BEFORE THE VISIT: It is best to plan a visit at least three months in advance. This allows time to firm up dates and prepare the kids for the upcoming presentation. Once the particulars of the visit are settled, I will send a contract, listing the date, the honorarium, any expenses to be reimbursed, the location, time and number of presentations. This contract will need to be signed and returned.
PREPARATION FOR THE VISIT: It is helpful if, before the visit, kids can be made aware of my books. If the teachers would consider reading one of them to their class beforehand, even better. In the “FOR TEACHERS” section of my website are discussion questions and/or activities for each of my books. I have been at schools where the kids are required to come up with a few pre-prepared questions. This has always sparked lively and fun discussions, and I highly recommend it. Promoting the visit through posters and school-wide announcements generally add to the excitement of the day.
EQUIPMENT NEEDS: I will need an LCD hooked up to a computer. I am technically challenged and do not know how to set the system up. So, you must have the system ready to go with an LCD and a laptop. I will provide the flashstick. I also will need to have water available during my presentations.
LUNCH: As my voice tends to give out toward the end of the day, I do keep my presentations to a maximum of four one-hour sessions per day. I am happy to have lunch with teachers or kids who have questions, but do ask there be lunch if I am to be there all day.
BOOK SALES AND SIGNINGS: My books can be ordered through local bookstores or the publishers themselves. (The contact department and phone numbers are provided in the BOOKS AND REVIEWS section of this area) I am happy to stay afterward and sign. I always find that having the books on hand for purchase makes a visit more memorable. Sending home order forms before the day is a good way to ensure that parents, too, are aware of the visit, and that every child, who wants one, can have a book for signing that day.
Kathleen Benner Duble had sixteen car accidents before she was twenty-one. Being an at-home writer keeps her from hitting the road (or anyone else)! She is the author of nine books for children. Kathleen loves digging for unique historical fiction plotlines and encouraging students and lovers of books to look for great stories right in their own backyard!
Longer Author Bio:
Kathleen Benner Duble grew up surrounded by very talented individuals. Her father was a jet pilot in the Pittsburgh Air National Guard, and her sister, Lauren, went on to receive her wings and become a tanker pilot for the MAINEiacs in Bangor, Maine. Because Kathleen had sixteen car accidents before she was twenty-one, Kathleen's father would not let her try her hand at flying. This was probably a very good decision.
Kathleen's mother and younger sister, Mara, were both highly successful executives, fighting for spots in a mostly male-dominated corporate world. As Kathleen hated confrontations of any kind, this was not a wise choice of career for her either.
Her family despaired. What to do with a girl who barely looked up from the book she was reading to explore the world? Send her to college!
Kathleen graduated cum laude from Miami University, Ohio in 1980 (an easy task as most of college involves reading). She walked out with a diploma and a degree in Creative Writing. At last, she had found her calling.
But what do you write about when you've spent your whole life with your nose buried in a book? Kathleen began to look around. And for once, instead of princes and princesses and tales of adventure, she saw her own family right there in front of her with their unique stories to tell. Kathleen got to work.
In February 1999, she had a short story published in Highlights Magazine for Children, a story about a botched music recital with her sister. Her first book, Bridging Beyond, a young adult novel, about her grandmother, came out in May of 2002 and was an IRA Notable Honor Book. Pilot Mom, again about her sister, came out in May of 2003 from Charlesbridge Publishing. Her third book, The Sacrifice, a story about an ancestor discovered by her father, was released in October of 2005 by Margaret K. McElderry. This middle grade novel was a Junior Library Guild Selection, received a starred review from Booklist, was a 2005/2006 Book Sense Pick, a Jefferson Cup Noteworthy book, and an ALA BBYA nominee. It is also a Louisiana Reader's Choice nominee, a Keystone State Award nominee, a William Allen White nominee, a Nevada State Reader's Choice nominee, a Virginia Reader's Choice nominee, a Great Stone Face nominee, a Sunshine State Young Adult nominee and a Massachusetts Children’s Book Award nominee.
In 1983, she married her very smart and talented husband and began to steal from him. Hearts Of Iron, about his family's summer place, was released in October of 2006 from Margaret K. McElderry. It was a Winter Book Sense Pick and a 2007 IRA Teacher's Choice.
