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Deborah
Award Winning Children’s Author
Nonfiction & Historical Fiction Author, from Picture Books to Middle Grade
Travels from: Portland, OR

“Hopkinson is particularly adept at directing attention to the stories behind the heroic stories.” — Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

Deborah Hopkinson is the award-winning author of more than 70 books for young readers including picture books, historical fiction, and nonfiction. Deborah’s nonfiction includes Titanic, Voices from the Disaster, which received a YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction honor and a Robert F. Sibert Honor, Courage & Defiance, Stories of Spies, Saboteurs, and Survivors in WWII Denmark, winner of the OCTE Oregon Spirit Award, and Shutting out the Sky, Life in the Tenements of New York 1880-1924, which received an NCTE Orbis Pictus honor.

Deborah’s historical fiction title, The Great Trouble, A Mystery of London, the Blue Death, and a Boy Called Eel, also won an OCTE Oregon Spirit Award and was a finalist for the Oregon Book award. Her Golden Books include best-selling biographies of Betty White and Dolly Parton.

A native of Massachusetts, Deborah received a B.A. in English from the University of Massachusetts and an M.A. in Asian Studies from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. For many years she worked in academic fundraising for institutions including Whitman College and Oregon State University. She lives with her family and many pets near Portland, Oregon and has two grown children and one grandson.

Deborah's Featured Titles

Trim Saves the Day (Adventures of Trim)

Peachtree |
Children’s

One small kitten learns about the great big world as he sets sail with his fellow shipmates, animal and human, in this historical fiction intermediate reader.

Trim like’s being part of the ship’s crew. The captain says that I’s like a family or a team. Every has a jobs they do alone and they help each other too. And there’s a big problem, then it’s all hands on deck.

But what is Trim’s job? He really wants to help, but everyone is very busy. Penny is helping the sailors mop the deck, so Trim decides to mop too. Swish! Swish! SWISH! Trim gets water everywhere. Jack is helping the captain steer the ship, so Trim thinks he can steer too. Whee! Whee! WHEE! But there’s not enough room on the wheel. Doesn’t anyone have a job for a small kitten who really wants to help?

Trim Sets Sail (Adventures of Trim)

Peachtree |
Children’s

One small kitten learns about the great big world as he sets sail with his fellow shipmates, animal and human, in this historical fiction intermediate reader.

When Trim trips over a napping dog, little does he know that soon he’ll set sail and begin learning how to be a ship’s cat. Among his first lessons: the parts of the ship (the front is called the bow, like “bow wow”), the dynamics among his new colleagues (Jack the ship’s parrot is not so easy to befriend), and basic skills like climbing (up is easier than down) and swimming. With the assistance of Captain Flinders, Penny the ship’s dog, and Will the ship’s artist, Trim learns new skills, tests his limits and abilities, and finds a way to contribute to life onboard.

This delightful early reader series by acclaimed author Deborah Hopkinson is inspired by the true story of Trim, often called the most famous ship’s cat in history. Owned by British explorer Matthew Flinders, Trim traveled on the HMS Investigator on the first expedition to circumnavigate Australia (1801–1803).

Trim Helps Out (Adventures of Trim)

Peachtree |
Children’s

One small kitten learns about the great big world as he sets sail with his fellow shipmates, animal and human, in this historical fiction intermediate reader.

Trim is eager to do a good job on his first day as ship’s cat—but what is his job? All around him, members of the crew are busy with their responsibilities—too busy to notice a small kitten looking for an opportunity to contribute. Jack the parrot directs Trim to the hold, to patrol for rats. But Jack neglects to tell Trim exactly what a rat is. Surely Princess Bea, the new friend he meets below deck, isn’t a rat. She doesn’t resemble the creepy, scary-looking creature that Jack warned Trim about and she’s happy to have an assistant to fetch her biscuits from the galley.

Dr. Jonas Salk: A Little Golden Book Biography

Golden Books |
Children’s Biographies

Help your little one dream big with a Little Golden Book biography about Dr. Jonas Salk, the creator of the polio vaccine. Little Golden Book biographies are the perfect introduction to nonfiction for young readers—as well as fans of all ages!

