Welcome to the website for A Buss From Lafayette, my award-winning historical novel for middle schoolers and young adults. A Buss from Lafayette is my first historical novel for young readers since The Riddle of Penncroft Farm!
LEARN ABOUT THE BOOK
In June, 1825, spunky, somewhat rebellious Clara Hargraves (14) has a couple of big problems: her red hair makes her a target for teasing, and her stepmother (formerly her spinster aunt) keeps trying to make her act like a young lady. Clara’s small New Hampshire town is abuzz because Lafayette, hero of the American Revolution, is about to visit on his “Farewell Tour” of America. In one eventful week, Clara learns a lot about her family, herself, and, most of all, about Lafayette and his vital role in America’s fight for independence.
A Buss from Lafayette is set in the small New Hampshire town where Dorothea Jensen lives. Two things inspired her to write this story. First was learning that Lafayette passed right by her house during his 1824-5 “Triumphal Tour.” Another was meeting a woman whose ancestor received a kiss from Lafayette. That “buss,” passed down through generations, eventually came to Dorothea. This sparked her Interest in Lafayette’s contributions to our struggle for independence.
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CHECK OUT THE HONORS AND AWARDS FOR A Buss from Lafayette!
First Place, Historical Fiction, PurpleDragonfly Book Award
Gold Medalist, Middle School/Historical Fiction, Literary Classics Book Awards
Finalist, Literary Classics Book Awards
Seal of Approval Recipient, Literary Classics Award
Finaiist, Book Excellence Awards, Young Adult Category
Listed on Grateful American Kids website: among “Best History Books for Kids to Read”
WATCH A VIDEO ABOUT THIS STORY
The music for this trailer is a tune arranged by my sister, Louisa Wise (who plays the fiddle on this recording). She recently renamed the tune “Lafayette” in honor of my book and included it in her new album, “Into the Wind.” Here’s the link to get a copy: https://www.louisawise.com/store. (I think the price is in Australian dollars, as that is where she lives!)
A Buss from Lafayette Teacher’s Guide IS AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER!
A Buss from Lafayette can be used as a “springboard” for helping students understand 1) the American Revolution, 2) the key role General Lafayette played in achieving our independence, 3) our nation’s “rock star” reception of the aging hero during his Farewell Tour of 1824-5, and, 4) life for young people in early 19th century America.
My colleague, Sienna Larson, and I have written a teacher’s guide to make it very easy to use in the classroom.
PRE-ORDER A COPY OF THE TEACHER’S GUIDE!
Written by Dorothea Jensen, M.A., and Sienna Larson, M.S., this guide will soon be for sale on Amazon, B & N, and other stores as a paperback and as an e-book. This guide includes: bulletin board ideas, vocabulary exercises, varied handouts, puzzles and games, reading comprehension quizzes, discussion questions, individual and class project suggestions, cross-curricular activities (language arts, reading, social studies, mathematics, health and safety, art, music, dance, drama) and suggestions for real and virtual “field trips.” A full answer key is included!
“This document is fantastic and any middle school teacher would love to use it while expanding on the many aspects of this fiction/non-fiction youth book.” – G. Glover, Middle School Teacher and Principal
“There is no more crucial time than now to teach our children about the history of their country. The need for teachers to find ways to make history interesting is crucial. A Buss from Lafayette will provide not only historic background of the revolutionary time. . .but also a story that all children can identify with. . . The teachers’ guide also gives many wonderful suggestions of how to integrate subjects with the historical content of this novel. . . [and] suggests questions that challenge higher level thinking. I highly recommend this for teachers in grades 5-8.” – Susan Elliott, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Quinnipiac University; Literacy and Curriculum Development
About the Authors
Dorothea Jensen is the author of A BUSS FROM LAFAYETTE, THE RIDDLE OF PENNCROFT FARM, and seven other books. A former ESL, junior high and high school English teacher, she earned a BA in English at Carleton College and an MA in Secondary Education from the University of New Mexico.
Sienna Larson has worked as an ESL teacher in Panama and in Ethiopia and as a homeschool teacher. She also researched and co-authored two books on international education and has created curricula for French and English language instruction for adults and children. She holds a BA in Political Science from McGill University and an MS in Technology from Northern Kentucky University.