In Bravo, Zulu Samantha! from Peachtree Publishing, Kathleen turned once again to her father to create the character of the crotchety old grandfather who is miffed at being forced to retire from the Air Force. Her father was an excellent role model! Bravo Zulu, Samantha! was an Agatha Award nominee, a Maine Student Book Award nominee and a Society of Librarian's International Book Award Honor Book for Language Arts: K-6 novels.
In March 2008, Quest, a Cybils award nominee and a Boston Author's highly recommended book, was released from Margaret K. McElderry. This book tells the story of Henry Hudson from four points of view, Hudson's seventeen-year-old son, his girlfriend (a spy), his younger brother and one of the men who mutinied against Hudson. Kathleen found this story while reading to her daughters and waiting for the school bus.
In July 2008, The Story of the Samson, a NCSS Notable Trade Book, was published by Charlesbridge Publishing. The amazing adventures of this little boat were discovered by Kathleen while on a trip to Nova Scotia with her parents.
Phantoms in the Snow, her book from Scholastic that was released in 2011, tells the story of the Tenth Mountain Division (they were called Phantoms because they dressed all in white) and Noah Garrett, an orphaned pacifist boy who is sent to live with the tenth's heroic soldiers. Kathleen found this story while trying to learn to ski (a skill she has still not managed to acquire) and by meeting a real live Phantom herself.
Her newest book, Madame Tussaud's Apprentice, from Merit Press explores the French Revolution from the point of view of the famous wax figure maker of the time. It was tough having to do her research for this book in Paris!
In 1987, she became a mom - her very favorite job! And luckily, she got the job a second time in 1990. She is currently working on stealing stories from her two teenage girls, who live far more daring and exciting lives of intrigue and deception than Kathleen does.
Kathleen lives in Massachusetts with her wonderful husband and two fabulous girls. They all love to travel, but none of them are pilots. You can read more about Kathleen and her work on this website and you can also schedule a visit
MADAME TUSSAUD'S APPRENTICE: MERIT PRESS, 2014
Jacket Illustration @2014 Frank Rivera
Duble finds an unfamiliar angle into the French Revolution: famed wax sculptor Madame Tussaud’s fictional teenage apprentice, Celie. Celie survives life on the streets of eighteenth-century Paris by thieving with her friend Algernon, until she is caught in a scheme and rescued by Manon Tussaud, who is intrigued by Celie’s impressive drawing abilities. While learning the ways of wax sculpting, Celie finds herself closer to royalty than she ever imagined—traveling to Versailles and befriending Louis XVI’s sister Elizabeth—and she begins to question her beliefs about the social hierarchy. Then, when rebels take hold of Paris, and Algernon is swept into the revolutionary fervor, Celie is forced to decide where her true
allegiances lie . . . The detailed descriptions of wax building and mildly gruesome scenes of casting with actual decapitated heads from the royal family both educate and entertain. Well paced and captivating, Duble’s novel effectively explores the shades of gray in the French Revolution. BOOKLIST
The historical Madame Tussaud provides an unusual lens on the French Revolution.
Sixteen-year-old thief Celie and her companion in crime, Algernon, make a precarious living stealing from the French elite. Both teens resent the aristocracy, believing that the rich caused the deaths of their families. By chance, Celie’s artistic talents come into play when she is arrested for stealing from Madame Tussaud; the famed waxwork lady, whose art is already one of the popular attractions in Paris, takes her in to make use of her skill at drawing uncannily realistic representations. Madame Tussaud is also the drawing tutor to the king’s sister, Madame Elizabeth, which brings the reluctant Celie into the last innocent days at Versailles. When the revolution begins, Algernon fights for freedom, but Madame Tussaud faces the guillotine. Duble’s writing flows smoothly. . . The history behind the story (such as the fact that Madame Tussaud was forced to make wax casts of the severed heads of the royals, including her friend Madame Elizabeth) is fascinating, and it propels the story to its somewhat hopeful end. . .
