With Kelvin Rodrigues) African-American Alphabet: A Celebration of African-American and West Indian Culture, Custom, Myth, and Symbol, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1996.
(Editor) The Kebra Nagast: The Lost Bible of Rastafarian Wisdom and Faith from Ethiopia and Jamaica, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1997.
(Coauthor) The Mythology of Dogs: Canine Legend and Lore through the Ages, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1997.
(With Loretta Hausman) The Mythology of Cats: Feline Legend and Lore through the Ages, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1998.
(With Cedella Marley) Fifty-six Thoughts from 56 Hope Road, Tuff Gong Books (Miami, FL), 2002.
(With Loretta Hausman) The Mythology of Horses: Horse Legend and Lore throughout the Ages, Three Rivers Press (New York, NY), 2003.
Sixty Visions, Tuff Gong Books (Miami, FL), 2005.
Hausman's works have been recorded on audiotapes and released by Lotus Press (Santa Fe, NM), including Navajo Nights, 1987, Stargazer, 1989, Native American Animal Stories, 1990, and Ghost Walk, 1991. The Boy with the Sun Tree Bow was adapted as a short animated film by the University of Washington, 2006.
In addition to his work as a poet, editor, and educator, Gerald Hausman writes books for children and young adults that are inspired by his love of words and his interest in both history and Native-American and Caribbean lore. In Duppy Talk: West Indian Tales of Mystery and Magic, Doctor Bird: Three Lookin' Up Tales from Jamaica, and The Story of Blue Elk he retells tradition narratives, while Castaways: Stories of Survival includes six tales inspired by first-person accounts which combine courage and a touch of the supernatural. Collections of animal lore are compiled in a series of books Hausman has written in collaboration with his wife, Loretta Hausman. Focusing on older readers, Hausman has also written short fiction as well as novels such as Tom Cringle: Battle on the High Seas and its sequels. Collaborative works for teen readers include The Jacob Ladder, a novel coauthored with Jamaican writer Uton Hinds, as well as the history-centered Napoleon and Josephine: The Sword and the Hummingbird, A Mind with Wings: The Story of Henry David Thoureau, and Escape from Botany Bay: The True Story of Mary Bryant, all which were coauthored by Hausman and his wife..
Praising Escape from Botany Bay, Booklist contributor Ed Sullivan dubbed it "an engrossing" account of the exploits of the nineteen-year-old woman who, in the late 1700s, led the first and only successful escape from Australia's notorious prison. In School Library Journal, Christina Stenson-Carey praised A Mind with Wings as "a well-researched novel [that] expertly captures Thoreau's character and life in mid-19th-century Massachusetts."
In Duppy Talk Hausman presents tales centering around the "Duppy", a West Indian term for a soul that has not yet settled peacefully in the spirit world and continues to haunt the living. The Duppy ghost has links to the indigenous African religions that were brought to the Caribbean region by African slaves. Also based on West Indian folklore, Doctor Bird introduces a figure allegedly native to the north coast of Jamaica: a top-hat-wearing, streamer-tailed hummingbird who helps other animals. This "Doctor" gives guidance to a little homeless mouse that finds shelter and nourishment in the trees, and helps a kleptomaniac mongoose realize that stealing is wrong. "Rather than write in dialect, Hausman lightly evokes oral cadences with a few scattered words or turns of phrase," noted Booklist critic John Peters in a review of Doctor Bird.
Navajo lore and stories from other indigenous peoples of the American Southwest have provided inspiration for several books by Hausman. He adapts several variants of one tale in The Story of Blue Elk, which begins as a baby is born in a Pueblo community on the same day a giant elk casts its shadow over the village. The shadow is an omen: the infant, named Blue Elk, will be mute for life. Although without the power of speech, the child is able to communicate with his namesake, which appears to the boy in animal form. When the giant elk dies, it falls to the ground next to a cedar tree, and its antlers merge with the cedar wood. The mute Blue Elk, now a grown man, uses that wood to carve a special flute. He then plays it to communicate with a woman whom he has loved from afar for many years. Reviewing the book for School Library Journal, Judith Gloyer commended Hausman's "beautiful, vivid language," and deemed The Story of Blue Elk "a lyrical tale from a gifted and experienced storyteller."
