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Joan W. Blos



Joan W. Blos
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 8 to 12
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   9.66

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    fondness, imaginative, nineteenth, overlap, perspective, evident, notable, psychology, largely, storyline, daredevil, uproar, wilderness, numerous, finding, previous
     content words:    Joan W., Vassar College, New York, City University, Yale University, Child Study Center, Connecticut Association, Mental Health, Bank Street College, Bank Street Readers


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Joan W. Blos
By Jamie Kee
  

1     Children's author Joan W. Blos began her writing career later in life. Since the publication of her first book, she has completed numerous picture books, children's historical fiction books, and even a play. Blos's real passion, however, is writing picture books, and this fondness is evident after reading her books.
 
2     Blos was born in 1928. She didn't grow up with plans of becoming a professional writer. In fact, she didn't write her first book until she was nearly forty years old. Blos studied psychology and child development and received a bachelor's degree from Vassar College and a master's degree from the College of the City of New York, now City University of New York. She continued studying clinical psychology at Yale University, working as a research assistant at the Child Study Center. For two years, Blos reviewed children's books for the Connecticut Association of Mental Health. She later worked at the Bank Street College of Education teaching children's literature as well as giving lectures at other educational institutes. In addition, she worked as an editor for the Bank Street Readers and Writers' Laboratory. Around this time period, Blos first began writing children's books. She firmly believes that her previous life experiences impacted her writing, and she would not be where she is in her writing career without them. According to Blos, "Everything that has happened in my life has its place in my writing."
 
3     Blos wrote her first children's books in the 1960s: In the City (1964), People Read (1964), Joe Finds a Way (1967), and "It's Spring!" She Said (1968). In 1971 she published Just Think, with author Betty Miles, but her most notable book came eight years later. A Gathering of Days: A New England Girl's Journal, 1830-32, published in 1979, is an historical fiction novel written in diary form. It tells the story of fourteen-year-old Catherine Cabot Hall and the challenges she faces growing up in the nineteenth century. Blos won the 1980 Newbery Medal for A Gathering of Days as well as the American Book Award and other recognitions.

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