. . An intriguing look at an ever compelling time. KIRKUS (Historical fiction. 12-16)
PHANTOMS IN THE SNOW: SCHOLASTIC, 2011
Jacket Illustration © 2011 Shane Rebenschied
In 1944, when his parents die of smallpox, 15-year-old Noah Garrett is sent to live with his uncle, James Shelley, at Camp Hale, Colo. Lying about his age, he enters the life of the soldiers, a winter warfare unit called the Phantoms, and learns to ski, rappel and handle himself in war games. Despite his pacifist past and his nagging conscience, Noah comes to like the camaraderie of the men and feels proud of his new skills, and at the same time the initially off-putting Shelley comes to appreciate Noah as the only family he has. Though a purposively inspirational scene stretches credulity when Noah, now a 16-year-old pacifist soldier, is put in charge of a mission in the mountains of Italy, Duble has created a likable character in Noah, whose struggles to find out who he is and where he belongs in a world at war are convincingly portrayed and realistically resolved. Details ranging from the development of nylon and penicillin to the Holocaust, Normandy and Italian resistance add depth to this fine historical novel. (author's note, references, acknowledgments)(Historical fiction. 11-15) KIRKUS REVIEWS
This historical fiction novel takes place within the horrors and unexpected humanity of WWII. Soldiers who ski their way up to the highest slopes while risking their lives for their country are known as Phantom fighters. This is the skiing branch of the United States Army. Noah Garrett, a fifteen year old, suddenly becomes orphaned when his parents die from sickness, so a neighbor and clergyman decide his future. He is shipped from his familiar, rural surroundings outside Austin, Texas, to the snowy slopes of Camp Hale in Colorado. There, an estranged uncle, James Shelley, claims Noah as newfound family. The only problem is Noah finds him gruff and cold, much unlike his mother, Shelley's sister. The pressure is on for Noah to make some life decisions, quickly. This is because he falsifies his age as sixteen in order to train as a soldier. If Noah does not train, he could be sent back to become a ward of the state. At least here he is becoming part of a fun-loving family of quirky comrades. Camp Hale is where Noah begins rigorous training as a soldier. His trainers seem tough and heartless, but whenever he groans and complains of their harsh methods, they ask if the enemy will be more sympathetic. If Noah can succeed, he will soon have to confront the German enemy troops within the highest peaks of Italy. The author researched this piece so beautifully that this reviewer's heart pounded away with every page. VOYA
** Jefferson Cup Honor Book
** NCSS Notable Trade Book
** Finalist - Reading the West Award
** Parent's Choice Award - Silver Medal Winner
** CBC Best Books for 2012
** Massachusetts Center for The Book "Must-Read"
** Maine Student Book Award nominee
THE STORY OF THE SAMSON: CHARLESBRIDGE PUBLISHING, 2008
Illustrated by Alexander Farquerson
“The Samson, a schooner built in 1885, was part of many major events in maritime history. First it was a sealing schooner, then a whaler, an exploration ship, and finally a trade ship. In its most noticeable roles, the Samson played a part in the rescue of Ernest Shackleton's crewmates and Admiral Byrd's Antarctica explorations, and it may have been the mystery boat that was seen by survivors of the Titanic. Duble presents the details of this ship's history through conversations with a fictional young boy, Sam, and his grandfather, who was a crewman aboard the Samson. The narrative device creates a compelling introduction to maritime history, and the mix of full-color and sepia-toned oils enhances the historical subject. A time-line, author's note, and a list of resources conclude this engrossing introduction to adventure at sea.” FROM BOOKLIST
“Duble offers facts and myths about the Samson's nautical past through a conversation over a scrapbook between a boy named for the vessel and his seaman grandfather. The schooner's proximity to– and failure to respond to – the Titanic disaster is presented as a real part of its history. The author offers resources including books and Web sites and explains in a note the controversy around this legend. Actual facts, including the vessel's rescue of Ernest Shackleton's crewmates, explorations to Antarctica with Admiral Richard Byrd, and a place in the 1933 Chicago World's Fair, are also presented and are chronicled in the time line. Full-spread oil paintings of the adventures appear with inset yellowed scrapbook images and scenes of the boy and his grandfather. While portraits are not Farequharson's strong point, his likenesses are confirmed by photos that appear on the end pages. After it sank, the Samson ended up as the wood used in houses on the Nova Scotia coast. Fans of nautical fiction will enjoy this work, as will patrons looking for books on family history, grandparents and exploration and adventure.” SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL
** NCSS Notable Trade Book
QUEST: MARGARET K MCELDERRY, 2008
Jacket Illustration © 2007 Samuel Yuen Jr.
