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Jane Yolen

Jane Yolen: An Author Page

Jane Yolen

Two (or more) sides to Everyone

Jane Yolen Fast Fact biography  Pjs  10 Yolen Favorites in no particular order:

My view of Jane Yolen begins where it began for me. In the very early 1980s I considered the YA genre as one I wanted to pursue in my own writing. An in-depth study of the field at that time showed me that there are crossover fields in fiction that tie the adult world and the childrens world together and these works can be called adult fiction or YA depending on the content of the story. The first two crossover writers I looked at were Andre Norton and Jane Yolen. Both were women writing in Science Fiction and Fantasy. Both believed women to be strong as women, not as carbon-copy men. They did not take a female character and put her into a male role. It was so much more than that, which is why their work meant so much to me. But the focus of this study is Jane Yolen. Like her own book list, I began with her adult works.

From Briar Rose to Sister Light Sister Dark and White Jenna, her characterizations of women stand out as women with strong characters. The kind we see every day. The kind we know exist, but are rarely if ever spoken about. Jane Yolen was a writer who came along in a time that was much more willing to look at women as actual human beings, and her work was sorely needed. She is not the first by any stretch of the imagination, but of  writers working during and after a womens movement, she is one of the working writers connecting with todays children. I believe this is very important. Her work has the power to challenge young women to look at the realities of what they know to be true and trust them despite what they are told about themselves.

I was so interested in Yolen as a working writer I began to look at more of her work. Since my favorite genre is fantasy I looked and most of her works and read many of the ones I looked at over time.  I will always be a fan of Owl Moon, and it looks like I am not alone in that. Yolen speaks highly of this picture book as well. 

http://www.janeyolen.com/blurbs/owlm2.html

http://www.janeyolen.com/auxiliary/owlmchars2.html

 

Heidi Stemple

The Girl in Owl Moon

 

While I dont have a fondness for fairy-tales, Yolen makes them more palatable for someone who has always wanted stories of women that feel right, that feel like the characters are women in ways that I and many others know women to exist.

 In terms of fantasy her books on fantasy and magic are most delightful to read whether they are picture books like

 The Witch Who Wasnt     http://www.janeyolen.com/blurbs/witchww2.html  

 or the Tartan Magic series of middle grade books that includes: The Wizards Map as the first story in the trilogy, The Pictish Child, and The Bagpipers Ghost. One firm belief I hold about writers is that the author is always in the text, no matter what they write, and by knowing a little more about a writer, you can sometimes catch a glimpse of why a work was written, where the author was coming from, and the forces that push an individual to use their creativity to tell you how they feel about life. Jane Yolens life fits into her stories well. This author is definitely in her texts.

 The Tartan Magic Series includes a part of Yolens life connected to her travels to Scotland and the stories she has found mixed in with the journey of her life.

http://www.janeyolen.com/blurbs/wizardsm2.html

http://www.janeyolen.com/blurbs/pictishc2.html

http://www.janeyolen.com/blurbs/bagpipersg2.html

 The Wizards Map takes a very real historical figure (Michael Scot) surrounded by some very non-historical interpretations of a man who was a warlock and supposedly wrote so magically powerful a book that when it was found it had to be locked up physically bound to a wall of a church.

http://www.rampantscotland.com/famous/blfamwizard.htm

http://rylibweb.man.ac.uk/data2/spcoll/latin/scot.html

http://www.brown.edu/Departments/Italian_Studies/dweb/history/characters/michael_scot.shtml

 Yolens character of Michael Scot has drawn a map of  Fairburn (a made up city) and this map has some magic qualities that will affect those who live there. He lost the map and now wants it back, but the maps caretaker has given the map to someone else.  It is up to a family of children who now have the map, to figure out how they will save themselves, the city and everyone from the wickedness of this corrupt wizard.

