Trotter, Deborah W.

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Trotter, Deborah W.


Born in CA; married; children: four.


Home and office—Moraga, CA.




How Do You Know?, illustrated by Julie Downing, Clarion Books (New York, NY), 2006.

A Summer's Trade/Shiigo Na'iini', Navajo translation by Lorraine Begay Manavi, illustrated by Irving Toddy, Salina Bookshelf (Flagstaff, AZ), 2007.


California author Deborah W. Trotter has loved reading since childhood, but she did not turn to writing until after the birth of her fourth child. Trotter's first picture book, How Do You Know?, follows a young girl named Polly as she awakes to discover that a thick fog has blanketed the land around her home, making everything strangely unfamiliar. A walk with her mother into this strange misty world prompts discussions of questions such as how someone knows that a thing exists if that thing cannot be seen. In her story, Trotter makes a unique connection between fog and the concept of faith, as Martha Simpson noted in her School Library Journal review. Ilene Cooper, citing this same connection in her review for Booklist, remarked that the author successfully describes "a bit of natural phenomenon and then link[s] … it to emotions." A Kirkus Reviews critic deemed How Do You Know? a "heartwarming look at the bond between an inspiring mother and her child," and Simpson made special note of Julie Downing's "lovely" watercolor illustrations, which accompany Trotter's text.

Written for older children, Trotter's A Summer's Trade/Shiigo Na'iini' focuses on Tony, a Navajo boy who works in a New Mexico trading post. The son of a rancher, Tony hopes to save enough money to buy his own saddle, so that he can help his father round up the family's sheep and goats on horseback. When his grandmother goes to desperate lengths to acquire muchneeded cash and then becomes ill, Tony has to decide whether to continue to save toward his goal of a saddle or use his savings to help the elderly woman. Told in a parallel English and Navajo text and illustrated by Navajo artist Irving Toddy, Trotter's story "has a quiet dignity that makes Tony's actions all the more poignant," in the opinion of School Library Journal contributor Joy Fleishhacker.

Biographical and Critical Sources


Booklist, December 15, 2006, Ilene Cooper, review of How Do You Know?, p. 52.

Boy's Quest, February-March, 2005, review of Full House, p. 40.

Kirkus Reviews, October 15, 2006, review of How Do You Know?, p. 1080.

School Library Journal, November, 2006, Martha Simpson, review of How Do You Know?, p. 114; September, 2007, Joy Fleishhacker, review of A Summer's Trade, p. 177.