Roth, Julie Jersild

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Roth, Julie Jersild

Personal

Born in WI; married; children: two. Education: University of Minnesota, B.A. (fine arts and art history). Hobbies and other interests: Knitting, travel, gardening, painting.

Addresses

Home and office—Minneapolis, MN. E-mail—[email protected]

Career

Author, illustrator, and artist.

Writings

(And illustrator) Knitting Nell, Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 2006.

Sidelights

While growing up in Wisconsin, Julie Jersild Roth found many ways to express her creative side: dancing, writing poetry and songs, and drawing. In her picture-book debut, Knitting Nell, she combines many of these creative endeavors, and also shares her enthusiasm for the spirit and energy guiding the women in her neighborhood knitting group, who managed to keep up with knitting assignments despite their busy lives. "I started imagining how they could accomplish [so many] … things," Roth noted on her home page. "Do they knit while walking the dog? Do they knit in the bathtub? I decided to explore this with a little character … Nell."

In Knitting Nell a shy young girl enjoys knitting for her family, friends, and especially for charities that can use baby blankets, warm mittens, and scarves. Although a run-in with a school bully who teased the girl about her voice has left Nell reticent, she gains a boost in confidence when a special knitting project, a sweater, wins first prize at the local county fair. Soon Nell is talking freely, and teaching her skill to others as well. In Booklist Ilene Cooper cited Roth's ability to focus "in on common kid traits such as shyness and a propensity to help others," and added that "the story is illustrated with spunk and charm." Linda Staskus, reviewing Knitting Nell for School Library Journal, wrote that with its "soft and bright" art, Roth's self-illustrated picture book will be especially useful to children like Nell, who deal with shyness, while a Kirkus Reviews writer wrote that the heroine's "unusual tenacity and generous way of coping with a bully add enlightenment to an all-too-common occurrence in children's lives.

Biographical and Critical Sources

PERIODICALS

Booklist, September 1, 2006, Ilene Cooper, review of Knitting Nell, p. 140.

Kirkus Reviews, June 15, 2006, review of Knitting Nell, p. 637.

School Library Journal, July, 2006, Linda Staskus, review of Knitting Nell, p. 86.

ONLINE

Houghton Mifflin Web site,http://www.houghtonmifflinbooks.com/ (May 15, 2007).

Julie Jersild Roth Home Page,http://www.juliejersildroth.com (May 15, 2007).