Yoder, Carolyn P(atricia) 1953-
YODER, Carolyn P(atricia) 1953-
Born July 2, 1953, in Greenwich, CT; daughter of R. Wayne (a businessman) and Kathryn M. (a teacher) Yoder. Education: Washington University, B.A.; University of Iowa, M.A.
Home— 44 Sycamore Ct., Lawrenceville, NJ 08648. E-mail— [email protected]
Lexington Books, Lexington, MA, editorial assistant, 1979-81; International Human Resources Development Corporation, Boston, MA, production editor and publications assistant, 1981-83; Cobblestone Publishing, Inc., Peterborough, NH, editor, 1983-84, editor-in-chief, 1984-94, assistant publisher, 1994-96; New England College, Henniker, NH, part-time writing tutor, 1996-99; New Hampshire Antiquarian Society, Hopkinton, NH, executive director, 1996-99. Young Writer's Contest Foundation, finalist judge; New Hampshire Writers' Project, board of trustees, 1989-92; National Assessment of Education Progress, U.S. History Assessment, steering committee member, 1994; Highlights Foundation Writers Workshop, faculty, 1994-2003; Hopkinton Independent School, board of trustees, 1998-99; Highlights Foundation Workshops for Professional Children's Writers and Illustrators, 2001—.
Educational Press Association of America (secretary, 1993-95); Friends of the H. Raymond Danforth Library, New England College (board of trustees, 1996-99; chair of the Annual Children's Essay and Art Contest and Conference, 1996-99; vice president, 1998-99).
Educational Press Association of America award for one-theme issue, 1991, for Faces issue on the Iroquois; Golden Lamp Honor Award, Educational Press Association of America, 1991, for Cobblestone; George Washington Honor Medal, Freedoms Foundation, 1992, for Cobblestone; Magazine Merit Award Honor Certificate (nonfiction category), Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, 1998, for editorship; Distinguished Achievement Award, Print Publications: Periodicals, News Story (children's category), Association of Educational Publishers, 2002, for editorship; Parents' Choice magazine awards, for Cobblestone, Faces, Calliope, and Odyssey.
(Editor and compiler) George Washington, George Washington: The Writer: A Treasury of Letters, Diaries, and Public Documents, Boyds Mills Press (Honesdale, PA), 2003.
Asian Indian Americans, Heinemann Library (Chicago, IL), 2003.
Filipino Americans, Heinemann Library (Chicago, IL), 2003.
Italian Americans, Heinemann Library (Chicago, IL), 2003.
Faces magazine, editor, 1984-86; Stories (the literary supplement to Highlights magazine), editor, 1996-98; Highlights magazine, senior editor of history and world cultures, 1997—; Jersey Journeys (the student publication of The New Jersey Historical Society), writer and editor, 2000—. Contributor to periodicals, including National Geographic WORLD, Civil War Book Review, and the Children's Writer Guides.
Work in Progress
Another volume in the "Writer" series for Boyds Mills Press (Honesdale, PA).
Carolyn P. Yoder had been writing about history in children's periodicals for two decades before she edited and compiled George Washington: The Writer: A Treasury of Letters, Diaries, and Public Documents in 2003. That book reflects "a unique approach" to biography, according to Lana Miles in School Library Journal, and through it "Washington's opinions, thoughts, and personality are vividly portrayed." In George Washington: The Writer, Yoder collects excerpts from Washington's public and private writings, dating from his early career as an officer in the Colonial army, through his commandership of the American armies during the Revolutionary War and his service as the first president of the United States, to his retirement at his estate, Mount Vernon. It ends with the entry he wrote in his journal the night before he died, in 1799. The excerpts are arranged chronologically, and Yoder opens each section with a brief explanation of where Washington was and what he was doing at that time. Those explanations, and Yoder's initial overview of Washington's life, are "very helpful in understanding the writings in the context of Washington's life and times," remarked Carolyn Phelan in Booklist.
Yoder told SATA: "When I was younger, history was definitely not my favorite subject. It usually involved too much reading and too many facts. It also usually dealt with people I didn't really care to know. When I got to Stuart Country Day School in my junior year of high school, all that changed. History became exciting. It was no longer about dry facts and figures but about stories—the lives of men, women, and children, some well known and some not so well known.
"Throughout college, I pursued stories about the past, taking all kinds of history classes—the history of science, art, and architecture as well as just plain history. I was also drawn to biographies and memoirs. After graduation from Washington University, I stayed in St. Louis to help a woman write her life story. I decided then that history and writing weren't bad ways to make a living. I then went on to graduate school in Iowa where I studied literature and writing. After two jobs learning all I could about the publishing business, I landed at Cobblestone Publishing, where I was able to combine my love of history and writing. At that time, Cobblestone published two magazines on history: American and classical. It was an added bonus that they were for kids, ages eight to fourteen.
"When I talked to kids about history, I always hit a brick wall. They were too turned off by dry facts and too much reading in textbooks. My work became a challenge: to get kids interested in history, to convince them that history is all about really good stories. That history can be about them, their families, and their ancestors! After leaving Cobblestone, I pursued work that dealt with history and children. I directed the New Hampshire Antiquarian Society that ran programs for kids (everything from teas to contests to field trips) and edited and wrote history articles for kids.
"When I moved back to Princeton, New Jersey, four years ago, I continued bringing history to kids. I write Jersey Journeys, the student publication of The New Jersey Historical Society that deals with broad New Jersey themes and encourages kids to know their state a bit better. By also highlighting the Society's artifacts and papers, it also points out that museums can be fun places to learn.
"I also edit history for Highlights magazine and spend most of my free time on writing projects. The one I'm most excited about was published in February, 2003. Written for grades six and up, George Washington: The Writer is a collection of his letters, diaries, and public documents. By reading Washington's words, kids will be introduced to a man who was not superhuman but someone dedicated to family, friends, home, and the country he helped shape—someone who they can relate to and would want to know."
Biographical and Critical Sources
Booklist, March 15, 2003, Carolyn Phelan, review of George Washington: The Writer: A Treasury of Letters, Diaries, and Public Documents, p. 1316.