“Told in four alternating voices, each one represented by a unique typeface, this is the story of Henry Hudson's final, fatal attempt to find the Northwest Passage. It relates the man's obsession with his quest, his crew's growing dissatisfaction and eventual mutiny, and the rivalry among European countries during the age of exploration. The first voice, that of Hudson's 17-year-old son, John, a sailor on his father's ship, DISCOVERY, is full of excitement over the long sea voyage. Eight-year-old Richard, left at home in London with his mother, tells poignantly of missing his father and brother. Isabella Digges, secretly in love with John despite her father's disapproval of a mere sailor as suitor for his daughter, keeps a journal while the DISCOVERY is away. In addition to her thoughts of John, Isabella recounts her own adventure in the Netherlands, where she has been sent to spy on the Dutch East India Trading Company on behalf of England while posing as a nursemaid/companion to the 14-year-old daughter of a prominent Dutch investor. Finally, Seth Syms, fleeing the enraged jealous husband of his ladylove by posing as his cousin Nicholas for the voyage, tells his tale in a series of letters to his mother. The author's skillful juxtaposition of these four narratives creates an absorbing work of historical fiction that manages to incorporate the viewpoints of explorers, investors, sailors, governments, family members and neighbors of those who played a part in this fascinating era.” SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL
“When Henry Hudson left England to search for a Northwest Passage to Asia, his son John eagerly went with him. John's only regret is leaving his love Isabella behind, even though his low social station made them an unlikely match. John's brother Richard wants John to come home, while John's shipmate Seth Syms will do anything to keep from returning to England. Isabella, in the meantime, is forced to spy for her father, sneaking into a map room and memorizing the routes and discoveries of the Dutch East Indies Company. The book alternates between John's, Richard's, Isabella's and Seth's points of view. While it is somewhat jarring that only Richard's story is not told in his own voice, the alternating viewpoints work well to create a multi-faceted view of Henry Hudson and his world. Duble takes known facts and blends in her own vision of what might have happened, as well as creating the intriguing character of Isabella the spy (who easily could have carried her own book). Duble expertly uses fact and fancy to create a truly intriguing work of historical fiction.” CHILDREN'S LITERATURE
** Boston Author's Club Highly Recommended Book
** Cybils Nominee
** Missouri State Teacher's Reading Circle Program Book
** Maine Student Book Award nominee 2009-2010
** Best Book for 2008 by PALS
** Jefferson Cup Recommended Reading
BRAVO ZULU, SAMANTHA!: PEACHTREE PUBLISHING, 2007
Jacket Illustration © 2007 Loraine Joyner
“Affectionate stories about grumpy grandpas are in vogue. As in Pamela Ehrenberg’s Ethan, Suspended (2007), the 12-year-old kid in this novel is bitterly resentful when she’s forced to spend time with her mom’s parents, only to end up feeling respect and enduring connection. Samantha’s grandfather (the Colonel) has become angry and rude since the Air Force pushed him into retirement, and Samantha senses that he is up to something. Suspense builds as she follows him; then she must decide whether to snitch on his secret project or help him with it – if he will let her. The angry arguments make for great dialogue. Duble moves from the historical fiction of her previous novel (The Sacrifice, 2005) to a wry, contemporary story with lots of technology. Aviation fans will recognize the first two words of the title as part of the FAA’s list of code words, and readers will also enjoy Samantha’s obsession with bizarre facts from The Guinness Book of World Records.” BOOKLIST.
