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Jean Fritz

Jean Fritz

"The question I am most often asked," Jean Fritz says, "is how do I find my ideas? The answer is: I don't. Ideas find me. A character in history will suddenly step right out of the past and demand a book. Generally people don't bother to speak to me unless there's a good chance that I'll take them on." Throughout almost four decades of writing about history, Jean Fritz has taken on plenty of people, starting with George Washington in The Cabin Faced West (1958). Since then, her refreshingly informal historical biographies for children have been widely acclaimed as "unconventional," "good-humored," "witty," "irrepressible," and "extraordinary."

In her role as biographer, Jean Fritz researches the past like a journalist, attempting to uncover the adventures and personalities behind each character featured in her books. "Once my character and I have reached an understanding," she explains, "then I begin the detective work—reading old books, old letters, old newspapers, and visiting the places where my subject lived. Often I turn up surprises and of course I pass these on."

"History is full of gossip; it's real people and emotion," says Fritz, who is especially interested in the quirks of people who shaped the past. It is this penchant for making distant historical figures seem real that brings the characters to life and makes the biographies entertaining, informative, and filled with natural appeal.

In her biographies, Jean Fritz never invents dialogue. Instead, she draws on real letters, diaries, and journals, using only words actually spoken or written. This practice can make writing scenes and conversations difficult, but Fritz feels it keeps her writing true to the people involved.

Until she was twelve years old, Fritz and her family lived in China, where she relied on stories and writing to ease her loneliness. In those early years she kept a journal to record her feelings about people and life. When she grew up, she held a number of jobs that involved writing. She also tried to get some of her children's stories published, at first with little success. Eventually she worked as a children's librarian for two years, gaining a deeper understanding of the craft of writing for children. She began sending her stories out again, and this time they began to be published. That was nearly fifty years ago, and Fritz's writing career is still going strong!

An original and lively thinker, as well as an inspiration to children and adults, Jean Fritz is undeniably a master of her craft. She was awarded the Regina Medal by the Catholic Library Association, presented with the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award by the American Library Association for her "substantial and lasting contribution to children's literature," and honored with the Knickerbocker Award for Juvenile Literature, which was presented by the New York State Library Association for her body of work.