This Little Golden Book about Dr. Jonas Salk–virologist and one of the pioneers of the first successful polio vaccine–is an inspiring read-aloud for young children with an interest in STEM-related topics.

It’s a bustling theatrical romp worthy of a standing ovation.

Race Against Death: The Greatest POW Rescue of World War II

Scholastic Focus |
Middle Grade

A thrilling account of the most daring American P.O.W. rescue mission of World War II.

Scholastic Focus is the premier home of thoroughly researched, beautifully written, and thoughtfully designed works of narrative nonfiction aimed at middle-grade and young adult readers. These books help readers learn about the world in which they live and develop their critical thinking skills so that they may become dynamic citizens who are able to analyze and understand our past, participate in essential discussions about our present, and work to grow and build our future.

Following the bombing of Pearl Harbor, America entered World War II, and a new theater of battle opened up in the Pacific. But US troops, along with thousands of Filipino soldiers who fought alongside them, were overtaken in the Philippines by a fiercely determined Japanese navy, and many Americans and Filipino fighters were killed or captured.

These American and Filipino prisoners of war were forced to endure the most horrific conditions on the deadly trek known as the Bataan Death March. Then, the American servicemen who were held captive by the Japanese military in Cabanatuan Camp and others in the Philippines, faced beatings, starvation, and tropical diseases, and lived constantly under the threat of death.

Unable to forget their comrades’ fate and concerned that these POWs would be brutally murdered as the tides of war shifted in the Pacific, the US Army Rangers undertook one of the most daring and dangerous rescue missions of all time. Aided by the “Angels of the Underground,” the Sixth Ranger Battalion and courageous Filipino guerrilla soldiers set out on an uncertain and treacherous assignment. Often called the Great Raid, this remarkable story remains largely forgotten.

Sibert Honor author Deborah Hopkinson presents an extraordinary and unflinching look at the heroic servicemen and women who courageously weathered the worst of circumstances and conditions in service to their country, as well as those who answered the call to save their fellow soldiers.

Happy Earth Day!

Golden Books |
Children’s

This fact-filled Little Golden Book is about Earth Day–what it is and why it’s important–and offers suggestions for actions kids can take to help protect and heal our planet.

Earth Day is celebrated on April 22 each year, but this Little Golden Book about the history and importance of Earth Day will inspire children to appreciate our planet each and every day! Includes directions for family-friendly projects, such as composting, growing baby carrots on a windowsill, making a bug hotel, and more.

Only One

Anne Schwartz Books |
Children’s

This lyrical, environmentally focused picture book showcases the unique beauty of our one and only universe–its galaxies, stars, and planets–as well as our one and only Earth and the precious life it contains.

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General Audiences

Unsung Heroes and Heroines of World War II: Deborah has written more than a half dozen books about World War II, including historical fiction as well as nonfiction about the Kindertransport, resistance to the Holocaust, Danish underground fighters, and the Bataan Death March. In this talk she shares the stories of some of the remarkable people whose stories deserve to be more widely known.

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Adult Writers Workshops

Workshops for adult writers include talks and interactive workshops on the following topics. Deborah is also available for manuscript critiques as part of the event.

  • Writing Page-Turning Nonfiction
  • Research Tip for Writers
  • Creating Picture Books
  • Finding the Right Genre for Your Idea
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Librarian & Educator Conferences

Be a Detective! Helping Young Readers Think Like Historians: Deborah likes to encourage students to ask questions, to investigate, to examine primary sources, and to explore the hidden stories in history. Because history isn’t just dates and names to be memorized. Instead, it’s a frustrating process, full of arguments, unknowns, and detective work. And these historical thinking skills are exactly what students need in order to become informed and digitally literate citizens in the 21st century.

Real-World Writing Activities for Students & Young Activists: In this interactive session, Deborah will share tips on using her books to design real-world writing activities for students using her nature and environmentally-focused books such as Follow the Moon Home and Butterflies Belong Here, both winners of the Green Earth Book Award.

