Hamline News


MFAC Alum Book Launch

Join tracy this saturday, april 1, for back-to-back book launches

John Deere, That's Who!
April 1 at 11:00 at Wild Rumpus Books 
Facebook Event

Noah Webster's Fighting Words
April 1 at 2:00 pm at Red Balloon Bookshop 
Facebook Event  

Find more on the "What's New" page of Tracy's website.


ABOUT noah webster's fighting words, by tracy Nelson maurer (MFAC '09)

Published by: Millbrook Press
Publication date: April 1, 2017 
Picture Book Biography
Grades 2-5, 40 pages 

Illustrated by: Mircea Catusanu
Order the book: Lerner Books

Noah Webster was a proud patriot who wanted to help the American colonies gain independence from Great Britain in every way. But he didn’t fire a gun. Instead, he fought with his pen.

One of the first best-selling authors in the new United States, Noah Webster wrote his American-English Dictionary and included truly American words—skunk, for example. He argued for easier ways to spell words instead of the British versions. He wrote and wrote, and argued and argued. All the while, Noah was forever correcting his own books and articles—perhaps even editing this delightfully illustrated biography!

Illustrator Info:
Mircea Catusanu was born in Romania and studied painting at the National University of Arts in Bucharest. He now lives and works in New York City as a freelance illustrator and painter, incidental photographer, and occasional author.  


recognition & PRAISE for Noah Webster's fighting words

Awarded a National Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) and Amazon.com Nonfiction Work-in-Progress Grant

Two qualities of this picture book combine to make it engaging and amusing: Webster is introduced to readers right on the cover, where he establishes himself as editor of the content. Throughout, his “fictional ghost” adds playful editorial comments to what the author has related about his life and accomplishments. The second element that makes the title so delightful is the collaged illustrations, which incorporate archival images and excerpts from primary documents in a visually appealing, lighthearted way. Students of all ages (and adults!) will appreciate this brief, comical, fact-filled sketch of an American icon.
—School Library Journal (starred review) 

Maurer paints a picture of a man secure in his opinions [and] Catusanu creates lively, patchwork scenes…a boisterous account of a singular contributor to America’s linguistic legacy.
—Publishers Weekly (starred review) 

Maurer...has crafted a text that reflects Webster's feisty personality and provides enough history to establish sufficient context for Webster's work. Catusanu's mixed-media illustrations combine child-friendly depictions of Webster, Benjamin Franklin, and others with period drawings and excerpts...An attractive volume demonstrating that even words themselves have a story.
—Kirkus Reviews

The writing style elicits humor [and] the illustrations use collage and speech bubbles for an appealing, contemporary feel. A time line, sources, bibliography, and author’s notes reinforce the historical element of this Monty Pythonesque tale.



Published by: Henry Holt and Company Books for Young Readers
Publication date: March 28, 2017 
Picture Book Biography
Ages 4-8, 40 pages 

Illustrated by: Tim Zeltner
Order the book: Macmillan Publishers

Back in the 1830s, who was a young blacksmith from Vermont, about to make his mark on American history? John Deere, that’s who!

Who moved to Illinois, where farmers were struggling to plow through the thick, rich soil they called gumbo? Who tinkered and tweaked and tested until he invented a steel plow that sliced into the prairie easy as you please?

Long before the first tractor, who changed farming forever? John Deere, that’s who!

Beautiful illustrations—including spectacular landscapes—reflect the time period and bring John Deere's remarkable story to life.

Illustrator Info:
Tim Zeltner is an award-winning artist and the illustrator of Power Down, Little Robot by Anna Staniszewski and Little Boo by Stephen Wunderli. He lives in Ontario, Canada, with his wife and dog.


RECOGNITION & PRAISE FOR john deere: that's who!

Jr. Library Guild Selection; Frances and Kermit Rudolf Nonfiction Scholarship Award, Hamline University

Text is smoothly conversational and has just enough details to interest without overwhelming... Illustrations are gorgeous: semi-primitive paintings with deliberate crackling for an aging effect. The winding patterns of rivers and plows are especially noteworthy.
—Kirkus Reviews 

Beautiful illustrations—including spectacular landscapes—reflect the time period and bring John Deere's remarkable story to life.
Jr. Library Guild



Tracy Nelson Maurer has researched and written more than 100 informational books, ranging from prekindergarten A-B-C books to middle/upper-grade hi-low titles on crafts, sports cars, extreme sports, cheerleading, and other fun topics. Her picture book Storm Codes won the Northeastern Minnesota Book Award Children’s Literature Honor in addition to other recognition. Her nonfiction books for schools and libraries have received favorable reviews from Booklist, ALA and VOYA; some served as examples in Models for Teaching Writing-Craft Target Skills by writing expert Marcia S. Freeman (Maupin House, 2005).

Tracy holds an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Hamline University and lives with her family near Minneapolis, Minnesota. 

Find her on Facebook or at TracyMaurerWriter.com