In Steamboat School (Jump at the Sun, 2016), an historical picture book based on true events, author Deborah Hopkinson recounts the story of Reverend...

In Steamboat School (Jump at the Sun, 2016), an historical picture book based on true events, author Deborah Hopkinson recounts the story of Reverend John Berry Meachum’s brave act to defy an 1847 Missouri law designed to prohibit African American children from attending school. This fictional account is told from the point of view of a young boy who is at first a student at Meachum’s secret school, which held in a church basement. But when the Missouri law is passed and it is no longer safe to continue teaching the students there, Meachum enlists his students and decides to build a steamboat to house a new, legal, school set afloat on the Mississippi River and thus on federal property. The book concludes with a nonfiction afterword about Reverend Meachum’s life and the research behind the book.

Deborah Hopkinson is the author of more than 40 books for young readers including picture books, middle grade fiction, and nonfiction. In her presentations at schools and conferences, she helps bring history and research alive. Her work is especially well suited for STEM and CCSS connections.

Her nonfiction includes Courage & Defiance, Stories of Spies, Saboteurs and Survivors in WWII Denmark, Titanic: Voices from the Disaster, a Robert F. Sibert Award honor book and YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction honor book, and Shutting out the Sky, Life in the Tenements of New York 1880-1924, an NCTE Orbis Pictus award honor book and Jane Addams Award honor book. Deborah’s award-winning picture books include Sky Boys, How They Built the Empire State Building, an ALA Notable and Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor book and Apples to Oregon won the Golden Kite Award and Spur Storytelling Award.


Susan Raab is president of Raab Associates, an internationally recognized agency that specializes in marketing literature, products and initiatives that help improve the lives of young people. Clients have included National Geographic, Scholastic, the International Board on Books for Young People, and bestselling authors and illustrators. Susan is marketing advisor for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). She’s also a journalist reporting on publishing, education and human rights. Her work as a broadcast correspondent has been hosted by the University of Connecticut, and by the University of Florida’s Recess Radio, a program syndicated to 500 public radio stations. Her many interviews, including with Art Spiegelman, Jon Scieszka, Norton Juster, Laurie Halse Anderson and many others talking about art and literature can be heard here. Follow Susan at: https://twitter.com/sraab18

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