HomeBooks by AgeAges 4-8Ordinary Extraordinary Jane Austen, by Deborah Hopkinson | Book Review

Ordinary Extraordinary Jane Austen, by Deborah Hopkinson | Book Review

The Children’s Book Review | July 12, 2018

Ordinary Extraordinary Jane AustenOrdinary Extraordinary Jane Austen

Written by Deborah Hopkinson

Illustrated by Qin Leng

Age Range: 4-8

Publisher: HarperCollins (2018)

ISBN: 978-0-06-237330-4

What to Expect: History, Biography

Jane Austen is well-known as a writer, and many children will be familiar with her stories from school readings of her novels, films adaptations, and other cultural references.  However, young children are less likely to be aware of the facts of her life and the context in which her stories developed.  This beautifully illustrated and simply written biography introduces readers to the history behind this literary legend.

Focusing specifically on the strength-of-character of the real Jane, this biography emphasizes the way in which great literature is shaped by people who are both ordinary and extraordinary: strong, charismatic, determined men, and specially, women.  The story emphasizes the challenges Jane had to overcome – her shyness, the lack of quality education for girls in that time – but also the myriad of opportunities she was able to make for herself.  In doing so, it offers readers the message that great literature can be made and enjoyed by anyone who has the passion to pursue their dreams.  The story is beautifully complimented by Qin Leng’s evocative illustrations: the soft pen and watercolor spreads are reminiscent of Quentin Blake, and bring life and depth to the story.  This is a well-composed volume which is sure to bring pleasure to readers both young and old.

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About the Author

Deborah Hopkinson is the award-winning author of many books for young readers, including Ordinary, Extraordinary Jane Austen, illustrated by Qin Leng; Michelle, illustrated by AG Ford; Stagecoach Sal, illustrated by Carson Ellis; Abe Lincoln Crosses a Creek, illustrated by John Hendrix; Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt, illustrated by James Ransome and winner of the IRA Award; and Apples to Oregon, illustrated by Nancy Carpenter and winner of the Golden Kite Award. She lives near Portland, Oregon.

About the Illustrator

Qin Leng was born in Shanghai and lived in France and Montreal, where she studied at the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. She has received many awards for her animated short films and artwork, and has published numerous picture books. Qin currently lives and works as a designer and illustrator in Toronto.

Ordinary Extraordinary Jane Austen, written by Deborah Hopkinson and illustrated by Qin Leng, was reviewed by Dr. Jen Harrison. Discover more books like Ordinary Extraordinary Jane Austen by following along with our reviews and articles tagged with , and .

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Dr. Jen Harrison currently teaches writing and literature at East Stroudsburg University. She also provides freelance writing, editing, and tuition services as the founder of Read.Write.Perfect. She completed her Ph.D. in Children’s and Victorian Literature at Aberystwyth University in Wales, in the UK. After a brief spell in administration, Jen then trained as a secondary school English teacher and worked for several years teaching Secondary School English, working independently as a private tutor of English, and working in nursery and primary schools. She is an editor for the peer-reviewed journal of children’s literature, Jeunesse, and publishes academic work on children’s non-fiction, YA speculative fiction, and the posthuman.

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