Integrating Nonfiction into the Classroom: Inspiring Inquiry in Young Readers: Have questions about how to integrate more nonfiction into the classroom?  Wondering how to explain to students the difference between informational fiction and “true nonfiction?”  In this interactive session, Deborah will provide examples of her nonfiction tiles, which include Golden Book biographies, to picture books, to award-winning long form nonfiction.

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School Visits & Family Nights

Deborah loves to speak with students about reading and writing, environmental action, and history. Sessions feature choral reading for younger students and a focus on critical inquiry skills for older elementary and middle school students.

K-2 What Makes a Writer? (30-35 min) Readers make writers! Deborah explores where ideas come from with an emphasis on reading and practice.  The session includes choral reading of picture books such as Girl Wonder and the Adventures of Trim series.

2-3 Imagine the Past (40-45 min) Students learn about nonfiction, historical fiction, and research. Featured books include nonfiction, historical fiction such as The Great Trouble and The Plot to Kill a Queen, which features a cameo by Shakespeare and includes a one-act play free for students to perform.

5-8 Be a History Detective (45-50 min) Deborah encourages upper elementary and middle school students to be history detectives and tell their own stories. The session dives deep into nonfiction and historical fiction including The Great Trouble, The Plot to Kill a Queen, and How I Became a Spy.

6-8 Tell Your Story! (45-50 min) Deborah’s long form WWII nonfiction books include We Had to Be Brave, We Must Not Forget, D-Day, and Race Against Death. These books rely on oral histories and unpublished narratives and Deborah encourages students to tell their own stories.

Family Nights Sharing a love of books is a family affair!  Deborah creates an interactive literary experience including choral reading, tips for parents, and a special writing or drawing activity for all ages—including how to draw Trim, the plucky feline hero of The Adventures of Trim.

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Writing Activities and Stand-Alone Writing Workshops

All sessions can include writing or drawing activities. The activities below are also available as stand-alone sessions of approximately 45 minutes each.

Follow the Moon Home – This informational fiction picture book models a community action project. Young writers learn how to craft a simple letter seeking support for a fictional project on helping sea turtles–or a project of their choice.

A Letter to My Teacher – This is one of the most enjoyable writing activities for spring, around Teacher Appreciation Week. Students craft a thank you letter to a teacher or another person in their life who has made a difference.

The Story of a Story – Students often wonder about writer’s block. This is a fun book about one young writer’s solution. This picture book has a writing activity with prompts included in the back matter.

Titanic: Voices from the Disaster – In this workshop for upper elementary and middle school students, student writers follow the journey of one family on the fateful ship. Students learn about the family then imagine themselves in the place of a widow writing about the tragedy.

Deadliest Nonfiction Study Guide

Deborah’s Critique Services

Deborah’s Events

Deborah’s Nonfiction Reading: Tips for Kids (and You)

Deborah’s Summer Reading Tips

Honors, Awards & Recognition

National Awards
ALA/ALSC Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Medal Honor
Bank Street College of Education Cook Prize Honor
Boston Globe/Horn Book Honor Book
Green Earth Book Award
Growing Good Kids Award
ILA Social Justice Literature Award
Jane Addams Peace Association Children’s Book Award
NCTE Orbis Pictus Award Honor
NCSS Carter G. Woodson Award Honor
NCTE Charlotte Huck Award for Outstanding Fiction Recommended
Parents’ Choice Silver Honor Award
SCBWI Golden Kite Award for Picture Book Text
SCBWI Golden Kite Award Nonfiction Text for Older Readers Finalist
Sidney Taylor Book Award Notable
Sigurd F. Olsen Nature Writing Award
Time of Wonder Children’s Book Award
YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults Finalist

State Awards
Cardinal Cup Series of Note, VA
Comstock Book Award, MN
Eloise Jarvis McGraw Children’s Literature Award, Oregon
Leslie Bradshaw Award for Young Adult Literature Award, Oregon
OCTE Oregon Spirit Award
Paterson Prize for Books for Young People Honor, NJ

Media Kit

By clicking the link below you will be directed to a Google Docs Folder
where you can download author photos and cover images.

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