Jane Sutcliffe

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Jane Sutcliffe was born in Providence, RI, in the days when library fines were a penny. One of her earliest memories was her weekly trip to the local library with her father. She’s loved books ever since.

Jane’s childhood was fairly average. In fact, it was so average that all her friends had pretty much the same childhood. They all went to the same school, and attended the same church on Sundays. Their mothers all called us home to supper at the same time. On weekends they visited grandmothers and aunties who spoke a different language when they didn't want us to understand.

To live any differently seemed exciting and exotic to Jane. She began to read biographies, just to get a peek at how other people lived day to day, In different times and places. When Jane was 10 or 11, she spent a whole year reading nothing but biographies.

She was never interested in sports much, with one exception—the Olympics. Everything about the Olympics appealed to her—the competition, the glory, the pageantry, the honor. So she guesses it was no accident that, years later, when she became a children's writer, her first two books were biographies of Olympic athletes. She was doing her research even then.

Jane has a bachelor's degree from the University of Connecticut and a master's from Penn State University, both in Communication Science. She didn't start writing, however, until she had her two sons, John and Michael. Having children just unlocked her creative spirit. That's why she dedicated her first book to them,

Jane lives in rural Connecticut with her husband, Skip, our sons, their dog Willy, and assorted cows and goats.

History Maker Biographies

Barack Obama
by Jane Sutcliffe, an early reader biography, Reading level: Ages 9-12 Library Binding: 48 pages Publisher: Lerner Publications (January 2010)
0761352058 ISBN-13: 978-0761352051

Helen Keller
by Jane Sutcliffe (Author) Reading level: Ages 9-12 Library Binding:
47 pages Publisher: Lerner Publications
 (August 2009)

ISBN-10: 0761342230

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal  With short, easy sentences and plenty of white space enveloping the large typeface, this biography is just right for emerging readers. Keller's story unfolds at a fast, reader-friendly pace. Students will probably skip over the few difficult names, such as Tuscumbia, the Alabama town where Helen was born, and Anagnos, a Boston doctor who headed an institute for the blind. Poignant, soft-focused watercolor illustrations complement the text. Anne Chapman Callaghan, Racine Public Library, WI Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.


Jane Sutcliffe (Author) Reading level: Ages 9-12 Library Binding: 47 pages Publisher: Lerner Publications (August 2009)

ISBN-10: 0761342222 ISBN-13: 978-0761342229

True or false? Sacagawea guided the Lewis and Clark expedition through the western United States. False! Sacagawea was an important part of the team of explorers, but she was not their guide. She helped the explorers speak to Native Americans to get horses and guides for their journey across the American frontier.

Walt Disney
Jane Sutcliffe (Author), Reading level: Ages 9-12,
Library Binding:
48 pages, 
Lerner Publications (February 2009)

ISBN-10: 1580137040 ISBN-13: 978-1580137041

True or False: In spite of huge fame and success, Walt Disney often struggled to make enough money. True! Many of Walt's movies were hits, but the money they made was always spent on his next project. Each idea Walt dreamed up was bigger than the last. And he spent whatever it took to make each movie perfect. He created Mickey Mouse on a train ride. He got the idea for Disneyland while watching his daughters ride the merry-go-round at the park. He brought live deer into the studio during the making of Bambi.


Ronald Regan
Jane Sutcliffe (author) Reading level: Ages 9-12 Library Binding: 48 pages Publisher: Lerner Publications (September 2008)
0822588943 ISBN-13: 978-0822588948

True or False? Ronald Reagan was an actor before he became president of the United States. True! He appeared in dozens of films and TV shows during his career. He even served as president of the Screen Actors Guild. 

Marian Anderson
Jane Sutcliffe author

Reading level:
Ages 9-12
Library Binding:
48 pages 
Lerner Publications (December 15, 2007)

ISBN-10: 0822571706 ISBN-13: 978-0822571704

True or False? Marian Anderson once received a standing ovation before she even sang her song. True! On January 7, 1955 Marian Anderson was the first black person to sing with the Metropolitan Opera in New York City. The audience applauded for five minutes before she could start singing.
John Deere
Jane Sutcliffe (author) Reading level: Ages 9-12 Paperback: 48 pages Publisher: Lerner Classroom (January 2007)

ISBN-10: 082256873X ISBN-13: 978-0822568735

Born in Rutland, Vermont, John Deere served a four-year apprenticeship to a blacksmith and worked in that trade until 1837. The implements being used by pioneer farmers of that day were cumbersome and ineffective for cutting and turning the prairie soil. To alleviate the problem, Deere and a partner, Major Leonard Andrus, designed three new plows in 1838. The plow was so successful that by 1846 Deere and his partner were selling a thousand a year. Deere then sold his interest to Andrus and organized a plow company in Moline, Illinois. After experimenting with imported English steel, he had a cast steel plow made for him in Pittsburgh. By 1855 he was selling more than 13,000 such plows a year. In 1868 his business was incorporated as Deere & Company, which is still in existence today.

