2001 Notable Authors

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Kevin Henkes
Jens Jensen
Malcolm Rosholt
T.V. Olsen

Kevin Henkes, 1960-

Wisconsin's own Kevin Henkes was born in Racine in 1960. The fourth of five children, he was encouraged to draw and always knew he wanted to be an illustrator. Going to the public library was an important ritual for Henkes, and illustrations frequently determined which books he brought home.

He attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison for two years. During the summer between his freshman and sophomore years, he traveled to New York City to find a publisher. While he there, he met with Susan Hirschman, an editor at Greenwillow, who offered him a contract. He was 19 years old. His first picture book, All Alone, was published in 1981.

Henkes has written and illustrated more than a dozen picture books and written many juvenile fiction novels. He has also written several picture books that have been illustrated by others, including his wife Laura Dronzek, with whom he collaborated on Oh, which was published in 1999. He says he likes the variety of trying new ways to fill the pages between two covers, and he hopes that there is something about his books that connects with children and adult readers.

Many of the Henkes picture book characters are mice. He says that he found he could get much more humor out of animals. These characters, such as Wendell, Sheila Rae, Lilly, Chrysanthemum, and Wemberley, show a plausible range of emotions to which children can relate to and positively respond.

One of these books featuring mice is Owen, which was selected as a 1994 Caldecott Honor book. He has received many other awards, including ALA's notable book award, Booklist's "Top of the List," the American Booksellers Association Book of the Year Award, and WLA's Elizabeth Burr Award.

In the mid-1980's, he began writing novels for older children. His portrayals of children and pre-adolescents as complex individuals caught up in situations that are sensitively realistic have earned him praise from reviewers. A Kirkus reviewer said that his books have the same good humor, wisdom, and respect for children's hearts and minds that characterize all his works.

Kevin Henkes resides in Madison with his wife and family.

Selected Bibliography:

Picture books:
Sheila Rae, the Brave, Greenwillow, 1987
Julius, the Baby of the World, Greenwillow, 1990
Chrysanthemum, Greenwillow, 1991
Owen, Greenwillow, 1993
Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse, Greenwillow, 1996
Wemberley Worried, Greenwillow, 2000

Words of Stone, Greenwillow, 1992
Sun and Spoon, Greenwillow, 1997
The Birthday Room, Greenwillow, 1999

Jens Jensen, 1860-1951

Landscape architect/writer/philosopher/conservationist/teacher Jens Jensen was born in Denmark in 1860, and emigrated to Wisconsin at the age of 24.

Jensen became a very influential landscape architect, designing many of the public parks in Chicago and Racine as well as the private estates of many notables of the times such as the Armours, Florsheims and Fords.

During his career, Jensen was a leading advocate of the natural landscape movement. In his work and writings, Jensen urged the establishment of small parks throughout cities and the use of native plant species in natural settings as opposed to very formal, classically styled parks filled with exotic species.

Jensen felt that Americans, especially city dwellers, needed to stay in contact with their natural environments for their own mental and physical well-being. His writings also stressed that "we should not follow foreign precedents or use artificial materials in designing our surroundings, but should stand on our own feet and use our own native resources." Tefler - The Jens Jensen I Knew.

Jensen put his theories into personal practice through the establishment of the Clearing Retreat on his own land at Ellison Bay in Door County in 1935. Composed of rustic log and stone buildings unobtrusively set into a natural wooded landscape overlooking the waters of Green Bay, the Clearing was (and remains) a Jensen-designed retreat for quiet study and the contemplation of nature and the arts.

Finally, Jensen was a driving force behind the establishment of the Door County parks system in general and the Ridges Sanctuary near Baileys Harbor in particular.

Jensen recorded his theories and beliefs through the authorship of two well-known works:

Siftings. Jensen's memoir published in 1939, has been called a midwestern Walden, describing how Jensen's natural landscaping theories evolved as the result of his own experiences as a boy in Denmark, a young man in Wisconsin, and during his career travels. He further describes in lyrical fashion how he came to view landscaping as "living art" with its roots, quite literally, in the soil.

