Graduate School of Library and Information Science
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

501 East Daniel
Champaign, IL 61820


Picture Books

Seven Brave Women by Betsy Hearne; illus. by Bethanne Andersen. HarperCollins/Morrow/Greenwillow, 1997.

  • Winner, 1998 Jane Addams Children's Book Award
  • Boston Globe/Horn Book Honor Book
  • New York Times Notable Book
  • Children's Book of the Year (Child Study Children's Book Committee)
  • Smithsonian Magazine Notable Book for Children
  • Notable Children's Trade Book in the Field of Social Studies, NCSS/CBC
  • ALA Notable Booklist Editors Choice
  • Horn Book Fanfare Honor List
  • Working Mother Magazine Best Book
  • New York Family Magazine Best Book
"A splendid book for children, simply told but with a dead-on eye for the telling details that define a life. This is a wonderful book about seven wonderful lives, and how the women who lived them created America, farm by farm, house by house, quilt by quilt, book by book." —Anna Quindlen, The New York Times Book Review

"From anecdotal family reminiscences, Hearne has crafted a loving yet forthright series of portraits, in which a young girl recalls the remarkable lives of seven of her female ancestors from Revolutionary War days to the unhappy years of the Vietnam War. The illustrations are an effective blend of impressionist landscapes and figurative studies of the principal subjects. A splendid tribute to women and their history." —The Horn Book Magazine

Cover of Who's in the Hall Who's in the Hall: A Mystery in Four Chapters by Betsy Hearne. HarperCollins/Morrow/Greenwillow Books, 2000.

"Betsy Hearne's dialogue is apt and funny, sparkling with rhyming repartee that will recommend it to kids and reading teachers alike. Christy Hale's dynamic cartoon-style illustrations pick up the story's humor and help keep characters straight with a creative assortment of full-page art, vignettes, and frame sequences. A dandy choice for newly independent readers." —The Horn Book Magazine

Fiction and Poetry

Cover of HauntingsHauntings: and Other Tales of Danger, Love, and Sometimes Loss
by Betsy Hearne. HarperCollins/Greenwillow, 2007.

"From Ireland of several centuries ago to present-day America and on to the afterworld, the settings of these 15 stories are painted with sure, deft, and simple strokes that use both action and mood to focus the reader's imagination." —Francisca Goldsmith, Booklist 

"Readers will hum with pleasure in the afterglow of each story in this powerful collection. " —Kirkus Reviews

". . . those looking for thoughtful, finely crafted explorations of the things that haunt us will be richly rewarded. Endnotes explain the basis for each compelling tale." —Sharon Rawlins, School Library Journal

Cover of Wishes, Kisses, and PigsThe Canine Connection: Stories about Dogs and People by Betsy Hearne. Simon & Schuster/Margaret K. McElderry, 2003.

"The subtitle reads 'Stories About Dogs and People,' and dog lovers will pick up this book eagerly, but it's the accurate and wry observations of people that are most memorable." —Mary Harris Russell, Chicago Tribune

" . . . these dogs are not so much characters as catalysts whose existence precipitates insights, transforms relationships, and changes the lives of human teenagers." —The Horn Book Magazine, starred review

"Hearne doesn't load up on overly sentimental situations; instead, she creates empathetic realities. From hopeful and heartening to tragic and heartrending, these stories are well drawn, told with refinement, and enlivened with credible characters, both human and canine." —Alison Follos, School Library Journal

"Each of the 12 stories features a teen narrator, either first or third person omniscient, coming from different perspectives, voices, and pathos. Whether the telling is funny or poignant, uplifting or pitiful, each dog's emergence into the scene affects a change, promotes a hope, or signals a loss. The narrator's voices are captured perfectly, as each short story chimes to the rhythm and vocabulary best suited for the unique characters involved. Best of all, Hearne writes the concerns and challenges of teens as if each word came from their hearts. No dog-loving teen will want to miss the connection." —Kirkus Reviews

Cover of Wishes, Kisses, and PigsWishes, Kisses, and Pigs by Betsy Hearne; illus. by Leslie A. Baker. Simon & Schuster/Margaret K. McElderry, 2001.

"Hearne has written a delightful novel about the dangers of getting what you wish for . . . Children will enjoy this enchanting story as much as the parents with whom they will want to share it." —Betsy Fraser, School Library Journal

"In lightning-quick chapters, Hearne skillfully builds the escalating mayhem . . . Down-home humor enlivens the enchantments; the denouement involves putting together "all the wishes, kisses, and spells . . . for one big magic bang." Despite the book's far-reaching comedy, Hearne allows that balance is necessary; the fairy-tale resolution satisfyingly admits "how nature's magical and magic's natural."—The Horn Book Magazine

Cover of Listening for Leroy Listening for Leroy by Betsy Hearne. Simon and Schuster/Margaret K. McElderry Books, 1998.