John Adams

Jane Sutcliffe (Author) Reading level: Ages 9-12 Library Binding: 48 pages Publisher: Lerner Publishing Group (October 15, 2006)
ISBN-10: 0822559404 ISBN-13: 978-0822559405
Question: What did President John Adams want to be when he grew up? Answer: A farmer! But John’s father talked him out of it. He wanted John to go to school. If he hadn’t, American history might have been very different! John’s ideas about government became part of the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution. He had to spend a lot of time away from the country he loved. He represented the United States in Holland, France and England. He was the first president to live in the White House.

Abigail Adams
Jane Sutcliffe (author) Reading level: Ages 9-12 Library Binding: 48 pages Publisher: Lerner Publishing Group (October 15, 2006)

ISBN-10: 0822559420 ISBN-13: 978-0822559429


True or false? Abigail Adams was shy and quiet? False! Abigail had many strong opinions. She shared her ideas with her husband, President John Adams. Abigail wrote many letters. Some of them described her thoughts on how the new U.S. government should work. Abigail's son, John Quincy Adams became the sixth president of the United States. She traveled the world, but preferred reading and writing at her Massachusetts farmhouse.

Juan Ponce De Leon
Jane Sutcliffe (author) Reading level: Ages 9-12 Paperback: 48 pages Publisher: Lerner Classroom (January 2006)

ISBN-10: 0822557878 ISBN-13: 978-0822557876
A soldier, a farmer, a governor, and an explorer, Juan Ponce de León made his very first voyage with the famed Christopher Columbus. As an explorer, Ponce de León may be better known for what he
didn't discover—the fabled fountain of youth—than for what he did discover—Florida!

George S. Patton Jr.

Jane Sutcliffe (Author) Reading level: Ages 9-12 Paperback: 48 pages Publisher: Lerner Classroom (January 2005)

ISBN-10: 0822554615 ISBN-13: 978-0822554615

Editorial Review

From School Library Journal  Descriptions of dramatic war incidents and a variety of photographs capture the highlights of the general's career. Clear text and short chapters make the events move steadily along and solid explanations of Patton's nicknames and reputation are included. Only a bit of the man's personal life is shared; the focus is on the building of a general and the spirit of soldiering. The Web sites noted are impressive and up-to-date, but the cartoon drawings that open each chapter seem to belie the seriousness of the subject matter. This book could serve as a jump-start to a research project or a life study and should fill requests for a true army hero.–Erlene Bishop Killeen, Fox Prairie Elementary School, Stoughton, WI Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

John F. Kennedy
Jane Sutcliffe(Author)Reading level: Ages 9-12 Paperback: 48 pages Publisher: Lerner Classroom (October 2004)

 ISBN-10: 0822525402 ISBN-13: 978-0822525400

John F. Kennedy was the youngest man and the first Roman Catholic, ever elected president. Did you know that he was a best-selling author by age 24 and was stranded on a deserted island while in the Navy? As president, he created the Peace Corps, ended the Cuban Missile Crisis, and supported the Civil Rights Movement.

Chief Joseph
Jane Sutcliffe (author) Reading level: Ages 9-12
Paperback: 48 pages Publisher: Lerner Pub Group (L) (February 2004)

ISBN-10: 0822520680 ISBN-13: 978-0822520689

A peaceful man, Chief Joseph was a beloved Nez Perce leader who worked to protect his people and their lands. When white settlers took their lands, he spent years talking to officials to no avail. When a few rebel warriors in his tribe attacked settlers, the government sent soldiers to hunt down and remove the Nez Perce from their home. In a chase that stretched over seventeen hundred miles, the U.S. Army pursued the tribe until it captured Chief Joseph. Despite surrendering and vowing to “fight no more forever,” Chief Joseph and his people were put in prison where many of them died.

Milton Hershey
Jane Sutcliffe, (Author) Reading level: Ages 9-12 Paperback: 48 pages Publisher: Lerner Classroom (January 2004) ISBN-10: 0822549735 ISBN-13: 978-0822549734

Did you know that Milton Hershey created a special chocolate bar that didn’t melt for the army? When he was just nineteen years old, he opened his first candy shop. It wasn’t until he’d failed and started over six more times that Hershey succeeded as a candy maker. He eventually built his own chocolate factory, the town named after him, and a school for orphans to which he donated his entire fortune.

Amelia Earhart

Jane Sutcliffe (Author)  Reading level: Ages 9-12 Hardcover: 48 pages Publisher: Lerner Publishing Group (September 2002)

ISBN-10: 0822503964 ISBN-13: 978-0822503965

Amelia Earhart, the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean, was an aviation pioneer. Loved and respected by millions of people for her great courage and sense of adventure, the world was shocked when she disappeared while attempting to fly around the world. Although a search party claimed to find remains of her plane, her own crew disputed their discovery. To this day, the disappearance of the beloved aviator remains a mystery.

Paul Revere

Jane Sutcliffe (Author) Reading level: Ages 4-8 Paperback: 48 pages Publisher: Lerner Pub Group (L) (September 2002)

ISBN-10: 0822503808 ISBN-13: 978-0822503804

It’s not common knowledge, but Paul Revere never said, “The British are coming!” on his fateful ride, he actually yelled, “The Regulars are out!” Although history remembers Revere for this memorable ride, he also participated in the Boston Tea Party, fought in the Revolutionary War, worked as a silversmith, dentist, coppersmith, printer, and more.


