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John Steinbeck Hardcover – March 31, 1996

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Fresh from her YA biography of Walt Whitman, Reef again subtly traces the links between the life and the work of a major American writer. This story begins in the middle, as John Steinbeck (1902-1968) travels among the migrant laborers of the Great Depression in California, gathering material for newspaper articles and for what would be his greatest work, The Grapes of Wrath. Other key experiences are presented chronologically, from the author's childhood in Salinas, Calif. (which he drew on for East of Eden) to a scientific trip along the coast to Mexico, during which he heard the story that formed the basis for The Pearl. According to Reef, Steinbeck did not seek fame or critical approval, wishing instead to make "people understand each other" in his varied writings, a goal that perhaps explains his enthusiastic embrace by the public as well as by the Pulitzer and Nobel juries. This thoughtful story, supplemented by more than 70 black-and-white photos, is as nonjudgmental and upbeat as Steinbeck himself strove to be, and an excellent introductory work. Ages 10-up.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Grade 7-10-This biography is more a photographic essay and historical narrative of the 1920s-1960s than an in-depth portrayal of this important American writer. Steinbeck's compassion for working people and his deep belief in human goodness are indeed emphasized, but Reef stresses the events that had the greatest influence on his work. The Great Depression, the Dust Bowl, the plight of migrant workers, and World War II are part of the American scene so well depicted in his writings. Not much attention is given to Steinbeck's personal life, although the author does touch upon his worrisome, serious nature and his unease with fame. Abundant black-and-white photos are a favorable feature in bringing the era to life. Some critical analysis of his writing is interspersed with the historical facts. This is a very readable introduction to the writer's life and work, but it is not as introspective as Jay Parini's John Steinbeck (Holt, 1995).
Judy R. Johnston, Auburn High School, WA
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 5 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 980L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Clarion Books; First edition (March 31, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0395712785
  • ISBN-13: 978-0395712788
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 0.4 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,806,879 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Catherine Reef is an award-winning author of nonfiction books for young people and adults. Her new dual biography, FRIDA & DIEGO: ART, LOVE, LIFE, explores the lives and work of two remarkable artists admired in Mexico and throughout the world, Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, in a colorful, richly illustrated format. One of Booklist's Top Ten Arts Books for Youth 2014, FRIDA & DIEGO received starred reviews from Kirkus, School Library Journal, and Booklist.

Catherine also wrote THE BRONTE SISTERS: THE BRIEF LIVES OF CHARLOTTE, EMILY, AND ANNE. This popular young adult book received three starred reviews and was named to several annual lists of "best" books, including Kirkus's Best Books for Teens, Bank Street College's Best Children's Books, and the Amelia Bloomer Project List.

Among Catherine's other notable books are JANE AUSTEN: A LIFE REVEALED, one of Booklist's Top Ten Biographies for Youth; LEONARD BERNSTEIN AND AMERICAN MUSIC, which Kidsbiographer called "in many ways, a music appreciation course, one that the composer-conductor himself would approve"; ERNEST HEMINGWAY: A WRITER'S LIFE, a Golden Kite Honor Book and a Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People; and E. E. CUMMINGS: A POET'S LIFE, one of YALSA's Best Books for Young Adults and one of the New York Public Library's Book for the Teen Age.

Catherine works hard at her writing, but she also loves to travel, read, work with her hands, and spend time with her family and friends. She likes to cook and can bake a prize-worthy apple pie.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 10, 2000
Format: Hardcover
The Book John Steinbeck gave me biographical info I needed to do my US History Project. I found anything and everything I ever needed or wanted to know about John Steinbeck, even what his life was like in the 1930's. This is what my project focused on: John Steinbeck's life in the 30's. I definately got what I needed from this book. I would reccomend this book to anyone in need of general and/or specific biographical info on John Steinbeck.
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