"Hearne's lush, lyrical prose, filled with visual and aural detail, eloquently captures the sights and sounds of the rural South. Realistic dialogue, well-defined characters, and fairly presented complex issues, combine for a heartfelt look at the growing pains of an idealistic girl experiencing a less than ideal reality." —Shelle Rosenfeld, Booklist (starred review)

"Exploring the problems of prejudice and racism, this novel takes a glimpse into the life of an Alabama family in the 1950s . . . A superbly written book in which the main character must learn to fight for what is right, even if it means dealing with negative social consequences." —Douglas K. Dillon, Book Report

"Here's a quiet, plainly autobiographical novel about a white family and civil rights, set in the mid-50's in Alabama and Tennessee." —New York Times Book Review

Cover of Eliza's Dog Eliza's Dog by Betsy Hearne; illus. by Erica Thurston. Simon & Schuster/Margaret K. McElderry, 1996.

  • CCBC Choice Book (Cooperative Center for Children's Books), 1996
"As she learns the responsibility involved in owning and caring for a dog, Eliza . . . begins to see her parents and older sister in new ways and to grow up herself. Eliza is a funny, likable character with strong passions . . . The story of a bright almost-ten-year-old who spends a lot of time alone (her parents are very involved in their work) and finds companionship in her dog will ring true for young readers. A pleasing, well-told story." —The Horn Book Magazine

Cover of Polaroid and Other Poems of View Polaroid and Other Poems of View by Betsy Hearne. MacMillan/Margaret K. McElderry Books, 1991.

"With rhythms that are capricious and compelling, imagery that rarely settles for the familiar or the comfortable, and insights that are as confounding as they are true, the poems in this volume are clearly the work of an artist in control of her medium . . . For the true lover of good poetry, it will make a perfect bedside companion." —The Horn Book Magazine

"With deft touches of wordplay and wit, often rueful or quizzical but always thoughtful, an appealingly personal collection. Beautifully composed b&w photos of imaginatively appropriate subjects introduce each section." —Kirkus Reviews

" . . . Hearne takes the camera as a metaphor, drawing connections between the pictures offered by the poet and those of the photographer . . . Varying in tone from graceful haiku to colloquial love poem to stately myth obliquely told in blank verse, this is a fine collection of original verse." —Carolyn Phelan, Booklist

Cover of Love Lines Love Lines: Poetry in Person by Betsy Hearne. MacMillan/Margaret K. McElderry Books, 1987.

" . . . a collection rich in ideas and imagery, combing to celebrate love's infinite variety. It should appeal to anyone mature enough to yearn after love." —Kirkus Reviews

"Love Lines reminds us that there is poetry in daily life—in riding a motorcycle, in watching a child play . . . Hearne's poetry has much appeal; it is immediate, accessible, and personal." —San Francisco Chronicle

Cover of Eli's Ghost Eli's Ghost by Betsy Hearne. MacMillan/Margaret K. McElderry Books, 1987.

  • Carl Sandburg Award, 1988
''''Eli's Ghost'' is a masterful piece of storytelling, with a warm and cozy quality enhanced by Ronald Himler's beautiful, soft drawings. This fanciful and charming tale conveys a fine sense of the Old South - a place that to many has always seemed as intangible and inexplicable as the ghosts that haunt it."—Deborah Felder, The New York Times Book Review

"Mood and character are deftly etched in short opening chapters that detail each person, giving an explicit flavor of the rural southern setting."—Booklist

Cover of Home Home by Betsy Hearne. Atheneum/Margaret K. McElderry Books, 1979.

"We meet Megan, last of the dead giants' daughters, where we left her at the finale of "South Star," in a sequel even more enthralling than the first story. Sensing that Brendan, lost king of the giants, is still alive, Megan leaves . . . to search for the long-gone leader..The battle to release the prisoner is the climactic moment in Hearne's magic creation." —Publisher's Weekly

Cover of South Star South Star by Betsy Hearne. Atheneum/Margaret K. McElderry Books, 1977.

"In a long-ago fantasy time, Megan—the last remaining daughter of a family of giants—is engulfed without warning in a terrible storm and separated from her parents . . . [Hearne] successfully creates suspense and casts and atmosphere of premeval magic."——The Horn Book Magazine

"Hearne's first fantasy for children says a great deal about founders and pioneers—those who stay and those who must push on—and about the changeable stars which guide them . . . a tale that is constantly on the move." —Language Arts, Book reMarks

Professional and Scholarly

Cover of Narrative Compass A Narrative Compass: Stories That Guide Women's Lives, ed. by Betsy Hearne & Roberta Seelinger Trites. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, c2009.

"A collection of 19 fresh and surprising essays that blend the personal with the critical, historical, and social. . . . In each elegant interpretation, the author traces the ripple effects of a story that thrilled or provoked her, a story that became a catalyst for a lifelong passion, and a story that became a virtual home, to return to for clarification.  Rich and mind-opening testimony to the profound, even chthonic power of tales well told." —Donna Seaman, Booklist

Cover of Choosing Books for Children Choosing Books for Children: A Commonsense Guide, 3rd ed. by Betsy Hearne with Deborah Stevenson. Urbana : University of Illinois Press, c1999.

