Catherine Reef

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http://catherinereef.com/

Catherine Reef

A teenager from Illinois volunteers for ambulance duty in World War I and begins a life of adventure that will inspire a series of world-famous novels and change the character of 20th-century fiction....

African Americans, people born and raised in the United States, build a nation on the west coast of Africa....

A Viennese neurologist, frustrated with the accepted treatments for stubborn cases, explores the human mind and triggers more than a century of controversy....

Incredible stories enrich our history, and these are the stories I tell in my books. I write nonfiction, mostly works of biography and American history.

Some of my biographies are about creative people, including the novelist Ernest Hemingway, the poets E. E. Cummings and Walt Whitman, and the composer George Gershwin. I have also written about the father of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud, and the African-American labor leader A. Philip Randolph.

My interest in African-American history led me to write This Our Dark Country, about the founding of Liberia by African Americans in the nineteenth century. It also inspired Africans in America, which reveals the lasting influence of enslaved Africans on American culture. Children take part in history, too, and Alone in the World looks into the lives of children living long ago who depended on society for care.

Some of my books are reference works. Working in America tells the story of laborers in the United States from the Revolutionary War through the present, using hundreds of quotes from the workers themselves. Poverty in America looks at the lives of the poor throughout our nation’s history and society’s attitude toward them.

Like all writers, I love a good story, and I find the best ones in our shared past. When I write I am always learning, and nothing pleases me more than to share what I have learned with you, my reader.

My Books

African Americans in the Military

Facts on File, 2010

Here is the history of African Americans defending their nation and fighting prejudice in the U.S. Armed Forces told through the life stories of more than 125 key participants.

Ernest Hemingway: A Writer's Life
Clarion, 2009

 

Junior Library Guild selection, 2009

Golden Kite Honor Book, 2010

 

Education and Learning in AmericaEducation
Facts On File, 2008

“...recommended for high school and public library circulating collections.”
--American Reference Books Annual, May 29, 2009

Poverty in America
Facts On File, 2007

"...a rounded portrayal of the plight of the poor from colonial days to the present...in prose accessible to a high-school student yet sophisticated enough to engage an adult."
~Kirkus Reviews, September 25, 2009

 

Working in America

Facts On File, 2007

"an understandable and interesting survey of an important aspect of the American experience."
~Choice

 

E. E. Cummings: A Poet's Life
Clarion, 2006


Junior Library Guild Premier Selection Award, 2006
New York Public Library's Books for the Teen Age, 2007
YALSA's Best Books for Young Adults, 2008

 


Alone in the World: Orphans and Orphanages in America
Clarion Books, 2005


Junior Library Guild Selection, 2005
Kansas State Reading Circle Recommendation, 2005
Cooperative Children's Book Center (CCBC) Choices, 2006


William Grant Still: African-American Composer


Morgan Reynolds, 2003

Through hard work and perseverance, the talented Still became a respected composer of musical works including symphonies, ballets, and operas.

 

 

 

 

 

This Our Dark Country: The American Settlers of Liberia


Clarion, 2002

 


Recommended title, American Council of Teachers of English, 2003
New York Public Library's Books for the Teen Age, 2003
Voice of Youth Advocates Nonfiction Honor List, 2003

 

 

A. Philip Randolph: Union Leader and Civil Rights Crusader


Enslow, 2001

This biography examines the life and times of the man who founded the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, the first African-American labor union, in 1925, and who conceived of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom held on August 28, 1963.

 

Sigmund Freud: Pioneer of the Mind


Clarion, 2001


2001 Sydney Taylor Award, Association of Jewish Libraries
National Jewish Book Award Finalist, 2002
Voice of Youth Advocates Nonfiction Honor List, 2002
New York Public Library's 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing, 2001
New York Public Library's Books for the Teen Age, 2002
Capitol Choices, 2001

 

 

 

Paul Laurence Dunbar: Portrait of a Poet
Enslow, 2000


Notable Children's Trade Book in the Field of Social Studies, 2001

 

George Gershwin: American Composer
Morgan Reynolds, 2000

"Reef...employs a narrative style that makes the pages of her straightforward, well-documented biography of a pivotal figure in American music as engrossing as a novel."
~Kirkus Reviews, December 1, 1999

 

Africans in America: The Spread of People and Culture


Facts On File, 1999


New York Public Library's Books for the Teen Age, 2000

 

 

John Steinbeck


Clarion, 1996; Clarion paperback, 2004


"Worthy of Special Note," 1997 Jefferson Cup Award Committee
Voice of Youth Advocates Nonfiction Honor List, 1997
American Library Association Notable Children's Book, 1997
New York Public Library's Books for the Teen Age, 1997
Hungry Mind Children's Book of Distinction

 

Walt Whitman
Clarion, 1995; Clarion paperback, 2002


1994-1995 Joan G. Sugarman Children's Book Award
1996 Notable Children's Trade Book in the Field of Social Studies
American Bookseller Pick of the Lists, Spring 1995
School Library Journal Best Book of the Year
New York Public Library's 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing
New York Public Library's Books for the Teen Age, 1996
Hungry Mind Children's Book of Distinction

 


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