Kem Knapp SawyerSome of my favorite things (in no particular order)

Riding the 5th Avenue bus to the Lycée, counting cookies my grandmother made, my Latin teacher.

Directing The Wizard of Oz at Yale, the main reading room at Sterling Library, staging “Our Town” at the St. Louis Arch, reading Eleanor Roosevelt's hand-written notes, advising Corcoran College BFA students on their senior thesis.

Pushing a baby stroller, “seasonal foods” like pumpkin pie with sour cream, peppermint ice cream and peach cobbler, play-dough, camping and wind-blown tents, riding bikes, busses and trains in China.


Hiking in Nepal, seeing gorillas in Congo (up close and without the mist), picnics on the beach, working at the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, tracing the steps of people who lived 150 years ago.


Long walks (and short walks), sleep-overs with grandchildren, a good book.


Please visit


Champion of Freedom, Nelson Mandela Champion of Freedom: Nelson Mandela. Morgan Reynolds, 2012. Follows the life of Nelson Mandela from a herder in a small village in South Africa to president of his country. Discusses Mandela’s anti-apartheid movement, his twenty-seven years in prison, and his efforts to bring peace and unity to South Africa.
The Amazing Underground Railroad The Amazing Underground Railroad. Enslow Publishers, 2012. New edition of The Underground Railroad. Stories of the men, women and children who escaped from slavery, the lives of “railroad conductors” (both African American and white), court cases involving fugitives, and life in the “promised land”—Canada and Britain.
Champion of Freedom: Mohandas Gandhi Champion of Freedom: Mohandas Gandhi. Morgan Reynolds, 2011. This portrait of the man Nehru called “no ordinary light” explores Gandhi’s formative years—his childhood in Gujarat, law studies in London, and his 21-year stay in South Africa—as well his campaign for justice in India, his philosophy of nonviolent resistance, and his struggle to free India from British rule.
Harriet Tubman Harriet Tubman. DK Biography, 2010. Harriet Tubman escaped from slavery in 1849 to become a courageous conductor on the Underground Railroad. Along the way she formed deep friendships—with fugitive slaves and anti-slavery leaders. During the Civil War she worked as a scout, spy and nurse for the Union and, later in life, advocated for people whose rights had been denied—all the while taking enormous risks. Her passion, wit, charm, and the wealth of her experience gave power to her voice.
Abigal Adams Abigail Adams. DK Biography, 2009. Abigail Adams was a minister's daughter, the wife of one president and the mother of another—she was also an educator and accomplished writer. Her letters provide a record of the birth of a nation and a window into the character of an independent and compassionate woman. For her family, she was the strong, often lone provider during turbulent times. For American women, she has become an inspiration.
Eleanor Roosevelt Eleanor Roosevelt. DK Biography, 2006. The story of a shy girl who grew up to become a much-loved teacher, prolific writer, political activist, First Lady, and advocate of human rights. She has encouraged young people around the world “to hope rather than to fear, to try rather than to not try.”
Anne Frank Anne Frank. DK Biography, 2004. Introduces readers to the Holocaust and to the young girl who lived in hiding while aspiring to be a writer. A tribute to Anne Frank’s courage, this book also includes details of her early childhood, life in the concentration camp, and the publication of the diary after her death.
Freedom Calls: Journey of a Slave Girl Freedom Calls: Journey of a Slave Girl. White Mane Kids, 2001. Tells the story of Louisa’s escape from slavery and of her friendship with Abby, the daughter of an abolitionist newspaper publisher. This novel is based on a true incident from 1848 – the escape of 76 slaves from a Washington, DC, harbor and their capture aboard the Pearl. Listed in the Pennsylvania School Librarian Association “Top Ten (Or So) Fiction Titles for 2001.”
Refugees: Seeking a Safe Haven Refugees: Seeking a Safe Haven. Enslow Publishers, 1995. Examines the problems refugees face in various places around the world, including Haiti, Bosnia, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. Discusses the history of refugee movements, the special needs of women and child refugees, and organizations that aid refugees.
Marjory Stoneman Douglas: Guardian of the Everglades Marjory Stoneman Douglas: Guardian of the Everglades. Discovery Enterprises, 1994. The story of a strong environmentalist who lived to be 108. A Floridian and a well-known writer, Marjory Stoneman Douglas never tired of taking on a cause. In her seventies she started a crusade to save the Florida Everglades—a campaign that helped preserve a unique part of the ecosystem for generations to come. Illustrated by Leslie Carow.
Lucretia Mott: Friend of Justice Lucretia Mott: Friend of Justice. Discovery Enterprises, 1991. Second edition, 1998. Picture book biography of the 19th century Quaker abolitionist and women’s rights advocate. Illustrated by Leslie Carow. Introduction by Rosalynn Carter.
The U. S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency The U. S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency. Chelsea House Publishers, 1990. Examines the organization of the agency, founded by President John F. Kennedy in 1961, and discusses the history of the arms race, arms control and disarmament issues, and treaty negotiations.
The National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities The National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities. Chelsea House Publishers, 1989. Traces the controversial history of federal support for the arts and humanities from the early days of the Republic to the late 20th century and the establishment of the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Editor of two anthologies for young readers:

  • Pennsylvania Dutch: The Amish and the Mennonites
  • Irish Americans

both published by Discovery Enterprises in 1998.






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