Hausman also mines Navajo history in the young-adult novel The Coyote Bead. The story is set in 1864, as Dineh, a young Tobachischin, is orphaned when his parents are slain by federal government troops. The backdrop of the story is the Long Walk, a tragic chapter in Navajo history that was ongoing during this time and involved the enforced migration of the tribe to Fort Sumner, New Mexico. Along with his grandfather, a medicine man, Dineh hides from the soldiers and also from a treacherous Ute named Two Face. When Dineh's grandfather is slain by one of Two Face's arrows—a death the man had prophesied for himself—Dineh saves the man's prized medicine bag and forges on alone. He comes across the site of an Ute massacre, and is shot at by Mary, a young woman who had been adopted by a sympathetic white family before her adoptive parents also became victims of Two Face. "Interestingly, the heroes and villains [of the Long Walk] aren't divided along racial lines," noted a critic writing for Hungry Mind Review. The reviewer wrote positively of the way Hausman portrays Navajo culture, noting that "cooking and eating, rituals, [and] interpreting nature … are astutely and painstakingly relayed, making the reader's transport back in time an effortless and worthwhile journey."
Hausman's other books for older readers include a series of novels that draw on eighteenth-and nineteenth-century English literature for their inspiration. Tom Cringle: Battle on the High Seas recounts, in fictional diary form, the adventures of a thirteen-year-old English boy who goes to sea. Living a life not uncommon for a boy of his age, Tom serves as a midshipman on board the Bream, a guard vessel trolling Caribbean waters during the War of 1812. Tom's direst hardships on board the Bream involve adjusting to life at sea, and he and his young comrade are frequently nauseous. Soon, he finds his niche as an "eagle eye" who can spot an unfriendly ship far off on the horizon. While piracy is a danger, so are tropical storms, and when one wrecks the Bream, only Tom, his dog Sneezer, and two other crew members survive. Picked up by a pirate ship, they bribe the ship's captain into delivering them to a British naval base in the area by offering the gold buttons from their uniform as payment. Tom views the captain, a fierce Scot named Obediah Glasgow, with some fear, but the two forge an unlikely friendship, and Tom and his companions are ultimately delivered to safety. School Library Journal critic William McLoughlin wrote that the novel's opening pages are "brimming with colorful descriptions of life aboard the Bream, where Tom experiences drudgery, disease, thrilling naval battles, and the death of a companion."
Hausman's saga continues in Tom Cringle: The Pirate and the Patriot. A year older and promoted to first lieutenant, Tom is still sailing the Caribbean and still on the lookout for pirates. When his captain surprises a pirate ship and boards it by force, Tom and the crew discover that it carries slaves, taken from a plantation called Cinnamon Hill. Tom is assigned to return the slaves to their owner, but the mission presents a moral quandary for him as he believes slavery is wrong. After several more adventures, Tom is relieved when the Royal Navy agrees to take the slaves on as new conscripts. Although School Library Journal contributor Patricia B. McGee faulted Tom Cringle: The Pirate and the Patriot for presenting a pat solution to the slavery issue at a time when "Royal Navy life … was brutal," she also noted that the work's "lively plotting, picturesque language, and colorful setting make [Tom Cringle: The Pirate and the Patriot] … an exciting tale." Writing in Booklist, Roger Leslie praised the author for effectively employing an "epistolary format and Treasure Island-like dialogue" in his novel.