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44 Items found
And Then What Happened, Paul Revere?
by Jean Fritz & Margot Tomes
from PaperStar Books
Biography for 2nd-4th grade
in American Revolution (1765-1783) (Location: B01-09C)
$5.94 $3.50 (1 in stock)
And Then What Happened, Paul Revere?
by Jean Fritz
from Penguin Putnam
for 2nd-4th grade
in American Revolution (1765-1783) (Location: B01-09C)
$3.50 (1 in stock)
Around the World in a Hundred Years
by Jean Fritz
from Penguin Putnam
Biography for 2nd-5th grade
in Exploration (1450-1900) (Location: B01-05A)
Brady
by Jean Fritz
from Puffin Books
for 4th-6th grade
in Historical Fiction (Location: A05-01A)
Bully For You, Teddy Roosevelt
by Jean Fritz
from Scholastic Inc.
Biography for 5th-8th grade
in Biographies (Location: A12-01A)
$2.50 (1 in stock)
Bully for You, Teddy Roosevelt!
by Jean Fritz
from Scholastic Inc.
Biography for 5th-8th grade
in Clearance: Biographies (Location: A12-05)
$2.00 (1 in stock)
Bully for You, Teddy Roosevelt!
by Jean Fritz
from PaperStar Books
Biography for 5th-8th grade
in Biographies (Location: A12-01A)
$6.99
Cabin Faced West
by Jean Fritz
from Puffin Books
Historical fiction for 4th-6th grade
in Realistic Fiction (Location: A09-01A)
$5.94 $2.80 (1 in stock)
Can't You Make Them Behave, King George?
by Jean Fritz
from PaperStar Books
for 4th-6th grade
in American Revolution (1765-1783) (Location: B01-09C)
$6.99 $4.50 (3 in stock)
Early Thunder
by Jean Fritz
from Puffin Books
for 4th-8th grade
in Historical Fiction (Location: A05-01A)
$5.94
George Washington's Breakfast
by Jean Fritz
from Coward McCann
for 2nd-4th grade
in American Revolution (1765-1783) (Location: B01-09C)
$3.00 (1 in stock)
George Washington's Breakfast
by Jean Fritz
from PaperStar Books
Biography for 1st-4th grade
in American Revolution (1765-1783) (Location: B01-09C)
$5.94
Great Little Madison
by Jean Fritz
from PaperStar Books
Biography for 5th-8th grade
in Biographies (Location: A12-01A)
$5.94
Great Little Madison
by Jean Fritz
from Scholastic Inc.
Biography for 5th-8th grade
in Biographies (Location: A12-01A)
$3.50 (1 in stock)
Harriet Beecher Stowe and the Beecher Preachers
by Jean Fritz
from PaperStar Books
Biography for 5th-8th grade
in Biographies (Location: A12-01A)
$6.99
Homesick: My Own Story
by Jean Fritz
from PaperStar Books
Autobiography for 4th-8th grade
1983 Newbery Honor Book
in Biographies (Location: A12-01A)
$5.94 $4.00 (2 in stock)
Homesick: My Own Story
by Jean Fritz
from Penguin Putnam
for 4th-8th grade
$4.00 (1 in stock)
Just a Few Words, Mr. Lincoln
An All Aboard Reading Reader Level 4
by Jean Fritz
from Grosset & Dunlap
for 2nd-3rd grade
Leonardo's Horse
by Jean Fritz & Hudson Talbott
from Putnam Juvenile
for 3rd-5th grade
in Renaissance & Reformation (Location: B02-04D)
$12.00 (1 in stock)
Lost Colony of Roanoke
by Jean Fritz
from Putnam Juvenile
for 2nd-6th grade
in Colonial America (1690-1765) (Location: B01-09A)
$16.00
Make Way for Sam Houston
by Jean Fritz
from Penguin Putnam
for 3rd-6th grade
in Biographies (Location: A12-01A)
$6.99
Shh! We're Writing the Constitution
by Jean Fritz
from Scholastic Inc.
for ages 9-12
in New Nation (1783-1800) (Location: B01-10D)
$2.00 (1 in stock)
Shh! We're Writing the Constitution!
by Jean Fritz
from PaperStar Books
Historical Fiction for 2nd-4th grade
in New Nation (1783-1800) (Location: B01-10D)
$5.94 $4.50 (1 in stock)
So Far From the Bamboo Grove
by Yoko Kawashima Watkins
Historical fiction for 4th-8th grade
in Historical Fiction (Location: A05-01A)
$5.09
Stonewall
by Jean Fritz & Stephen Gammell
from PaperStar Books
Biography for 5th-8th grade
in Biographies (Location: A12-01A)
$6.99 $3.50 (1 in stock)
Traitor: The Case of Benedict Arnold
by Jean Fritz
from PaperStar Books
Biography for 5th-8th grade
in Biographies (Location: A12-01A)
$5.94 $3.50 (1 in stock)
What's the Big Idea Ben Franklin?
by Jean Fritz
from Scholastic Inc.
for 4th-6th grade
in New Nation (1783-1800) (Location: B01-10D)
What's the Big Idea, Ben Franklin?
by Jean Fritz
from PaperStar Books
for 4th-6th grade
in New Nation (1783-1800) (Location: B01-10D)
$5.94 $3.50 (2 in stock)
Where Do You Think You Are Going, Christopher Columbus?
by Jean Fritz
from Penguin Putnam
for 4th-6th grade
in Exploration (1450-1900) (Location: B01-05A)
$4.50 (2 in stock)
Where Do You Think You're Going, Christopher Columbus?
by Jean Fritz
childrens book from Putnam Juvenile
for 2nd-4th grade
in Exploration (1450-1900) (Location: B01-05A)
$8.00 (1 in stock)
Where Do You Think You're Going, Christopher Columbus?
by Jean Fritz
from Putnam Juvenile
for 2nd-4th grade
in Exploration (1450-1900) (Location: B01-05A)
$3.50 (1 in stock)
Where Was Patrick Henry on the 29th of May?
by Jean Fritz & Margot Tomes
from PaperStar Books
Biography for 2nd-4th grade
in American Revolution (1765-1783) (Location: B01-09C)
$6.99
Where Was Patrick Henry on the 29th of May?
by Jean Fritz & Margot Tomes
from Coward McCann
Biography for 2nd-4th grade
in American Revolution (1765-1783) (Location: B01-09C)
$3.50 (2 in stock)
Where Was Patrick Henry on the 29th of May?
by Jean Fritz
from Scholastic Inc.
for 2nd-4th grade
in American Revolution (1765-1783) (Location: B01-09C)
$2.50 (1 in stock)
Who's That Stepping on Plymouth Rock?
from PaperStar Books
in Pilgrims at Plymouth (Location: B01-08B)
$6.99 $4.50 (2 in stock)
Who's that Stepping On Plymouth Rock?
by Jean Fritz
from Scholastic Inc.
for 3rd-5th grade
in Pilgrims at Plymouth (Location: B01-08B)
$1.50 (1 in stock)
Why Don't You Get a Horse, Sam Adams?
by Jean Fritz
from PaperStar Books
Biography for 2nd-4th grade
in American Revolution (1765-1783) (Location: B01-09C)
$6.99
Why Don't You Get a Horse, Sam Adams?
by Jean Fritz
from Scholastic Inc.
Biography for 2nd-4th grade
in American Revolution (1765-1783) (Location: B01-09C)
$2.00 (1 in stock)
Why Not, Lafayette?
by Jean Fritz
from Putnam Juvenile
for 4th-6th grade
in American Revolution (1765-1783) (Location: B01-09C)
$6.99
Why Not, Lafayette?
by Jean Fritz
1st edition from Putnam Juvenile
for 4th-6th grade
in Biographies (Location: A12-01A)
$6.00 (1 in stock)
Will You Sign Here, John Hancock?
by Jean Fritz
from Scholastic Inc.
Biography for 2nd-4th grade
in American Revolution (1765-1783) (Location: B01-09C)
$2.00 (3 in stock)
Will You Sign Here, John Hancock?
by Jean Fritz
from PaperStar Books
Biography for 2nd-4th grade
in American Revolution (1765-1783) (Location: B01-09C)
$6.99
Will You Sign Here, John Hancock?
by Jean Fritz
from Coward McCann
for 4th-6th grade
in American Revolution (1765-1783) (Location: B01-09C)
$3.50 (1 in stock)
You Want Women to Vote, Lizzie Stanton?
by Jean Fritz
from Penguin Putnam
for 4th-6th grade
in 19th Century America (Location: B01-11C)
$5.94