 In the second story The Pictish Child magic is still a major player in the story. A talisman opens the door to the past, and our three heroes must change a mistake in the past in order to correct the path of the future. They meet the past in the child found in the graveyard and with her help, beat the evil  magic this time by changing what went wrong in time.

 The third story The Bagpipers Ghost highlights an interesting legend of the lady in white. Who is she? What is her story? And more important, what is her purpose? What keeps The Lady in White tied to the cemetary? Can Jennifer save Peter and still help the Lady in White? And why doesn't the piper leave? All these questions are raised in the third book of the Tartan Magic series. The magic still exists aand can perhaps be used to undo a great damage that was done in the past. This was a good story with a satisfying conclusion.

All Three books in the series focus on the twins, magic, and the strange goings on in Scotland.
 

                                                   

Tartan Magic Series Book Reviews


The Wizard's Map

http://zuckermansbarn.com/ns_details.php?Bookid=YolenJ99
Kids talk about books

http://www.worcpublib.org/collectionsservices/bookreviews.html
Worchester (Massachusetts) Public library kids page

http://www.sfsite.com/06b/map59.htm


The Pictish Child

http://www.ga.k12.pa.us/academics/ls/superreader/title/P/pictishchild.htm
SuperReader's Book Review

http://www.bookideas.com/reviews/index.cfm?fuseaction=displayReview&id=1410
Book Ideas Review

The Bagpiper's Ghost

http://www.bookideas.com/reviews/index.cfm?fuseaction=displayReview&id=1411
Book Ideas Review

http://www.sfsite.com/08b/bg134.htm
Review by Cindy Lynn Speer.
All Three
http://www.greenmanreview.com/yolen.omni.htm
greenman review

 

 Jane Yolen also writes using a realistic backdrop. Her world war II story The Devils Arithmetic is another wonderful blending of past and present. This aspect of yolens work is something I think she does very well indeed. Her lesson: We are all Heroes Here. This quote comes from an article by Yolen that includes this passage:

My mother said before she... died... that it is much harder to live this way and to die this way than to go out shooting. Much harder. Chaya, you are a hero. I am a hero." Rifka stared for a moment at the sky and the curling smoke. "We are all heroes here."

http://www.janeyolen.com/blurbs/devilsa2.html

http://www.spectacle.org/396/scifi/exper.html

Yolen concludes that this book has another lesson in it as well: that lesson of remembrance:

The Devil's Arithmetic begins with the sentence "I'm tired of remembering" and ends with the words "I remember, I remember."

A multitude of themes run rampant throughout Yolens work, and all are deserving of mention. Her focus on gender is reflected in every work. Magic crops up consistently as do fairy tales. A favorite dichotomy is light / dark inner / outer, good / bad, twins. She also focuses on relationship pairings.

Some Personal Interviews

http://www.aarp.org/bulletin/july98/interview.html

http://www.geocities.com/puckrobin/rh/yolen1.htmlInterviews In Sherwood by Allen W. Wright

http://forum.co-nect.net/forum/topicDisplay.php?topicID=166  Kids Who Read: Ask Jane Yolen

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/show-interview/y-j-olenane/104-4821692-2344731  Amazon.Com Interviews Jane Yolen

http://realitybreak.sff.net/archive/yolen.htp   Reality Break A Talk Show of Fantastic Literature. Yolen talks about the Dragons in her stories from Here There Be Dragons to the Pit Dragon Stories.

http://www.lib.rochester.edu/camelot/intrvws/yolen.htm
INTERVIEW WITH Jane Yolen by Raymond H. Thompson.

http://www.locusmag.com/1997/Issues/08/Yolen.html
Locus Online: Jane Yolen Telling Tales.
 

http://www.scifi.com/transcripts/1999/yolen.html  Scifi.com chat interview

pj's favorites bibliography Notes

  Yolen's unannotated Webliography
  • Book of the Dales Trilogy

Yolen, Jane.  1988.  Sister Light, Sister Dark. Tor.