Set in Jamaica, the collaborative novel The Jacob Ladder is also geared for a young-adult readership. Based on coauthor Hinds's childhood, the work is set in the 1960s and narrated by a boy named Tall T. He reveals his troubled home life, with a father who gambles, drinks, and eventually abandons the family for a neighbor woman. Because Tall T cannot afford the uniform required to attend school, he spends his days at the local library, where a kindly librarian teaches him how to read. When his father offers him a chance to participate in a local festival in one of its coveted musician spots, Tall T is tempted by the offer. The biblical story of Jacob's ladder is like the cliff Tall T climbs in order to think about what he should do. School Library Journal reviewer Ellen Vevier found The Jacob Ladder "a compelling and vibrant book that will give young readers a real look into the Jamaica behind the postcard and cruise-ship images." Hazel Rochman, writing in Booklist, termed it "a harsh story of poverty and betrayal. It's also about family love and faith."
Hausman's collaborations frequently involve his wife, and focus on the couple's joint interest in animals and folklore. The Mythology of Dogs: Canine Legend and Lore through the Ages is a collection of seventy folk tales, facts, and true stories, arranged in alphabetical order by breed. The Mythology of Cats: Feline Legend and Lore through the Ages is arranged along similar lines. In the latter volume, the Hausmans debunk the popular association of cats with negative spiritual forces. Both Buddha and Muhammad enjoyed feline companionship, they note, and in other cultures and at other points in time cats have been revered as harbingers of good luck and good harvests, or as healers and guides. Library Journal critic Florence Scarinci called the work "an entertaining compilation."
The Hausmans gather more folktales for Dogs of Myth: Tales from around the World. The stories here are divided into categories, including the trickster dog, the enchanted hound, and the guardian animal. One tale from Africa recounts how a clever dog stole fire and brought it to his human friend, even though it meant that he forever lost the ability to bark. The Hausmans also present a Celtic legend of a miniature bloodhound, "King Herla's Hound," as well as a Norse tale that explains why the Rottweiler's growl sounds like thunder. Others borrow from Japanese and Inuit culture. A Publishers Weekly reviewer praised the work, noting that the coauthors' "storytelling flows in an unbroken, lyrical stream, right from the poetic introduction."
Cats of Myth: Tales from around the World and Horses of Myth: Tales from around the World follow the same format as Dogs of Myth. In Cats of Myth the Hausmans present an East Indian tale that explains how the cat was domesticated, recount a Japanese martial-arts fable about a temple cat and a rat, and include an afterword that discusses each of the breeds depicted. In similar fashion, Horses of Myth include stories about five amazing horses, from the Arabian Abjer to the mustang named Snail that Crow chief Many Coups often raced to victory. Booklist contributor Ilene Cooper extolled Cats of Myth as "a treat for cat lovers [and] for readers who enjoy a good folktale," while Booklist reviewer John Peters dubbed Horses of Myth a "world-spanning set of horse stories, each one retold in an idiom evocative of its origins." Regarding the Hausmans' other foray into feline history, The Metaphysical Cat: Tales of Cats and Their Humans, a Publishers Weekly critic concluded that "anyone believing that cats live in another dimension will relish" the work.
"As a storyteller, I have always believed that the written word comes from the oral tradition," Hausman explained to SATA. "Therefore, my narrators are always talkers. When I write for adults or children, I concentrate
[Image not available for copyright reasons]
on the rhythms of the words, the flow, the pattern, the beauty of sentences. Yes, I have written books of poetry. And yes, I still do.
"As a teacher in the classroom for over eighteen years I have witnessed the power of the spoken word and how, when this becomes the written word, students only lose interest in a story when the narrator doesn't sound like someone they know, or perhaps someone they might want to know. Keeping it real is an understatement.
"As an editor I have always been passionate, putting in as many years helping others get their manuscripts into print as writing books for myself. I have worked with many Native American, West Indian, and European authors. Many—and I would hope through my efforts—have gone on to successful writing careers. A number of writers I mentored have produced books that have sold widely. Some of these books are still in print after twenty years.
"As a writer I love what I do. At the age of sixty, and with some sixty books written, I am still very much in love with writing. I dance when a new book comes out. I don't believe I will ever lose sight of the fact that writing, like life, is a joyous expression, a gift that makes each day a transcendent treasure, freshly opened to the eye and ear."
