Acclaimed biographer, Jean Fritz, was born in China to American
missionaries on November 16, 1915. Living there until she was
almost thirteen sparked a lifelong interest in American history.
She wrote about her childhood in China in Homesick, My Own
Story, a Newbery Honor Book and winner of the National Book
Ms. Fritz was the author of forty-five books for children and young people. Many center on historical American figures, gaining her a reputation as the premier author of biographies for children and young people.
Among the other prestigious awards Ms. Fritz has garnered are: the National Humanities Medal, the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award, the May Hill Arbuthnot Lecture Award. the Christopher Award, the Boston Globe-Horn Book Non-Fiction Award, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, and many ALA Notable Books of the Year, School Library Journal Best Books of the Year, and ALA Booklist Editors' Choice Awards.
She passed away on May 14, 2017.
Fritz ( Shh! We're Writing the Constitution! ) here presents a brisk, highly accessible biography of James Madison. Sickly as a child, Madison was a short, frail man with a wispy, small voice. His successes in incorporating personal freedoms into a reasonably strong centralized government and his enormous appetite for work earned him the sobriquet ``great.'' Madison's shyness and difficulty with public speaking were drawbacks during the politician's early days in Virginia government--as was the enmity of a powerful Patrick Henry--but behind-the-scenes speaking effectiveness and voluminous, well-reasoned writings more than compensated. In her characteristic way of bringing history to life, Fritz writes in a highly engaging, entertaining manner, providing vivid descriptions of Madison's close friendship with Thomas Jefferson; his long and apparently happy marriage to Dolly; the infighting during the creation of the Constitution; the patience with which our fourth president dealt with an unreasonable England, leading to the war of 1812--and that war's defeats and victories. Ages 10-up. (Nov.)