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0312930917/qid=1047852352/sr=1-3/ref=sr_1_3/102-6186386-5033765?v=glance&s=books  Amazon.Com. Contains favorable book reviews. This story was well-received by readers.

Yolen, Jane.  1989  White Jenna. Tor

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0312931956/ref=ed_oe_h/102-6186386-5033765?v=glance&s=books&st=*  Amazon.Com. Contains favorable book reviews of White Jenna. Another well-recieved book. Readers felt much the same way as Yolen did originally: White Jenna was the satisfying end to the story and another book was not necessary.

(These two books were published together as The Books of Great Alta. A third book was published later.

Yolen, Jane.  1998.  The One-Armed Queen. Tor.

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0312852436/ref=pd_sim_books_1/102-6186386-5033765?v=glance&s=books Amazon.Com. Contains book reviews. A number of reviewers feel that while this book is well-written, story-wise it was a let down, as it felt unnecessary to some readers. They felt that White Jenna was the ending for the two stories.

 This Trilogy contains strong women, the idea of two: light / dark.  Each book shows that women on each side of the dualism have reasons for making the choices they make throughout the story.

  • Writing Books For Children an out of print book now titled Guide to Writing for Children.

Yolen, Jane. 1989.  Guide to Writing For Children. Writers Inc.

I include this book because it was one of the earliest pieces of work on writing for children that I found. Yolen's advice was clear and easy to follow.

  • The Tartan Magic Series

Yolen, Jane. 1999.  The Wizards Map.  Harcourt Brace.

http://www.janeyolen.com/blurbs/wizardsm2.html

http://zuckermansbarn.com/ns_details.php?Bookid=YolenJ99
Kids talk about books

http://www.worcpublib.org/collectionsservices/bookreviews.html
Worchester (Massachusetts) Public library kids page

http://www.sfsite.com/06b/map59.htm
 

Yolen, Jane.1999.     The Pictish Child.      Harcourt Brace.

http://www.janeyolen.com/blurbs/pictishc2.html

http://www.ga.k12.pa.us/academics/ls/superreader/title/P/pictishchild.htm
SuperReader's Book Review

http://www.bookideas.com/reviews/index.cfm?fuseaction=displayReview&id=1410
Book Ideas Review
 

Yolen, Jane. 2002.  The Bagpipers Ghost.  Harcourt Brace.

http://www.janeyolen.com/blurbs/bagpipersg2.html

http://www.bookideas.com/reviews/index.cfm?fuseaction=displayReview&id=1411
Book Ideas Review

http://www.sfsite.com/08b/bg134.htm
Review by Cindy Lynn Speer.


All Three
http://www.greenmanreview.com/yolen.omni.htm
greenman review

 These books for middle grades are well-written and enjoyable. They continue to maintain high standards of humor magic, horror, and fear. 

  • The beautiful Picture Book Owl Moon.  A Caldecott Award Winner in 1988.

Yolen, Jane.  Ill. By John Schoenherr.   1987.  Owl Moon. Philomel.

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0399214577/qid=1047853611/sr=12-1/102-6186386-5033765?v=glance&s=books Amazon.Com's book reviews of Owl Moon. Very positive reviews can be found here.

I include Owl Moon because it just happens to be one of my favorite picture books. I read it as an adult, but still loved it.

  • Wizards Hall, a story that predates Harry Potter by some 8 years. About a young wizard named Henry (he gets re-named), at a school for wizards.

Yolen, Jane.  Ill. By Trina Schart Hyman.  1991.  Wizards Hall

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0152020853/ref=pd_sim_books_5/102-6186386-5033765?v=glance&s=books

Amazon.Com Positive reviews. A very close comparison between this book and the Harry Potter books can be made. Yolen's book is not as widely known as Harry Potter, and now might seem way too similar even though it was written years before Harry Potter.

  • Yolen tackles the Holocaust with The Devils Arithmetic.