Biographical and Critical Sources
Booklist, December 1, 1995, Janice Del Negro, review of Doctor Moledinky's Castle: A Hometown Tale, p. 618; February 1, 1996, Carolyn Phelan, review of Eagle Boy, p. 934; February 15, 1996, Brad Hooper, review of African-American Alphabet, p. 985; March 1, 1996, Hazel Rochman, review of Night Flight, p. 1174; October 1, 1997, Mike Tribby, review of The Kebra Nagast, p. 284; May 15, 1998, Ilene Cooper, review of The Story of Blue Elk, p. 1628; June 1, 1998, John Peters, review of Doctor Bird, p. 1754; November 1, 1999, Michael Cart, review of Dogs of Myth: Tales from around the World, p. 520; November 1, 2000, Carolyn Phelan, review of Tom Cringle: Battle on the High Seas, p. 526; December 15, 2000, Ilene Cooper, review of Cats of Myth: Tales from around the World, p. 813; May 1, 2001, Hazel Rochman, review of The Jacob Ladder, p. 1678; September 15, 2001, Roger Leslie, review of Tom Cringle: The Pirate and the Patriot, p. 222; March 1, 2003, Ed Sullivan, review of Escape from Botany Bay: The True Story of Mary Bryant, p. 1206; September 15, 2003, GraceAnne A. DeCandido, review of Castaways: Stories of Survival, p. 233; October 1, 2005, John Peters, review of Horses of Myth, p. 54; March 1, 2006, Todd Morning, review of A Mind with Wings: The Story of Henry David Thoreau, p. 79.
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, March, 2003, review of Escape from Botany Bay, p. 276; July, 2003, review of Castaways, p. 449.
Hungry Mind Review, winter, 1999, review of The Coyote Bead, p. 50.
Kirkus Reviews, November 1, 1997, review of Dogs of Myth, p. 1742; May 15, 2003, review of Castaways, p. 751; September 15, 2004, review of Napoleon and Josephine: The Sword and the Hummingbird, p. 914; September 15, 2005, review of Horses of Myth, p. 1027.
Kliatt, March, 2006, Claire Rosser, review of A Mind with Wings, p. 11.
Library Journal, October 1, 1997, L. Kriz, review of The Kebra Nagast, p. 88; July, 1998, Florence Scarinci, review of The Mythology of Cats: Feline Legend and Lore through the Ages, p. 121.
Publishers Weekly, December 18, 1995, review of Eagle Boy, p. 54; May 11, 1998, review of Doctor Bird, p. 67; November 8, 1999, review of Dogs of Myth, p. 68; September 3, 2001, review of The Metaphysical Cat, p. 82; June 9, 2003, review of Castaways, p. 54.
School Library Journal, August, 1998, Judith Gloyer, review of The Story of Blue Elk, pp. 150-151; March, 2000, Cheri Estes, review of Dogs of Myth, p. 254; November, 2000, William McLoughlin, review of Tom Cringle: Battle on the High Seas, p. 154; December, 2000, Nancy Call, review of Cats of Myth, p. 133; April, 2001, Ellen Vevier, review of The Jacob Ladder, p. 140; October, 2001, Patricia B. McGee, review of Tom Cringle: The Pirate and the Patriot, p. 160; April, 2003, Carolyn Janssen, review of Escape from Botany Bay, p. 162; June, 2003, review of Castaways, p. 161; October, 2004, Ann W. Moore, review of Napoleon and Josephine, p. 166; December, 2005, Coop Renner, review of Horses of Myth, p. 128; September, 2006, Christina Stenson-Carey, review of A Mind with Wings, p. 208.
Tribune Books (Chicago, IL), February 9, 1997, Robert Rodi, review of The Mythology of Dogs: Canine Legend and Lore through the Ages, pp. 1, 11.
Voice of Youth Advocates, June, 2003, review of Escape from Botany Bay, p. 130; October, 2004, Cynthia Winfield, review of Napoleon and Josephine, p. 298.
Gerald Hausman Home Page,http://www.geraldhausman.com (May 15, 2007).