J. L. BELL is a Massachusetts writer who specializes in (among other things) the start of the American Revolution in and around Boston. He is particularly interested in the experiences of children in 1765-75. He has published scholarly papers and popular articles for both children and adults. He was consultant for an episode of History Detectives, and contributed to a display at Minute Man National Historic Park.

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Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Laurie Halse Anderson Has Some Gossip to Share

Laurie Halse Anderson is a novelist best known for her contemporary young-adult book Speak, which was a National Book Award finalist, a Printz Award Honor Book, and winner of the Golden Kite Award. It’s an unflinching study of a rape victim in high school, which a few people object to.

Anderson has also won acclaim for her historical fiction for young readers, starting with Fever 1793, about life in the American capital during the yellow-fever epidemic. She’s completing a trilogy of novels about the fight for liberty, individual and national, in the Revolutionary War: Chains, Forge (another National Book Award finalist), and the upcoming Ashes. She’s also written a nonfiction picture book called Independent Dames: What You Never Knew About the Women and Girls of the American Revolution.

Acknowledging “a strange affinity for muskets and chamberpots,” Anderson wants more young people to discover the fascinating world of eighteenth-century America. So she recently launched a Tumblr site that explains itself this way: “The reason you hate American history is because the people look weird. Let me adjust your senses.” The site is full of portraits from the period and is called “Hotties of the American Revolution.” Pass the word.

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