Yolen, Jane. 1988.  The Devils Arithmetic.  Viking.

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0670810274/qid=1047854119/sr=12-1/102-6186386-5033765?v=glance&s=books  Amazon.Com's Book Reviews

This award-winning book focuses on heros who happen to be female. One of the major questions in the story is: What is a hero? Why do we expect a hero to contain the large acts, when some of the smallest, most private acts in existence are some  of the most heroic?

  • In Briar Rose, Yolen takes the Sleeping beauty mythos to the Holocaust.

Yolen, Jane.  1992.  Briar Rose. Tor.

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0765342308/qid=1047854188/sr=2-1/ref=sr_2_1/102-6186386-5033765  Amazon.Com's Book Reviews. Most of the reviews are positive  but at least one reaer had a problem with the story.

 

  • The Pit Dragon Trilogy

Yolen, Jane.  1982.  Dragons Blood. Delacorte.

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0152008667/qid=1047853011/sr=1-1/ref=sr_1_1/102-6186386-5033765?v=glance&s=books  Amazon.Com. Positive Reviews.

Yolen, Jane.  1984.  Hearts Blood. Delacorte.

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0152008659/qid=1047853354/sr=2-1/ref=sr_2_1/102-6186386-5033765  Amazon.Com. This second book in the trilogy gets mixed reviews. Some love it, and some were disappointed in it.  But Yolen's readers tend to have high expectations of her work.

Yolen, Jane.  1987.  A Sending of Dragons. Delacorte.

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0152008640/ref=pd_bxgy_text_1/102-6186386-5033765?v=glance&s=books&st=*  Amazon.Com. Again, Yolen's third book in a series is not as well-received as the first two.

 

  • A picture book story of Smith Colleges Founder Sophia Smith.

Yolen, Jane. Ill. By Monica Vachula.  1998.  Tea With an Old Dragon. Boyds Mills.

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/1563976579/qid=1047854395/sr=1-1/ref=sr_1_1/102-6186386-5033765?v=glance&s=books  Amazon.Com's Book Reviews. The major thought is that this book has limited appeal. It may only be for those familiar with Smith College, Jane Yolen's connection to Smith college, or those who just want to read about strong women.

 

  • Any book of poetry by Jane Yolen.

Yolen, Jane. Ill. By Demi.  1990.  Dragon Night.  Methun. (sadly, this one is out of print.

http://www.janeyolen.com/poetry.html

Yolen, Jane.  Ill. By Janet Street.  Raining Cats and Dogs.  Harcourt Brace.

http://www.janeyolen.com/poetry.html


 

 

One of my favorite pictures of Jane Yolen

Taken from

http://teacher.scholastic.com/writewit/myth/img/janeport.jpg

 

 

Biography

http://www.janeyolen.com/janebio.html Jane's own homepage bio.

http://www.endicott-studio.com/bioyolen.html A Brief Biography

http://www.ipl.org/div/kidspace/askauthor/Yolen.html Internet Public Library Kidspace. A Biography with FAQ.

http://www.geocities.com/sheherazahde/Books/YolenJane/ Scheherazade's Jane Yolen Page.

 

 

Booklists / Bibliographies

http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/authors/Jane_Yolen.htm

 

 

 

Interviews

http://www.aarp.org/bulletin/july98/interview.html

http://www.geocities.com/puckrobin/rh/yolen1.htmlInterviews In Sherwood by Allen W. Wright

http://forum.co-nect.net/forum/topicDisplay.php?topicID=166  Kids Who Read: Ask Jane Yolen

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/show-interview/y-j-olenane/104-4821692-2344731  Amazon.Com Interviews Jane Yolen

http://realitybreak.sff.net/archive/yolen.htp   Reality Break A Talk Show of Fantastic Literature. Yolen talks about the Dragons in her stories from Here There Be Dragons to the Pit Dragon Stories.

