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Rosalyn Schanzer

Author/illustrator Rosalyn Schanzer, who writes books about American history's greatest adventures and tallest tales, can't seem to sit still.

That's why she has had a few adventures of her own. This nationally ranked Master's swimmer and traveling photographer has taken pictures of wild African lions and elephants from two feet away and has peered into the eyes of giant Galapagos tortoises as tall as she is. She has swum with sharks, kayaked with whales, hiked the Andes and explored ancient Incan ruins in Peru and Bolivia. And that’s not all. She has rafted through whitewater in lush Costa Rican rainforests, tasted tamarinds in the remote dry forests of Ecuador, photographed legendary golden temples in Thailand and helped to sail a world-famous racing boat from Bermuda to Boston via the Bermuda Triangle.

For years, Schanzer painted the pictures for literally hundreds of books, magazine articles, posters, and games for children, but they were all written by other people. Finally, she decided to try a new kind of adventure; if she wanted to do paint the kinds of things she loved the best, she would have to start writing a few books herself. So back in 1994, she began to write and illustrate the first of many highly acclaimed books about famous adventurers from American history.

The writing has turned out to be more fun (and more challenging) than Schanzer ever imagined. How could she tempt readers to step into the past? First she became a detective. Her job was to ferret out highly accurate and unusual research that few people have found before. That way she could offers peeks at the juiciest journals, letters, and songs of real people who lived through wild adventures long ago. And she could mix heroic deeds with funny stories and small everyday events so that the stars of her books weren't just wooden statues. One time, she wrote a hilarious tall tale to introduce a southern superhero, and another time, she uncovered a more serious saga from her very own ancestors that told about their escape from war-torn Poland in 1921. In a couple of early books, she even invited kids to step directly into the pictures in her stories. How? By daring them to solve colorful, rollicking picture mazes that wound through the scenery from days of yore. (The dead ends were truly perilous!)

The list of Schanzer's books below begins with a tale of adventure. In his very own words, young Charles Darwin tells the tale of his incredible voyage all the way around the world and then shows us exactly how he solves one of the greatest mysteries of all time.

 

Books

WITCHES! THE ABSOLUTELY TRUE TALE OF DISASTER IN SALEM
Witches! The Absolutely True Tale of Disaster in SalemIt was January, 1692, and as an icy winter wind shrieked through Salem Village, Massachusetts, two young girls began to twitch and choke and contort their bodies into strange abnormal shapes and speak in words that made no sense. Their family tried every remedy in the book, but nothing worked. Finally a doctor announced his dire diagnosis: The girls were BEWITCHED! And then the accusations began. This book tells the gripping true story of the victims, accused witches, scheming officials, and mass hysteria that turned a mysterious illness afflicting two children into a witch hunt that took 20 lives and ruined hundreds more.
18 Awards including
~Society of Illustrators Gold Medal for Best Illustrated Children's Book of 2011
~2012 Robert F. Sibert Honor Award
~ALA Notable Children's Book
~School Library Journal Starred Review and Best Book of the Year
~NCSS/CBC Notable Social Studies Trade Book
~A Junior Library Guild Selection for Fall 2011
~NY Public Library's 25 Best Nonfiction Titles of 2011

National Geographic: Young Adult

Nonfiction/History

WHAT DARWIN SAW; THE JOURNEY THAT CHANGED THE WORLD What Darwin Saw: The Journey that Changed the World
Publisher: National Geographic: Ages 8-Adult ISBN: 978-1-4263-0396-8; January 13 2009; 48 pages
Genre: Nonfiction/Biography/Science/History/Picture Book

When Charles Darwin was 22 years old, he was offered the chance of a lifetime - to join the adventurous crew of the Beagle, a sailing ship about to begin a five-year journey round the world. He jumped at the chance!

Sail along with Darwin in this deliciously illustrated, meticulously researched graphic novel packed with quotes from his own Beagle Diary, letters, and books. As the ship's naturalist, Darwin discovers gigantic fossils and exotic new animals of every description. He watches volcanoes explode and earthquakes destroy entire towns. He explores jungles dripping with orchids, climbs the highest mountain peaks, and visits tropical islands surrounded by living coral reefs. And he meets people who live differently from anything he could have ever imagined.

And as he travels, Darwin begins to unravel a mystery so enormous that it will change the way we look at our world forever! What is this mystery? And how will his solution secure his reputation as one of the greatest scientists of all time? Join Charles Darwin and find out.


JOHN SMITH ESCAPES AGAIN!
John Smith Escapes Again
Publisher: National Geographic Society, October 2006; 64 Pages; Hardcover ISBN 0-7922-5930-0; Library Binding ISBN 0-7922-5931-9
Genre: Nonfiction/History/Biography/Picture Book, ages 7-14.
~Starred Review-Publishers Weekly
~ A Top 10 Nonfiction Book for 2006 – The Washington Post

Maybe you've heard of John Smith, the guy who was rescued from certain death by Pocahontas. But did you know that this English farmer's son was also America's first superstar? During his amazing life, Smith was a heroic warrior, a slave, a world explorer, a pirate, a president, a prisoner, a peacekeeper, and the writer whose books jump-started the Great American Dream of a better life on these shores. Most surprising of all is that during his day, he must have been the greatest escape artist on the planet! Just in time for the 400th anniversary of the founding of Jamestown, this true story recounts the full details of John Smith's eventful life-and tells how he escaped from danger over and over and over again.

