November 16, 1915
|Died||May 14, 2017
Sleepy Hollow, New York, United States
|Alma mater||Wheaton College|
|Genre||Children's novels, biography, memoir|
|Subject||American biography and history|
|Notable awards||Laura Ingalls Wilder Medal
Jean Guttery Fritz (November 16, 1915 – May 14, 2017) was an American children's writer best known for American biography and history. She won the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award for her career contribution to American children's literature in 1986. She turned 100 in November 2015.
Growing up, she attended a British school and kept a journal about her days in China with Lin Nai-Nai, her amah. The family emigrated to the United States when she was in the eighth grade.
Fritz's writing career started with the publication of several short stories in Humpty Dumpty magazine early in the 1950's. Her first book was published in 1954, Bunny Hopwell's First Spring, followed in 1955 by 121 Pudding Street, a work based on her own 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.
The latter American Library Association award recognizes the year's best American children's book but almost always goes to fiction. Later she won two annual Boston Globe–Horn Book Awards for children's nonfiction.[a] In 1986, she received the Laura Ingalls Wilder Medal from the ALA, which recognizes a living author or illustrator, whose books, published in the United States, have made "a substantial and lasting contribution to literature for children". At the time it was awarded every three years. That year she was also U.S. nominee for the biennial, international Hans Christian Andersen Award, the highest international recognition available to creators of children's books.
New York Times outstanding book of the year citations:
- 1973 – And Then What Happened, Paul Revere?
- 1974 – Why Don’t You Get a Horse, Sam Adams?
- 1975 – Where Was Patrick Henry on the 29th of May?
- 1976 – What’s the Big Idea, Ben Franklin?
- 1981 – Traitor: The Case of Benedict Arnold
- 1982 – Homesick, My Own Story
1983 – Newbery Honor Award, National Book Award, and Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor book,all for Homesick: My Own Story.
1989 – Laura Ingalls Wilder Award, Orbis Pictus Award, National Council of English Teachers, for 1986 The Great Little Madison (1986)
- Homesick: My Own Story, illustrated with drawings by Margot Tomes and photographs (New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1982); ISBN 0399209336[a]
- China Homecoming, photographs by Michael Fritz (New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1985); ISBN 0399211829
- Surprising Myself, photographs by Andrea Fritz Pfleger (Katonah, New York: R.C. Owen Publishers, 1992); ISBN 1878450379
- Bunny Hopwell's First Spring (1954)
- Fish Head (1954), illus. Marc Simont
- 121 Cake Street (1955)
- The Cabin Faced West (1958)
- Champion Dog Prince Tom (1958)
- Brady (1960)
- Early Thunder (1967)
- George Washington's Breakfast (1969)
- And Then What Happened, Paul Revere?, illus. Margot Tomes (Coward, 1973)[a]
- Why Don't You Get a Horse, Sam Adams? (1974)
- Will You Sign Here, John Hancock?, illus. Trina Schart Hyman (Coward, 1975)[a]
- Where Was Patrick Henry on the 29th of May? (1975)
- Who's That Stepping on Plymouth Rock? (1975)
- Can't You Make Them Behave, King George? (1976)
- Shh! We're Writing the Constitution (1976)
- Stonewall, illus. Stephen Gammell (Putnam, 1979)[a]
- Brendan the Navigator: the History Mystery about the Discovery of America (1979)
- Where Do You Think You're Going, Christopher Columbus? (1980)
- Traitor: The Case of Benedict Arnold (1981)
- The Double Life of Pocahontas, illus. Ed Young (Putnam, 1983), winner of the Boston Globe–Horn Book Award, Nonfiction
- China's Long March: 6,000 Miles of Danger (1988)
- What's the Big Idea, Ben Franklin? (1988)
- The Great Little Madison (Putnam, 1989), winner of the Boston Globe–Horn Book Award, Nonfiction
- Bully for You, Teddy Roosevelt (1990)
- The Big Book for Peace (Dutton, 1990), illus. Teri Sloat
- Surprising Myself (1992)
- The World in 1492 (1992)
- Around the World in a Hundred Years (1993)
- Just a Few Words, Mr. Lincoln (1993)
- You Want Women to Vote, Lizzie Stanton? (1995)
- Why Not Lafayette? (1999)
- Leonardo's Horse (2001)
- The Lost Colony of Roanoke (2004)
- Fritz was a runner-up for a Boston Globe–Horn Book Award four times from 1974 to 1983, three times in the Nonfiction category and in Fiction for the autobiographical Homesick. She won the Nonfiction Award in 1984 for The Double Life of Pocahontas and in 1990 for The Great Little Madison—the second person to win any of the three annual awards twice.
- Fox, Margalit (May 17, 2017). "Jean Fritz, Who Wrote History Books for Children, Dies at 101". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved May 18, 2017.
- "Laura Ingalls Wilder Award, Past winners". Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC). American Library Association (ALA).
"About the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award". ALSC. ALA. Retrieved 2013-06-11.
- Scales, Pat (2015-11-16). "Saying Thank You to Jean Fritz, Again!". Booklist. American Library Association. Retrieved 2015-11-20.
- "Meet the Author: Jean Fritz". eduplace.com; accessed April 30, 2017.
- Fox, Margalit (2017-05-17). "Jean Fritz, Who Wrote History Books for Children, Dies at 101". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-05-18.
- "Jean Fritz: History Made Interesting!". www.librarypoint.org. Retrieved 2017-05-18.
- The Continuum Encyclopedia of Children's Literature, Bernice E. Cullinan, Diane G. Person, Continuum International Publishing Group, 2005; ISBN 0-8264-1778-7.
- "National Book Awards – 1983". National Book Foundation. Retrieved 2012-02-27.
- "Newbery Medal and Honor Books, 1922–Present". ALSC. ALA.
"The John Newbery Medal". ALSC. ALA. Retrieved 2012-03-04.
- "Boston Globe–Horn Book Awards Winners and Honor Books 1967 to present". The Horn Book. Archived from the original on 2012-12-14. Retrieved 2013-03-09.
- "Candidates for the Hans Christian Andersen Awards 1956–2002" Archived 2013-01-14 at Archive.is. The Hans Christian Andersen Awards, 1956–2002. IBBY. Gyldendal (2002), pp. 110–18. Hosted by Austrian Literature Online (literature.at); retrieved 2013-07-22.
- Frith, Margaret (November 11, 2010). "Who Are You Writing About Today, Jean Fritz?". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved 2013-05-25.