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Jean Fritz

Updated May 14, 2022
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Jean Fritz essay

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Jean Fritz (November 16, 1915 – May 14, 2017) was born in China and grew up listening to her father tell her stories of American heroes. This is where her love of American history came from. She did write a book about her life in China called Homesick: My Own Story. She tells about Lin Nai-Nai, her amah. An amah is a housekeeper or caregiver. She made a friend in the British school she was attending, but her family moved again. She wanted to go on a trip to America but instead, Jean’s family went to the mountain town of Kuling, causing Jean to throw a tantrum.

While in there, Jean’s mother gets sick from phlebitis in her legs and must endure an extended stay in the hospital. Phlebitis is inflammation of a vein. It is due to one or more blood clots in a vein that causes inflammation. This illness usually occurs in leg veins, just like Jean’s mother. While there, Jean’s mother gives birth to a baby girl. Jean was excited to have a baby sister, but the baby dies only a few months after being born. This causes the whole family sadness.

During Jean’s time in China (the early to mid-1920s), Communists, Nationalists, and a variety of warlords were fighting supremacy, which led to war and revolution. The nearby town comes under siege by Communists, and Jean’s father helps with relief efforts for the sick and wounded there. Soon the family decides they must flee to America. They travel by boat to San Francisco, California. From there, the family travels many weeks by car across the country to Washington, Pennsylvania, where they reunite with their family. When she was almost thirteen and in eighth grade when all this happened.

She went on to graduate from Wheaton College in Massachusetts in 1937 and married Michael Fritz in 1941. They had two children, David and Andrea. Fritz’s writing career started with the publication of several short stories in Humpty Dumpty magazine early in the 1950s. Her first book was published in 1954, Bunny Hopewell’s First Spring, followed in 1955 by 121 Pudding Street, a work based on her children.

She often wrote westerns and other stories of frontier America because her father told her stories of American heroes as she was growing up. Her first historical novel for children was The Cabin Faced West (1958). Her autobiography Homesick, My Own Story (1982) won a National Book Award for Young People’s Literature in the Children’s Fiction category and was a runner-up for the Newbery Medal.

Russel Freedman

Russel Freedman (October 11, 1929 – March 16, 2018) was born in San Francisco and had a love for books at a very early age. His dad was a sales manager for the Macmillan publishing company. As a result, young Russell had the chance to meet many famous writers like John Steinbeck, the author of the famous books Of Mice and Men and The Grapes of Wrath. His mother worked in a bookstore. So, he was around books all his life and able to learn from them. The first recognition of his work happened when he was only in junior high school. Freedman won an essay contest open to students in San Francisco.

He attended college first at San Jose State University Later, Freedman worked as a reporter and editor for the Associated Press in San Francisco until the mid-1950s when he took an advertising job in Manhattan. After graduating from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1951 with an English degree and doing counterintelligence work in the Army during the Korean War, Mr. Freedman worked as a journalist and publicist. But then a chance bit of browsing changed his direction. When he returned from overseas, he accepted a job in his hometown of San Francisco as a reporter and editor for the Associated Press, an international news organization.

Shortly after, Freedman decided to leave his native California and head to New York City. While in New York City, Freedman wrote his first book inspired by an article he read about a teenager who designed a Braille typewriter for blind people. Teenagers Who Made History was published in 1961 as a children’s book. Although Freedman’s goal was not always to be a children’s author, he found his way there. After its publication, Freedman quit his job and became a full-time writer. He may be known best for winning the 1988 Newbery Medal with his work Lincoln: A Photobiography.

In 2013, he got married to his partner of 32 years, filmmaker Evans Chan. Freedman lived in New York City and wrote nearly 50 children’s literature books. Freedman engagingly related these stories so that he was expertly pitched to pre-adult readers, avoiding condescension while finding angles and anecdotes that resonated with his audience. He won several medals for his books that make him so important today.

Jean Fritz essay

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