"Students of history will most appreciate the new light shed on this plucky voyager, but adventure fans will also be swept up in his escapades."
~Starred review-Publishers Weekly

"The adventurer John Smith...here receives a beguiling tribute as 'America's first genuine superstar.'...A larger-than-life figure well worth rediscovering...Perhaps the greatest service rendered by the illustrations is their myth-busting portrayal of Pocahontas as a genuine little girl, head mostly shaved except for one long braid, face painted red."
~Horn Book

"Schanzer’s fact-filled text, complemented by colorful illustrations, ably makes her case that Smith was 'America’s first genuine superstar.'"
~The Washington Post (Book World)

”Schanzer has done extensive research for both her text and her engaging cartoon illustrations. Children will be delighted...A great choice for all collections.”
~School Library Journal


GEORGE VS. GEORGE; THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION AS SEEN FROM BOTH SIDES GEORGE VS. GEORGE; THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION AS SEEN FROM BOTH SIDES

Publisher: National Geographic Society 2004 ISBN 0-7922-7349-4 hardback. ISBN 0--7922-6999-3 library binding. ISBN 978-1-4263-0042-4.
Genre: Nonfiction picturebook, ages 8 to adult.
~ALA Notable Book-2005
~Orbis Pictus Recommended Book-2005
~Capitol Choices Best Book-2005
~2004 Best Books winner-School Library Journal
~Starred review-School Library Journal
~Chicago Public Library Best Books of 2004
~Maine Student Book Award List

Was King George III a "Royal Brute?" American patriots said so. But others hailed him as "the Father of the People." Was George Washington a traitor? The king's supporters thought so. But many celebrated Washington as "the father of his country." Who was right? There are two sides to every story.

"…Schanzer states that her challenge was to "-cram 20 years of history, biography, and philosophy into a picture book that kids could grasp and enjoy." She has been entirely successful… The illustrations are amazing. Almost Brueghelesque in their detail, they show the major players as they actually looked… This is a lovely book, showing historical inquiry at its best: consideration of both sides, a sound research basis, attribution of sources, and interesting writing."
~Starred review-School Library Journal

"…an uncommonly balanced view of the American Revolution for younger readers… This carefully researched reminder that the Revolution was an "us vs. us" conflict, not an "us vs. them" conflict should be required reading for all young students of American history."
~Kirkus Reviews

"Visually exciting…vibrant overview of a complicated subject will encourage readers to want to learn more."
~Children's Literature

"Schanzer does a great job showing the American Revolution from both sides. This is a must have for every home and school library!"
~Kidsbookshelf


HOW BEN FRANKLIN STOLE THE LIGHTNING
How Ben Franklin Stole the Lightning
Publisher: HarperCollins 2003 ISBN: 0-688-16993-7
~Starred review Publishers Weekly
~PARENT'S GUIDE CHILDREN'S MEDIA AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN CHILDREN'S BOOKS-2003
~IRA/CBC Children's Choice
~IRA/CBC Teachers' Choice-2004
~NCSS/CBC Notable Trade Book (Biography)-2004
~Nominee- 2006 OKLAHOMA BOOK AWARD
~The Monarch Award: Illinois' K-3 Children’s Choice Award

Nonfiction; Focuses on Benjamin Franklin's role as an inventor of whimsical gadgets and practical contraptions, with an emphasis on his experiment of flying a kite during a rainstorm.

"this effervescent tribute will give legions of young readers a peerless role model."
~Kirkus Reviews

"a charming biography of the man who invented the lightning rod…Wonderfully illustrated in bright colors with a cartoon style, this book has many details for a child to investigate.
~Children's Literature

"...Exceptionally engaging Picture Book...Crackling-with-energy, Full-Color Illustrations."
~The Washington Post

"Schanzer's bright illustrations and witty language combine in a charming portrait of this larger-than-life, good-humored man."
~Washington Parent

"Well conceived and crafted, this fresh view is particularly welcome."
~School Library Journal

"Schanzer's lively writing and drawing style again make history come alive. Exhilarating!"
~Publishers Weekly (starred review)


DAVY CROCKETT SAVES THE WORLD
Davy Crockett Saves the World
Publisher: HarperCollins 2001 ISBN #: 0-688-16991-0
Genre: Children's picture book (ages 4-9). Tall tale.
~ALA BOOKLIST's "Books for Youth" Editor's Choice, 2001
~BOOKLIST starred review
~IRA/CBC Children's Choice Award for 2002
~FEATURED BY DANIEL PINKWATER ON NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO'S WEEKEND EDITION, March 2002
~2002 OPPENHEIM TOY PORTFOLIO-PLATINUM; BEST BOOKS AWARD
~MARYLAND BLACK-EYED SUSAN BOOK NOMINEE-2002-03
~MISSOURI SHOW ME READERS AWARD NOMINEE-2004
~Selected for presentation at the Texas Book Festival, 2001

Davy Crockett stops the evil Halley's Comet from destroying the world, and wins the heart of feisty Sally Sugartree in the process.