** Society of School Librarians’ International Honor Book Award in Language Arts K-6 Novels
** Agatha Award Nominee
** PSLA Top Forty For 2007
** Maine Children's Book Award Nominee
** William Allen White Award Nominee
** Massachusetts Book Award Honor Book
** Mark Twain Award Nominee
HEARTS OF IRON, MARGARET K MCELDERRY, 2006
Jacket Illustration © 2005 Kamil Vojnar
“Picture a tiny ironworking community in mountainous western Connecticut in 1820. Isolated from larger towns and cities, the ironworkers hold fast to their traditions, and the community is so close knit that young Lucy Pettee can't sneak a swim with boyfriend Jesse without everyone knowing about it. Jesse, deadlocked with his dad, rails against a future as an ironworker. As Jesse schemes to join the navy and keep Lucy's affections, Lucy's dad plots to import a young merchant-class type from Boston as a husband for her. A fire of suspicious origins heightens the action and nearly destroys the area's livelihood. Did Jesse set it to aid in his escape? Surprising answers fast-forward the plot and bring the action to a curious but believable resolution. Duble skillfully portrays the characters, adolescent-parent conflicts, and community life and economics in this unusual historical romance.” BOOKLIST
“Lucy Pettee, 14, is getting too old to swim with her pal Jesse in just her under-shift, but she feels she is too young to consider marrying a proper suitor her father might choose from Boston. Her father runs a profitable store on the iron forgers' mountain of Mt. Riga, CT, in the early 19th century. While Jesse longs to escape the mountain and its brutal forge that has burned and disfigured his brother, Lucy loves its spectacular meadows and lakes. Then, Samuel Lernley appears on the scene to learn shopkeeping from Mr. Pettee and to take a look at Lucy as a possible wife. The teen is thrust into a love triangle when she realizes that she has feelings for both Jesse and Mr. Lernley. Well-written historical fiction with a unique setting and a touch of mystery, Lucy's story will both inform and entertain readers.” SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL
** Winter 2006/2007 Book Sense Children’s Pick.
** 2007 IRA Teacher’s Choice
THE SACRIFICE, MARGARET K MCELDERRY, 2005
Jacket Illustration © 2005 Kamil Vojnar
“What was it like to be accused during the Salem witch hunts in 1692? Duble brings the history close through the viewpoint of Abigail, 10, who is accused of working with the devil, imprisoned and tried along with her older sister. The social history is intensely dramatic; the spread of fear and hatred; the horrific conditions in the packed cell; with the accusers 'moaning and groaning and screaming for the accused to stop tormenting them.' But it is the story of one young girl and her family that will grab the readers … The surprising climax of family sacrifice is heartrending.” BOOKLIST - STARRED REVIEW
“How could so much evil exist in such a little town? It seems the devil has come to nearby Salem Village and several young girls are accusing neighbors of being witches, with three women already convicted. This is not the best time for ten-year-old Abigail Faulkner to have been punished in the stocks for her willful behavior, or for her father to be having fits again. Though Abigail's grandfather, Andover's minister, believes the girls are acting, their performances pure sport, powerful people believe them, and when the girls are called to Andover to root out witches there, the madness continues. Duble does a superb job of showing how the hysteria develops and how innocent people were trapped. She vividly evokes the horrors of the Salem Town Prison, with the cold, the lack of food and the rats sometimes killing people off before trial dates ever arrived. One of the best fiction accounts for young readers about the witch trials and how good people eventually fought back.” KIRKUS REVIEWS
** Booklist Top Ten Historical Fiction for Youth
** 2007 Nominee ALA Best Book for Young Adults
** Jefferson Cup “Worthy of Note” Book
** KSRC Middle School Titles - Top Pick
** PSLA Top Ten (Or So) Young Adult Books
** Louisiana Young Reader's Choice Nominee
** Keystone State Reading Association Young Adult Book Nominee
** Booklist – Starred Review
** School Library Guild Selection
** Winter 2005/2006 Book Sense Children’s Picks
** William Allen White Children’s Book Award Nominee
** Virginia Young Readers’ Aaward Nominee
** Nevada Young Readers’ Aaward Nominee
** New Jersey Librarians’ Pick of the Decade
** Great Stone Face Award Nominee
** SSYA Nominee
** Massachusetts Children’s Book Award Nominee
PILOT MOM, CHARLESBRIDGE, 2003
Illustrated by Alan Marks.