"Like the earlier editions (1981, 1990), this revision offers articulate, authoritative, and thought-provoking discussions of the books and the issues surrounding them, as well as solid bibliographies and advice on choosing books and introducing them to young people. Librarians will want to update their parenting collections with this friendly, reliable guide to the world of children's literature." —Carolyn Phelan, Booklist

Cover of Beauty and the Beast Beauty and the Beast: Visions and Revisions of an Old Tale by Betsy Hearne; University of Chicago Press, 1989.

"A lucid historical account of the story's transmutations, finishing with an eloquent plea to remember that children are the true audience."—Marina Warner, Times Literary Supplement

"[The book] is filled with Hearne's wonder and delight at the richness of the story and the visions of its many adaptations. Her prose is sprightly and clear as she teases out of each version its particular charms." —Patrick Reardon, Chicago Tribune

"Hearne's book is a delightfully written reminder of the power of literature in shaping folklore—and our perceptions of folklore—and of folklore's power in shaping literature."—David E. Gay, Folklore Forum

Books Edited

Cover of Library Trends Library Trends, 47(3): Folkloristic Approaches in Library and Information Science, issue ed. by Betsy Hearne. Champaign: GSLIS, 1999.

"The papers in this issue of Library Trends and the joint academic experience from which they arise present both unusual personal perspectives and significant messages for LIS of valuing the context and cluture of all folk groups . . . I hope Betsy Hearne continues her courses, and look forward to further enthralling papers linking the most ancient, enduring and pervasive knowledge with modern world of information science." —Lucy Evans, Journal of Documentation

Cover of From Fireplace to Cyberspace Story: From Fireplace to Cyberspace, ed. by Betsy Hearne, Janice Del Negro, Christine Jenkins, and Deborah Stevenson. Champaign: GSLIS, 1998.

"Although our technologically evolving society may be creating and telling more stories than ever before in electronic form, Story: From Fireplace to Cyberspace . . . stresses that the oral storytelling tradition is not dying out. Indeed, it is thriving as we continue to bring children and stories together." —Rebecca P. Butler, Journal of Education for Library and Information Science

Cover of Beauties and Beasts Beauties and Beasts: The Oryx Multicultural Folktale Series. ed. by Betsy Hearne. Oryx Press, 1993.

  • Anne Izard Award, 1993
"Betsy Hearne gathers different versions of "Beauty and the Beast," ranging from the Greek myth of "Cupid and Psyche" to the terse Appalachian tale, "A Bunch of Laurel Blooms for a Present." Each of the 27 tales included is presented in a style authentic to its country of origin, with brief scholarly comments on derivations and sources. In the back is a brief list of related activities that can be adapted for readers of any age, as well as annotated bibliographies of picture books and related tales of transformation, source notes, and a bibliography of folktale collections and criticism." —Judy Constantintides, School Library Journal

Cover of Zena Sutherland Lectures The Zena Sutherland Lectures: 1983-1992. ed. by Betsy Hearne, Clarion Books, 1993.

"We can all be grateful for Zena Sutherland's remarkable career, not only because of the many contributions she made to children's literature but also because she inspired this engrossing gathering of lectures a treat for mind and spirit . . . The book does not obfuscate; it does not confuse; it is never pretentious. Therefore, it enlightens and informs. It isn't often that so disarming a book can so seductively lure readers into confronting issues important to intelligent reading of today's literature for children."—Horn Book Magazine

Cover of Evaluating Children's Books Evaluating Children's Books: A Critical Look, ed. by Betsy Hearne and Roger Sutton. GSLIS, 1993.

"Written with clarity, inspired by concern, and marked by insight, these essays are timely, informative, provocative. They should be required reading not only in schools of librarianship but for departments of English and education as well."—Horn Book Magazine

Cover of The Best in Children's Books The Best in Children's Books 1985-1990: The University of Chicago Guide to Children's Literature, ed. by Zena Sutherland, Betsy Hearne, and Roger Sutton. University of Chicago Press, 1991.

"Close to 1,500 reviews of American and British fiction and nonfiction for pre-school to young adult readers, selected from those first published in the U. of Chicago's Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books. Organized alphabetically by author, with six indexes offering access by reading level, curricular use, developmental values, subject, title, and author." —Book News

Cover of Celebrating Children's Books Celebrating Children's Books: Critical Essays in Honor of Zena Sutherland, ed. by Betsy Hearne and Marilyn Kaye. Lothrop, 1981.

"This is not just a book for critics; it is for all adults who want to understand what children like to read and why, and who take pleasure in knowing how writers practice their craft." —Deborah Abbott, Chicago Sun-Times