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About the Author

Katherine Paterson was born in China in 1932 - she was the middle of five children. Her parents were missionaries and during her childhood the family travelled extensively. After graduating she was a teacher in Virginia and later she travelled to Japan where she lived for four years. She currently lives in Vermont, USA, with her husband John. The Patersons have four grown children, two of whom are adopted. She loves to teach, read and cook. Katherine Paterson is twice winner of the Newberry Medal- in 1978 for Bridge to Terabithia and in 1981 for Jacob I have Loved.


This historical novel about a maltreated orphan "is full of revelations and surprises," said PW's starred review; "first-rate entertainment." Ages 10-14. (Oct.)

Gr 5-9-All of his young life, Jip (short for Gypsy) has wondered why he was abandoned along a road as a toddler. Raised on a Vermont poor farm, he is gentle and has a gift for communicating with animals. In 1855, his life is drastically changed, beginning with the arrival of Putnam Nelson, better known as "the lunatic." Forced to live in a crude wooden cage, Put, with Jip's compassion and guidance, proves to be articulate and intelligent when not experiencing one of his spells. When a woman with several children takes up residence at the poor farm, Jip attends school for the first time on a continuous basis. With the encouragement of the steadfast and respected Teacher, Jip discovers that he has a "mind for books." When a mysterious stranger appears in town seeking Jip, the secret of his origins is gradually revealed: he is the son of a biracial slave and her master. Helped by Quakers and Teacher, Jip and Put embark upon the Underground Railroad with tragic results that nevertheless result in Jip's eventual freedom in Canada. Author Katherine Paterson (Dutton, 1996) is an engaging storyteller, blending history, romance, ethical issues, and mystery to create an intriguing and thought-provoking tale with a dramatic ending that will linger in the minds of listeners. Narrator John McDonough captures just the right nuances of the Vermont style of speech. This strong story will find a place in collections serving upper elementary through middle school listeners.-Susan McCaffrey, Sturgis Middle School, MI

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