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Doreen Rappaport - book author

Doreen Rappaport has written many books of fiction and nonfiction for young readers, specializing in thoroughly researched multicultural history, historical fiction, retellings of folktales and myths, and stories of those she calls the "not-yet-celebrated." Among her recent books is Martin's Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., illustrated by Bryan Collier, which received a Caldecott Honor Award and a Coretta Scott King Honor Award for illustration. Doreen Rappaport divides her time between New York City and a rural village in upstate New York.

Doreen Rappaport is the author of books: Martin's Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Helen's Big World: The Life of Helen Keller, Abe's Honest Words: The Life of Abraham Lincoln, Beyond Courage: The Untold Story of Jewish Resistance During the Holocaust, Eleanor, Quiet No More, To Dare Mighty Things: The Life of Theodore Roosevelt, 42 Is Not Just a Number: The Odyssey of Jackie Robinson, American Hero, Elizabeth Started All the Trouble, Frederick's Journey: The Life of Frederick Douglass, Lady Liberty

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01
The Barnes & Noble Review
Acclaimed author Doreen Rappaport and Coretta Scott King Award winner Bryan Collier, who previously collaborated on Freedom River , have pooled their talents yet again in a stunning tribute to civil rights activist Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. An extraordinary picture-book biography, Martin's Big Words consists of Rappaport's own words interwoven with quotes from Dr. King...all powerfully brought to life by Collier's striking, glorious art.

Rappaport's spare, gripping text and Collier's distinctive collage-and-watercolor illustrations depict King's life journey with reverence and dignity -- beginning with his childhood experience of seeing "White Only" signs throughout his hometown, presenting his efforts as a civil rights crusader, and ending abruptly with his assassination. The front cover of the book immediately conveys King's power and spiritual strength, consisting entirely of a lifelike portrait of him -- the title and the author's and illustrator's names are relegated to the back cover. As Collier says in his illustrator's note, he "tried to push [the imagery] to an emotional level that allows the reader to bring his or her own experience to it, without actually losing the intensity or the intention of the story." His technique is utterly effective.

By using simple, direct language -- much of it King's -- the text offers young readers an accessible yet profound introduction to King's legacy. It explains that as a child, he listened to his minister father's "big words" and vowed to inspire others with such words when he grew up. The book's final sentence: "His big words are alive for us today," testifies to King's success -- and to the timeless importance of this great leader's ideals. As further inspiration for interested readers, Martin's Big Words includes a list of significant dates as well as a bibliography of resources for them to explore. (Jamie Levine)
02
This picturebook biography is an excellent and accessible introduction for young readers to learn about one of the world's most influential luminaries. With her signature style of prose laced with stirring quotes, Doreen Rappaport brings to life Helen Keller's poignant narrative. Acclaimed illustrator Matt Tavares beautifully captures the dynamism and verve of Helen Keller's life and legacy, making "Helen's Big World" an unforgettable portrait of a woman whose vision for innovation and progress changed America--and the world--forever.
03
From the time he was a young boy roaming the forests of the unsettled Midwest, Abraham Lincoln knew in his heart that slavery was deeply wrong. A voracious reader, Lincoln spent every spare moment of his days filling his mind with knowledge, from history to literature to mathematics, preparing himself to one day lead the country he loved towards greater equality and prosperity.

Despite the obstacles he faced as a self-educated man from the back woods, Lincoln persevered in his political career, and his compassion and honesty gradually earned him the trust of many Americans. As president, he guided the nation through a long and bitter civil war and penned the document that would lead to the end of slavery in the United States.

The passion for humanity that defined Lincoln's life shines through in this momentous follow-up to Martin's Big Words and John's Secret Dreams. Told in Doreen Rappaport's accessible, absorbing prose, and brought to life in powerful illustrations by Kadir Nelson, Abe's Honest Words is an epic portrait of a truly great American president.
04
In a stirring chronicle, Doreen Rappaport brings to light the courage of countless Jews who organized to sabotage the Nazis and help other Jews during the Holocaust.

Under the noses of the military, Georges Loinger smuggles thousands of children out of occupied France into Switzerland. In Belgium, three resisters ambush a train, allowing scores of Jews to flee from the cattle cars. In Poland, four brothers lead more than 1,200 ghetto refugees into the forest to build a guerilla force and self-sufficient village. And twelve-year-old Motele Shlayan entertains German officers with his violin moments before setting off a bomb. Through twenty-one meticulously researched accounts — some chronicled in book form for the first time — Doreen Rappaport illuminates the defiance of tens of thousands of Jews across eleven Nazi-occupied countries during World War II. In answer to the genocidal madness that was Hitler’s Holocaust, the only response they could abide was resistance, and their greatest weapons were courage, ingenuity, the will to survive, and the resolve to save others or to die trying.
Extensive end matter includes:
- timeline of important events
- index
- pronunciation guide
- source notes
- maps integrated throughout text
05
Eleanor Roosevelt was raised in a privileged but stern Victorian household, with an affectionate but mostly absent father and a critical mother who made fun of her daughter's looks. Alone and lonely for much of her childhood, Eleanor found solace in books and in the life of her lively and independent mind. Her intellectual gifts and compassionate heart won her the admiration of many friends—and the love of her future husband, Franklin Delano Roosevelt. While other young women of her class were spending time at dances and parties, Eleanor devoted her energies to teaching children in New York City's poorest neighborhoods. Later, she became the most socially and politically active—and controversial—First Lady America had ever seen. Ambassador, activist, and champion of civil rights, Eleanor Roosevelt changed the soul of America forever.