Babe Didrikson Zaharias: All-Around Athlete
Jane Sutcliffe (Author), Jeni Reeves (Illustrator) Reading level: Ages 4-8 Paperback: 48 pages Publisher: Carolrhoda Books Inc. (January 2002)

ISBN-10: 1575054477 ISBN-13: 978-1575054476

Editorial Reviews
From Children's Literature

Her mother called her "Baby," not her given name of Mildred. Because she could hit a baseball so well, the neighborhood children called her "Babe" after the "King of Swat," and that was the way she was known her entire life. When Babe was a teenager, she told her family that one day she would participate in the Olympics. On her way to that goal, she played on a women's basketball team and won medals at track and field events. With her skills, determination, hard work and practice, she set three world records and won two gold medals and a silver at the 1932 Olympics -- earning the title, "World's Greatest Woman Athlete." Well-chosen incidents in simple sentences and large type present the story of this amazing athlete's childhood and her rise to national prominence. An afterword tells how she then went on to a career in professional golf. The soft-toned illustrations fulfill their purpose in providing supporting clues for the text in this beginning reader. Part of the "On My Own" series.

From School Library Journal

This easy-reader begins with Didrikson's childhood and ends with her track-and-field triumphs at the 1932 Olympics. Sutcliffe recounts that even as a youngster in Texas, Babe raced streetcars and literally ran errands in hopes of becoming the best athlete in the world. Her amazing high school basketball career led to a position on the Golden Cyclones, a group of female athletes sponsored by the Employers Casualty Insurance Company. The team manager also formed a track-and-field team that gave his star player the opportunity to become a national champion and participate in the Olympics. Soft, realistic colored-pencil drawings on every page add information and emotion. A note about her life after the Olympics is appended. This title will fill the need for more accessible titles about women in sports and serve as a stepping stone to Russell Freedman's Babe Didrikson Zaharias (Clarion, 1999).-Jean Gaffney, Dayton and Montgomery County Public Library, OH Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|

Jesse Owens
Jane Sutcliffe (Author), Janice Lee Porter (Illustrator) Hardcover: 48 pages  Publisher: Perfection Learning (September 2000)

ISBN-10: 0756967023 ISBN-13: 978-0756967024 

Overcoming sickness, poverty, and racial discrimination, Jesse Owens shattered track-and-field records and earned four Olympic gold medals in 1936.

Helen Keller

by Jane Sutcliffe, Elaine Verstraete (Illustrator) Pub. Date: June 2002 Publisher: Lerner Publishing Group Format: Library Binding, 48 pp

ISBN-13: 9780876146002 ISBN: 0876146000

Trapped in silence and darkness, Helen Keller longed to communicate with the world. Both deaf and blind, she struggled to express the thoughts locked in her mind. When Annie Sullivan became her teacher she learned to sign, read, and write. After graduating from college, Keller spent the rest of her life traveling around the world as an advocate for the deaf and blind

The Attack on Pearl Harbor (Graphic Library)

by Jane Sutcliffe
Jane Sutcliffe (Author)
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(Author), Bob Lentz (Illustrator) Reading level: Ages 9-12 Library Binding: 32 pages Publisher: Capstone Press (January 1, 2006)

ISBN-10: 0736854770 ISBN-13: 978-0736854771  

Tells the story of the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, and the United States' reaction to the event. Written in graphic-novel format.

Editorial Review:

The Attack on Pearl Harbor …all major facts are well covered.
From Children’s Literature Comprehensive Database, January 2006


Workshops Presented by Jane Sutcliffe

• How I Found Out My Teacher's Shoe Size: Research Skills for Young

Students. This is a fast-paced interactive presentation for third and fourth graders. (A shorter version is also available for younger grades). Students learn first-hand how the same research process used to create biographies can be used to find out just about anything, even...well, you can guess. Jane also shares some of the letters, photos, and artifacts she uses, with an emphasis on the pathway from source to written work. Instructions for an easy student project are included, too. A favorite!

Note: This presentation supports the goals expressed in the Language Arts Curriculum Framework for Connecticut and Rhode Island for grades 3 and 4. 45 to 50 minutes.

• In Words and Pictures.

How does a writer who can't draw create a comic book?

Jane shows how her graphic nonfiction book. The Attack on Pearl Harbor, was born, from start to finished product, in both words and pictures. There is a spirited reading at the end.
30 to 40 minutes.

• Nonfiction and the Scene of the Crime: A Writing Workshop for Older Students.
What do nonfiction researchers and crime scene investigators have in common? More than you might think. This workshop gives motivated middle-schoolers a more thorough understanding of the research process and what it takes to collect the "evidence" they need.

2 hours, limited to eight students.

Rates are $850 per day. Additional travel expenses apply outside southern New England

Jane Sutcliffe
128 Eaton Road
Tolland, CT 06084

Phone (860)978-0074


Website: http://www.janesutcliffe.com   

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