http://www.lib.rochester.edu/camelot/intrvws/yolen.htm
INTERVIEW WITH Jane Yolen by Raymond H. Thompson.

http://www.locusmag.com/1997/Issues/08/Yolen.html
Locus Online: Jane Yolen Telling Tales.
 

http://www.scifi.com/transcripts/1999/yolen.html  Scifi.com chat interview includes a moderator and others.

http://www.bookpage.com/9901bp/jane_yolen.html BookPage Interview by Lisa Horak.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 


 


 

 

 

        Yolen was born in New York City February 11, 1939. Her parents were Will and Isabelle Yolen.

        After High school she went on to attend Smith College.

        In 1962 she married David Stemple.

 

        Yolen has 4 Grandchildren.

 

        She has written over 200 books either alone or with others.

 

        Thinks Own Moon is one of the best books she has ever written.

 

        Past President of the Science Fiction Writers of America.

http://www.sfwa.org/

 

        On the board of Directors of the Society of Childrens Book Writers & Illustrators.

http://www.scbwi.org/

Much of Yolen's work highlights the strengths of girls and women, and tells the story of life from their perspective. Strong women live on in her works.

Special   Awards

Owl Moon won a Caldecott Award

The short story "Sister Emily's Lightship won a Nebula Award in 1997

The Novellette "Lost Girls" won a Nebula Award in 1998.

The Devil's Arithmetic has recieved several Awards:

The Jewish Book Council Award, Association of Jewish Libraries Award,
Sydney Taylor Book Award.

It was also a Finalist for the Nebula Award.

Briar Rose received the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award
as did the Young Merlin Trilogy

 

  • Book of the Dales Trilogy

Yolen, Jane.  1988.  Sister Light, Sister Dark. Tor.

Yolen, Jane.  1989  White Jenna. Tor

(These two books were published together as The Books of Great Alta.

A third book was published later.

Yolen, Jane.  1998.  The One-Armed Queen. Tor.

 

  • Writing Books For Children an out of print book now titled Guide to Writing for Children.

Yolen, Jane. 1989.  Guide to Writing For Children. Writers Inc.

 

  • The Tartan Magic Series

Yolen, Jane. 1999.  The Wizards Map.  Harcourt Brace.

Yolen, Jane.1999.     The Pictish Child.      Harcourt Brace.

Yolen, Jane. 2002.  The Bagpipers Ghost.  Harcourt Brace.

 

  • The beautiful Picture Book Owl Moon.

Yolen, Jane.  Ill. By John Schoenherr.   1987.  Owl Moon. Philomel.

 

  • Wizards Hall, a story that predates Harry Potter by some 8 years. About a young wizard named Henry (he gets re-named), at a school for wizards.

Yolen, Jane.  Ill. By Trina Schart Hyman.  1991.  Wizards Hall

  • Yolen tackles the Holocaust with The Devils Arithmetic.

Yolen, Jane. 1988.  The Devils Arithmetic.  Viking.

 

  • In Briar Rose, Yolen takes the Sleeping beauty mythos to the Holocaust.

Yolen, Jane.  1992.  Briar Rose. Tor.

 

  • The Pit Dragon Trilogy

Yolen, Jane.  1982.  Dragons Blood. Delacorte.

Yolen, Jane.  1984.  Hearts Blood. Delacorte.

Yolen, Jane.  1987.  A Sending of Dragons. Delacorte.

 

  • A picture book story of Smith Colleges Founder Sophia Smith.

Yolen, Jane. Ill. By Monica Vachula.  1998.  Tea With an Old Dragon. Boyds Mills.

  • Any book of poetry by Jane Yolen.

Yolen, Jane. Ill. By Demi.  1990.  Dragon Night.  Methun. (sadly, this one is out of print.

Yolen, Jane.  Ill. By Janet Street.  Raining Cats and Dogs.  Harcourt Brace.

 

 

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