In her eloquent prose, Doreen Rappaport captures the essence of Eleanor's character and the deep significance of her legacy. With beautiful paintings by Gary Kelley and selections from Eleanor's own writings, Eleanor's Big Words is an extraordinary tribute to an extraordinary American.
06
President Theodore Roosevelt is known as "the man with a plan," the "rough rider." His figure stands tall in American history; his legacy stretching him to larger-than-life proportions.

But before his rise to fame, he was just "Teedie," a boy with ambitious dreams to change the world, and the conviction to see his stupendous imaginings brought to fruition.

As an American president, he left an impressive mark upon his country. He promised a "square deal" to all citizens, he tamed big businesses, and protected the nation's wildlife and natural beauty. His fearless leadership assured that he would always be remembered, and his robust spirit now dares others to do mighty things.

In her moving picture book portrait, award-winning author Doreen Rappaport uses her well-honed approach of personal quotes and vivid prose to spin together the tale of a sickly boy who became a monumental man. Coupled with C. F. Payne's dramatic artwork, the story of President Teddy, touchstone of American history, is brought to life.
07
An eye-opening look at the life and legacy of Jackie Robinson, the man who broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball and became an American hero.

Baseball, basketball, football -- no matter the game, Jackie Robinson excelled. His talents would have easily landed another man a career in pro sports, but such opportunities were closed to athletes like Jackie for one reason: his skin was the wrong color. Settling for playing baseball in the Negro Leagues, Jackie chafed at the inability to prove himself where it mattered most: the major leagues. Then in 1946, Branch Rickey, manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers, recruited Jackie Robinson. Jackie faced cruel and sometimes violent hatred and discrimination, but he proved himself again and again, exhibiting courage, determination, restraint, and a phenomenal ability to play the game. In this compelling biography, award-winning author Doreen Rappaport chronicles the extraordinary life of Jackie Robinson and how his achievements won over -- and changed -- a segregated nation.
08
She couldn't go to college.

She couldn't become a politician.

She couldn't even vote.

But Elizabeth Cady Stanton didn't let that stop her.

She called on women across the nation to stand together and demand to be treated as equal to men-and that included the right to vote. It took nearly seventy-five years and generations of women fighting for their rights through words, through action, and through pure determination . . . for things to slowly begin to change.

With the help of these trailblazers' own words, Doreen Rappaport's engaging text, brought to life by Matt Faulkner's vibrant illustrations, shows readers just how far this revolution has come, and inspires them to keep it going!
09
Frederick Douglass was born a slave. He was taken from his mother as a baby, and separated from his grandparents when he was six. He suffered hunger and abuse, but miraculously, he learned how to read. Frederick read newspapers left in the street, and secretly collected spellings from neighborhood children. Words, he knew, would set him free. When Frederick was twenty, he escaped to the North, where he spread his abolitionist beliefs through newspaper articles, autobiographies, and speeches. He believed that all people-regardless of color or gender-were entitled to equal rights. It is Douglass's words, as well as his life, that still provide hope and inspiration across generations.

In this installment of the critically acclaimed Big Words series, Doreen Rappaport captures Frederick's journey from boy to man, from slavery to freedom, by weaving Frederick's powerful words with her own. London Ladd's strong and evocative illustrations combine with the text to create a moving portrait of an extraordinary life.


Praise for the Big Words series:


Martin's Big Words
* 2002 Caldecott Honor Book
* 2002 Coretta Scott King Honor Book
* Child Magazine Best Book of 2001
* New York Times Book Review Best Illustrated Children's Book of 2001

* "A stunning, reverent tribute."
-School Library Journal, starred review

Abe's Honest Words
* "Exceptional art, along with Rappaport's and Lincoln's words, makes this a fine celebration of a man who needs little introduction."
-Booklist, starred review



Eleanor, Quiet No More
* "Once again Rappaport celebrates a noble, heroic life in powerful, succinct prose, with prominent, well-chosen, and judiciously placed quotes that both instruct and inspire...Celebrate women in history and in politics with this picture-book life."
-School Library Journal, starred review


Helen's Big World
* "Stirring and awe-inspiring."
-The Horn Book, starred review

To Dare Mighty Things
* "[T]his lavish picture-book biography deftly captures the legendary man's bold, exuberant nature. . . . A truly inspiring tribute to a seemingly larger-than-life U.S. president."
-Kirkus Reviews, starred review

* "Theodore Roosevelt's big ideas and big personality come together in this splendid picture-book biography."
-Booklist, starred review

* "Concisely written and yet poetic, this is a first purchase for every library."
-School Library Journal, starred review
10
A powerfully moving, authentic portrait of the Statue of Liberty, told through the eyes of those who created her and illustrated in glorious detail.

"Soon America will be one hundred years old. I share my dream of a birthday gift."

It begins in 1865 as a romantic idea, but ten years later Edouard Laboulaye's dream catches fire and takes shape. Sculptor Auguste Bartholdi gives the dream the form of a lady, holding a torch to "enlighten the world." Engineers, plasterers, carpenters, coppersmiths -- many of them immigrants -- work together to turn the lady into a monument over 100 feet tall. Joseph Pulitzer calls on readers to help fund a pedestal, and hundreds send in nickels, dimes, and even roosters for the cause. Doreen Rappaport's historically accurate, poetic vignettes and Matt Tavares's magnificent images remind us of the true origins of a national symbol -- and show that it took a lot of people to make the Lady.
Back matter includes statue dimensions, a time line, an author note, an illustrator note, sources, and suggestions for further reading.