Lange, Karen E.
Lange, Karen E.
Born in CT; married; husband a librarian; children: two. Education: College degree (archaeology).
Home—Tacoma Park, MD. E-mail—[email protected]
Journalist and author. Formerly worked as a reporter for a daily newspaper; National Geographic, Washington, DC, staff writer.
Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, Authors Guild, Authors League.
1607: A New Look at Jamestown, photographs by Ira Block, National Geographic (Washington, DC), 2007.
Karen E. Lange traveled to Liberia as a Peace Corps volunteer and returned to Africa in her work as a journalist. As a staff writer for National Geographic, Lange has continued her travels, visiting the Middle East and other regions of the globe while researching her article assignments. Some writing assignments for the prestigious magazine have found Lange closer to home, including the assignment that brought her to the site of the Jamestown colony and ultimately inspired her first children's book.
In 1607: A New Look at Jamestown Lange presents the history of North America' first colony as revealed by archeological and other historic evidence. Jamestown has fascinated scholars for generations because of the mysterious fate of the first colonists to land there. Led by Captain John Smith with the mission of settling in Virginia and find a water route to Asia, 104 English citizens landed near the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay in May of 1607, built a fort, and then found themselves under attack by the native Algonquian. Less than half the colonists survived the first winter, but Smith's leadership helped maintain the colony's vigor. Unfortunately, despite efforts to bridge native-colonist conflicts, by 1624 most of the original colonists had perished. While the reason for these many fatalities has long remained a mystery, archaeological discoveries in the mid-1990s uncovered answers to many questions about Jamestown. In her text, Lange balances her perspective, showing events from the point of view of both the Algonquian and the colonists. She includes information gained in interviews with archeologists, National Geographic historian Dr. William Kelso, and site curator Bly Straube, her informative account illustrated with photographs by Ira Block. 1607 "offers a fascinating look at archaeology in action," according to Lucinda Snyder Whitehurst, the critic adding in her School Library Journal review that Lange's "engaging, and informative" text features "varying perspectives" that illustrate the region's shifting social dynamics. Noting that Lange "tackles some [of the] controversy" surrounding Jamestown's history, Booklist contributor Carolyn Phelan also called 1607 "a forthright narrative."
Biographical and Critical Sources
Booklist, December 1, 2006, Carolyn Phelan, review of 1607: A New Look at Jamestown, p. 40.
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, March, 2007, review of 1607, p. 299.
School Library Journal, January, 2007, Lucinda Snyder Whitehurst, review of 1607, p. 151.
Embracing the Child Web site,http://www.embracingthechild.org/ (January 1, 2007), Karen E. Lange.
Karen E. Lange Home Page,http://www.karenlange.com (May 5, 2008).
National Geographic Online,http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/ (September 1, 2007), "Field Notes: Karen E. Lange."