Events and Other Fun Stuff
On October 18, 2017, I was in Yorktown, Virginia to celebrate the unveiling of a new statue of Lafayette! Check out my blog post about how this statue came into being! Here’s the link:
This might just look like a bookshelf to you, but it is a shelf of books for sale at the Valley Forge Encampment Store at Valley Forge National Park! Check out what is on the top shelf in the center: my first historical novel about the American Revolution for kids, The Riddle of Penncroft Farm. It looks as if that by putting all the books closer together, there is room for A Buss from Lafayette on there, too!
Here I am (in the hat) helping to lay a wreath on the Lafayette plaque on Boston Common, in commemoration of Lafayette Day. This is proclaimed by the governors of Massachusetts and New Hampshire on the anniversary of the great Revolutionary hero’s death, May 20, 1834.
READ REVIEWS OF A BUSS FROM LAFAYETTE!
“Jensen effortlessly weaves history together with the daily trials of a girl resenting her stepmother’s reminders to behave like a lady. Most schoolchildren know Lafayette’s role in the Revolutionary War only superficially, and Jensen makes him come alive in a way they will remember. Historical accuracy, character development, and engaging dialogue enliven this narrative and make it an enjoyable read.” -Booklife Prize in Fiction
The vivid descriptions of clothing, family relationships, period-specific customs, and daily routines create a charming picture of life in 1825. . .The characters retell stories of General Lafayette, General Washington, and others, providing readers with a thorough backdrop of history to accompany the book’s main story line about Clara. . .an enjoyable introduction to the post-Revolutionary War period in America, and provides a lovely story about family, determination, and how perspective can change everything. – The Children’s Book Review
A Buss from Lafayette, by Dorothea Jensen, is a fun and fascinating read. Jensen weaves threads of historical fact within this coming-of-age story that will resonate with young audiences on many levels. Readers will love the tale of the highly relatable Clara and may even learn a thing or two about why Lafayette was so highly esteemed in American in the 1800s. This book is recommended for home and school libraries and has earned the Literary Classics Seal of Approval. – Classic Literary Reviews
“. . .an exquisitely detailed and beautifully penned historical fiction novel.. . .Kudos to Dorothea Jensen for a splendidly told tale. I highly recommend picking up a copy.” – Stacie, Goodreads Review
“In Jensen’s middle-grade novel, a young girl in New Hampshire meets the titular, illustrious French hero of the American Revolution during his commemorative trip through America. . . . Her brief encounter with him will forever change how she views herself. . .A winning historical tale that may appeal to young fans of the musical Hamilton.” -Kirkus Reviews
More reviews are posted here.
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ENJOY MY HOMAGE TO HAMILTON THE MUSICAL.
READ DETAILED BACKGROUND INFORMATION ABOUT A BUSS FROM LAFAYETTE HERE.
READ, LISTEN, OR WATCH HIGHLIGHTS OF RECENT EVENTS.
On June 21, I was interviewed by Kevin Avard for the Gate City Chronicles program in Nashua. You will find excerpts of this interview on the “Author Interviews/Articles/Q & A” tab here.
I went to Boston for a radio interview to talk about A Buss from Lafayette on the Citywide Blackout program, broadcast on WEMF. Citywide Blackout “spotlights the independent art scene of New England.” It was great fun talking about Buss with Citywide Blackout hosts, Max Bowen and Gina House. Listen to a podcast here.
I signed books at the Manchester Barnes and Noble Store, 1741 South Willow Street, Manchester, NH. This was a Book Fair fundraiser for the Manchester Library. I brought along my Fiddlers Two, Sienna and Sara Larson, to play music from A Buss from Lafayette and other tunes from that era. (Thanks, ladies!)Thanks to Nathan for inviting us to participate. Here’s the website: Manchester B&N.
Sara and Sienna fiddling away. On the right is the book poster, some review highlights, and some “artifacts” that play a role in A Buss from Lafayette, along with quotes from the story featuring these items.
Spotting my new book on the “New for Young Readers” shelf at the Manchester Barnes and Noble. Bliss!
I was at the Barnes & Noble store in Nashua, NH, as part of the Teen Book Festival. It is located at 235 Daniel Webster Hwy Nashua, NH 03060 . Here is the store’s website: Nashua Barnes & Noble. Thanks to Janice Wiers for asking me to participate!
BOOK LAUNCH PARTY
Thanks to all those who attended, and to everyone who helped me with this event.
Click here to see pictures and watch an audio/slideshow of Dorothea’s short presentation at the party.