“Jenny and her best friend K.C. get a tour of the air base and airplane where Jenny's Mom is a tanker pilot. Jenny fears for her mother and misses her when she's away, but she's also very proud of her. The girls get to go on the plane and try on the pilots' cool helmets. Jenny's mother loves her job, and allows Jenny to talk through all of her worries, acknowledging and responding to them. She tells the girls about the time in Saudi Arabia when the control tower wouldn't answer because they didn't think women should be pilots, and she had to get her male co-pilot to make the radio call. Marks's pictures are quite wonderful, gorgeous depictions of the planes, inside and out, on the ground and in the air. Jenny's blonde, K.C. is African-American; they and Jenny's parents and other people at the air base are fully and realistically rendered. A lot of information made palatable for young people while responding to their questions and fears in a post- "shock and awe" world.” KIRKUS REVIEWS
“Mom, the pilot of a plane that refuels fighter jets in mid-air, is leaving for a training mission in Europe, and her daughter is both proud and afraid of what can happen. As mother and daughter prepare to part, they go through a comforting ritual. The girl, with help from her friend K. C., fills the pockets of Mom's flight suit: a pocketknife, a hat and gloves, and a lucky coin. The girls then travel with Mom to the air base and visit the cockpit of Mom's KC-135. As preparations continue, Mom talks about past adventures, which Duble fits smoothly into the narrative, along with a good deal of information about airplanes and flying. The pastel watercolors, sometimes showing cloudy skies in shades of gray, reflect the girl's emotional roller coaster as she sees her mother off. A paean to flying, this is also a strong "can do" message for girls.” BOOKLIST
** Human Resources Top Five Book – Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children
BRIDGING BEYOND, PHILOMEL BOOKS, 2002
Jacket Illustration © 2002 Chris Nurse.
“An intriguing novel that could be read as science fiction or science theory, with the plot based on the main character experiencing the actual memories of her dead great-grandmother: is it genetic memory? It's a good story, in any case. In the first chapter, Anna is in her own personal nightmare. She and her best friend get drunk and Anna persuades Jessica to drive the car; they crash into a telephone pole and Jessica goes into a coma. Anna is devastated, blaming herself. Soon after the accident, Anna's great-grandmother Mimi dies and Anna's single mom takes Anna and her younger sister across the country to live at Mimi's home. There, Anna experiences strange, dream-like states in which she is in the 1920s, surrounded by a group of friends who seem to be devoted to each other, but wildly taking risks. She thinks she is really crazy and her mother gets her to a psychiatrist who shows her some articles about the theory of genetic memory. If Anna could find some proof that her dream-memories actually happened in the past, it would seem that she is remembering events in the life of her great-grandmother. Since the events in the 1920s are extremely dramatic, such as two young people clinging to a railroad trestle as a train roars past, readers are riveted to the story. Anna's confusion, guilt, and struggle to find answers are described by Duble with great compassion and skill. The melding of the generations is extremely effective. Also, the main theme of Anna's devastating guilt about her accident being finally eased through the understanding of similar guilt experienced by Mimi many decades before is truly haunting. Another connection between Anna and Mimi is their love of music: Anna for her cello, Mimi for the piano. After the accidents, neither one could find relief in music until their guilt and horror lessened; the very thing that would give solace was denied. A strong narrative.” KLIATT
“Anna is involved in a tragic car accident after encouraging her best friend to drink and drive at a party. As her friend lies in a coma, she and her family relocate to her recently deceased grandmother's house, and attempt to build a new life. Shortly, though, after moving to her new home, Anna begins having unusual dreams. The characters in her dream take on an increasing familiarity to Anna. Drama builds until it is revealed that she is reliving the early life of her beloved grandmother. Through this harrowing and unusual experience, Anna helps her grandmother's dear old friends come to terms with events of their past, while Anna comes to terms with her own personal mistakes. The flashback to the grandmother's young life offers an original story line for this easy-to-read novel. The tone and style will probably appeal to introspective adolescents, even those who are reluctant readers. 2002, Philomel Books.” ALAN REVIEW
** 2002 IRA Notable Honor Book
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Contact Information for Books:
MADAME TUSSAUD'S APPRENTICE
Merit Press 1-800-289-0963 or email to: email@example.com
PHANTOMS IN THE SNOW
BRAVO, ZULU, SAMANTHA!
Lisa Rowe at 800-241-0113 X112
QUEST, HEARTS OF IRON and THE SACRIFICE:
Customer Service: 1-800-976-1726
If problems, please contact Jodie Cohen at 1-212-698-7432
THE STORY OF THE SAMSON and PILOT MOM:
Please email me and I will bring this book with me as it is currently out of print