"Schanzer's lickety-split pace and picaresque prose are equal parts swagger and sass, and her vibrant, color drenched paintings extend the spirited tone."
~PUBLISHER'S WEEKLY

 
THE OLD CHISHOLM TRAIL; A COWBOY SONG The Old Chisholm Trail: A Cowboy Song
Publisher: National Geographic Society 2001
ISBN #: 0-7922-7559-4
Genre: Children's picture book (ages 4-8). Nonfiction/song.
~NATIONAL PARENTING PUBLICATIONS ASSOCIATION (NAAPA) SILVER AWARD
in folklore, poetry, and song category
~Selected for presentation at the Texas Book Festival, 2001

Rollicking illustrated version of the legendary song whose many verses were made up by cowboys herding cattle up the Old Chisholm Trail.


ESCAPING TO AMERICA; A TRUE STORY
Escaping to America: A True Story
Publisher: HarperCollins 2000 ISBN#: 0-688-16989-9
Genre: Children's picture book (ages 6-12). Nonfiction.
Paperback Version: Publisher: Scholastic Release Date: 2000 ISBN #: 0-439-30984-0
~ASSOCIATION OF JEWISH LIBRARIES-NOTABLE CHILDREN'S BOOK OF JEWISH CONTENT for the year 2000 (A SYDNEY TAYLOR NOTABLE BOOK)
~CCCB CHOICE for 2001
~SLJ-"Outstanding addition to the growing body of immigrant stories."

Author tells how her father's family escaped from war in Poland in 1921 to seek a better life in America.

"Steerage has been described in many books, but never so clearly for this younger age group... Schanzer draws pictures with words as well as with her art."
~KIRKUS


GOLD FEVER; TALES FROM THE CALIFORNIA GOLD RUSH
Gold Fever: Tales From the California Gold Rush
Publisher: National Geographic Society 1999 ISBN #: 0-7922-7303-6
Genre: Children's picture book (ages 6-12). Nonfiction.
Paperback version: Publisher: National Geographic 1999 ISBN # 978-1-4263-0040-0

The story of the California Gold Rush that began in 1848 is told by the lively prospectors themselves, using excerpts from their letters, journals, and newspaper articles.

Gold Fever: Tales From the California Gold Rush (paperback cover) "Schanzer inventively combines first-person accounts with lively artwork to bring history to life…A uniquely exciting introduction to a fascinating period."
~SLJ

"The strongest of several books published this year to mark the sesquicentennial of the Gold Rush…The multiracial aspect of Gold Rush society is well portrayed and not sanitized…And it's fun to boot, packed with amusing anecdotes as well as hard facts…History at its most entertaining."
~The San Francisco Chronicle


HOW WE CROSSED THE WEST; THE ADVENTURES OF LEWIS AND CLARK
HOW WE CROSSED THE WEST; THE ADVENTURES OF LEWIS AND CLARK
Publisher: National Geographic Society 1997 ISBN #: 0-7922-3738-2
Genre: Children's picture book (ages 6-12). Nonfiction.
Paperback Versions: Publisher: National Geographic 2002 ISBN #: 0-7922-6726-5
Publisher: Scholastic Release date: 1997 ISBN #: 0-590-379965-8
~National Council of Social Studies/Children's Book Council Joint Committee
NOTABLE CHILDREN'S TRADE BOOK IN THE FIELD OF SOCIAL STUDIES
~Starred review-School Library Journal
~Starred review-Publisher's Weekly
~A San Francisco Chronicle BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR

Through quotes from the traveler's own journals, you'll relive hair-raising adventures and narrow escapes as Lewis and Clark make the famous Voyage of Discovery that opened the West. Received starred reviews from School Library Journal and Publisher's Weekly, which called it "a must-have for anyone with an interest in American History."


EZRA'S QUEST; FOLLOW THAT DOG

Publisher: Doubleday Books for Young Readers 1994 (Out of print)
ISBN #: 0-385-32262-3
Genre: Children's Picture Book (ages 6-12) Historical fiction, Adventure.

To find his stolen dog, a boy must make his way through a series of colorful, complex picture mazes, each of which is packed with information about life in medieval times. Rhyming text.


EZRA IN PURSUIT; THE GREAT MAZE CHASE

Publisher: Doubleday Books for Young Readers 1993 (Out of print)
ISBN #: 0-385-30884-1
Genre: Children's Picture Book (ages 6-12) Historical fiction, Adventure.
~IRA/CBC Children's Choice Award for 1994

A boy and his dog pursue three bank robbers through the Wild West of 1774 via a series of complex, humorous picture mazes packed with information about the American frontier. Rhyming text.

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