Friday, August 9, 2019

Author Panel: Elizabeth Partridge

Elizabeth Partridge
Elizabeth Partridge is the author of seventeen books, including Boots on the Ground: America's War in Vietnam, and Marching to Freedom: Walk Together, Children, and Don’t You Grow Weary. She's also written biographies on Dorothea Lange, Woody Guthrie, and John Lennon.

Her books have received many honors, including National Book Award Finalist, Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, Los Angeles Times Book Prize, Michael L. Printz Honor, SCBWI Golden Kite Award, School Library Journal's Battle of the Books, and the Jane Addams Children's Book Award.

She spoke on the author panel moderated by Linda Sue Park.

Did you set out to write a book that mattered? Tell us about the original idea of your book:
Boots on the Ground:
One of Partridge's many
 books for young readers

"I was a young protestor during the Vietnam War. I knew nothing about the guys who went to fight... I wanted to write about them."

Elizabeth interviewed veterans, a nurse, and refugees and wove together their stories, and she wanted kids to hear those stories before the primary sources died.

Share a story about the editorial process for one of your books. What's it like to work with an editor?

Elizabeth wrote some material for an editor, who then arranged for a phone call. She was excited about what she'd done. But then her editor asked, "Um, where do we go now?"

Elizabeth was laughing because she didn't want to cry. She knew big changes were coming—it turned into eight months worth of work. But it was so worth it, basically having someone say, 'I'm in your court. Let's go to work.'"

Share a story about one of your young readers:

She has asked students to interview grandparents who might have been soldiers or refugees in Vietnam, and the most touching story for her: A Vietnam veteran came to one of her events, and then he came back to another reading two weeks later.

He told his wife he was going to read the book. He went into the bedroom and read fast and furious, and he came to her and said, "It's going to be OK. I didn't know it happened like this to other people. I can forgive myself now."

Follow Elizabeth on Twitter
Visit Elizabeth's website

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