The Clearing, published in 1949, is also philosophical and inspirational in tone, emphasizing once more Jensen's belief that an understanding of one's own ecology is fundamental to clear thinking, thoughtful study, contemplation, and self-renewal.

Jensen received an honorary doctorate degree in literature from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1937.

Malcolm Rosholt, 1907-

Malcolm Rosholt was born and raised in Rosholt, Wisconsin, a village named for his grandfather, a pioneer lumberman and banker. At fourteen, Rosholt worked in his grandfather's sawmill. After finishing high school, he lived with a logging crew on a river shanty near Eagle River, listening to their lumberjack tales. He then earned a bachelor of arts degree from St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota, in 1931.

He sailed to China and, for six years, became editor and publisher of an English language newspaper in Shanghai. Rosholt covered the Japanese invasions of 1932 and 1937. In 1938, he returned to the United States and lectured on his war experiences.

As a result of his knowledge of the Chinese language, he received a commission in World War II from the Army Air Corps. In 1943, he returned to China and spent two years as the liaison officer for Major General Claire Chennault, commander of the famous Flying Tigers.

Upon returning to Wisconsin after the war, Rosholt became deeply involved in state and local history. He founded the Rosholt House Publishing Company and proceeded (with the help of his wife, Margaret, a former librarian) to write and publish over 20 works on various historical topics of local, state, and national interest.

Rosholt's works are praised and sought after for their careful and thorough research, noted for their extensive use of helpful charts, diagrams and photographs, and much appreciated for their clear, accessible language.

Selected Bibliography:

The Battle of Cameron Dam, 1974
Nahkom, the Woman of Waupaca, 1974
A Photo Album of the Past: Pioneer Scenes from Central Wisconsin, 1976
Days of the Ching Pao: A Photographic Record of the Flying Tigers
, 1978
Pioneers of the Pinery, 1979
The Wisconsin Logging Book, 1839-1939, 1980
Lumbermen on the Chippewa, 1982
The Child of Two Mothers, 1983
Claire L. Chennault: A Tribute, 1983
Flight in the China Air Space, 1910-1950, 1984
Trains of Wisconsin, 1985
Photos from Wisconsin's Past, 1986
The Story of Old Abe: Wisconsin's Civil War Hero, 1987
Chinese Fairy Tales (editor), 1998

T.V. Olsen, 1932-1993

Western and adventure fiction author T.V. Olsen was born in Rhinelander on April 25, 1932, and lived there his entire life. He was a fourth-generation member of his family in the Rhinelander area. His work as an author spanned 25 years.

Olsen began as a short story writer. His first novel, Haven of the Hunted, was published in 1956. Olsen quickly mastered the craft of writing the western and also wrote under the pen-names Joshua Stark and Christopher Storm. Two of his novels were made into movies: The Stalking Moon starred Gregory Peck, and Soldier Blue (based on Arrow in the Sun) starred Candace Bergen.

Olsen made many trips west to do research and his work is reflective of those trips. He had a special interest in the Apache culture and in the difficulty of adapting to white culture. For example, his novel Rattlesnake is the story of two friends -- a white and an Apache -- who are forced to reconsider their friendship due to racial prejudice.

Joe Landsdale in Twentieth Century Western Writers states, "[Olsen] should be better known outside the immediate western field, and I cannot help but feel that with the right press, Olsen could command the position currently enjoyed by Louis L'Amour as America's most popular and foremast western novelist."

Olsen did not neglect his Rhinelander roots and also wrote a series of books called The Rhinelander Country, which detailed the history of the area from its geological beginnings to its popularity as a vacation spot.

Olsen died in Rhinelander on July 13, 1993.

Selected Bibliography:

Haven of the Hunted, Ace Books, 1956
Ramrod Rider, Fawcett, 1961
The Stalking Moon, Doubleday, 1965
Arrow in the Sun, Doubleday, 1969
There was a Season, Doubleday, 1972
Rattlesnake, Doubleday, 1979
Red is the River, Fawcett, 1983
The Golden Chance, Fawcett, 1992
Treasures of the Sun, Five Star Westerns, 1998

Roots of the North, Pineview Publishing, 1979
Our First Hundred Years, Rhinelander Centennial Committee, 1981
Birth of a City, Pineview Publishing, 1983