In December 2019, I had the pleasure of accompanying Julian Icher, Founder and Executive Director of The Lafayette Trail to a meeting at the New Hampshire DOT in Concord. The subject under discussion was the installation of markers in New Hampshire at key points on Lafayette’s journey through the state during his Farewell Tour of 1824-5. On the screen behind me, the long covered bridge at Cornish, NH, is pictured.
In September, 2019, during a quick visit to Paris, I kept an eye out for references to Lafayette in his nation’s capital, with the understanding that the Frenchman so pivotal in our own nation’s history is less than revered in his own country. (Apparently he was loathed by both ends of the political spectrum during the French Revolution because he advocated following a middle path: keeping the monarchy but putting controls on it as per England’s parliament.
Still, I did find his name engraved inside the Arc de Triomphe along with other generals from the French Revolution.
I also spotted a few signs and streets named after ‘Our Marquis” (as the Continental soldiers called him). Here are a couple of pix taken out the window of a fast-moving Parisian taxi.
Yesterday it was my great honor to be part of the Lafayette Day program at the New Hampshire State House in Concord. I sang two songs. The first, “Lafayette, We Hear You Singing” was written in 1918. It is similar in spirit to “Over There” in which “The Yanks are coming. . .”, but this song has special reference to the debt we owe France because of Lafayette. The second song was one in which New Hampshire was referred to as the Granite State for the first time. It was composed to honor Lafayette when he visited Concord on June 22, 1825. I also gave a short talk about A BUSS FROM LAFAYETTE, and read an excerpt describing the famous Revolutionary War hero’s reception on that day. I loved that I was speaking in the NH House of Representatives Chamber, where Lafayette himself spoke on the occasion I was reading about. Also, it was fun to sing the second song only a few feet from where it was originally performed nearly 200 years ago!
Thanks to Virginia Eskin for playing the piano at this historic event!
A Buss from Lafayette and its Teacher’s Guide!
Every once in awhile, I manage to receive a REAL “buss” (KISS) from Lafayette! This one took place at the Charlton Historical Society/American Friends of Lafayette commemoration of Lafayette’s visit in Charlton, Massachusetts, in September, 1824! (Lafayette is portrayed by actor Ben Goldman.) I’m dressed in 1820s attire for a short speech I made at this event. Such fun!
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!
A Buss from Lafayette is now available in paperback, e-book, and audiobook editions.
A complete teacher’s guide for using this story to help students learn about the American Revolution, Lafayette, his amazing 1824-5 Farewell Tour, and life in 19th century America can be purchased as either a print or an e-book, with a link for downloading easily printable handouts.
Learn about all my books
For information about The Riddle of Penncroft Farm, Santa’s Izzy Elves, etc. please visit:
Learn about Buss
In June, 1825, witty young Clara Hargraves 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 I live. Two things inspired me to write this story. First was learning that Lafayette passed right by my house during his 1824-5 “Farewell Tour.” Another was meeting a woman whose ancestor received a kiss from Lafayette. That “buss,” passed down through generations, eventually came to me. This sparked my 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!
Purple Dragonfly Book Awards
Middle School/Historical Fiction Literary Classics Book Awards
Booklife Prize in Fiction
Red City Review Book Awards
Book Excellence Awards
Literary Classics Book Awards
Seal of Approval
Literary Classics Awards
“Best History Books
for Kids to Read” List
Grateful American Kids
Monday Morning Indie
Watch a Video Trailer!
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!)
The Latest News. . .
A Buss from Lafayette Teacher’s Guide has been released!
About the Teacher’s Guide. . .
This complete guide makes it super easy to use A Buss from Lafayette as a “springboard” for helping students understand 1) the American Revolution, 2) the key role General Lafayette played in achieving independence, 3) our nation’s “rock star” reception of the aging hero during his Farewell Tour of 1824-5, and, 4) American life in the early 19th century.
Written by Dorothea Jensen, M.A., and Sienna Larson, M.S., it is 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!
(P.S. A Buss from Lafayette Teacher’s Guide is available in paperback and e-book editions,
the Guide includes a link to download all
classroom handouts for easy printing!)
“This is a great resource for a unit study of the revolutionary war. It includes a wide variety of activities in language arts, American history, mathematics and the arts. I really appreciate an organized and comprehensive study guide like this!” – B. Heikkinen, Homeschool Mom
“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
“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
GET YOUR COPY OF THE TEACHER’S GUIDE FOR YOUR CLASSROOM OR BOOK GROUP!
About the Guide 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.
See Pix of Events
(and Other Fun Stuff)
I had such fun selling books at the Anthem Film Festival in Las Vegas, alongside my film maker son, Hawk Jensen, who won an “Excellence in Film Making” award at the festival!
I amused myself putting this together, especially writing the “Five Fun Things You Didn’t Know About Me” page. Check it out! Here’s a list of the included files:
#1 Bios in lengths varying from 140 characters to 600 words
#2. Press Release
#3 Book Synopses in lengths varying from 140 characters to 250 words
#4. Sample Chapter of A Buss from Lafayette
#5. Sample Interview Questions
#6. Book Review Excerpts
#7. Complete contact Information
#8. Selection of Author Pix, Cover Images, etc.
#9. Checklist: How to Hook Kids on History
#10. Speaker One-Sheet (Reviews of speeches and suggested speech topics)
#11. Speaker Introduction
#12. Five Fun Facts You Don’t Know About Me
#13. Dorothea Jensen Press Coverage Information
#14. Honors and Awards
On May 18, 2018, I was privileged to read the official Massachusetts proclamation by Governor Baker of Lafayette Day at a celebration of the Massachusetts Lafayette Society in Boston.
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, 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.