Dorothea Jensen, born in Boston, Massachusetts, was raised in Chillicothe, Illinois, where the author who created Zorro many years earlier grew up. She majored in English literature at Carleton College. After teaching high-school English and serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in Brazil, she earned a master’s degree in education at the University of New Mexico.
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In 1989, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich published Dorothea’s novel for young readers about the American Revolution, The Riddle of Penncroft Farm. In addition to other honors, it was named an International Reading Association Teachers’ Choices Selection and is read in classrooms throughout the U.S.
A Buss from Lafayette is set in the small New Hampshire town where Dorothea lives. Two things inspired her to write this story. First was learning that Lafayette passed right by her 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 Dorothea. This sparked her interest in Lafayette’s huge contributions to our struggle for independence, and in his 13 month journey across America fifty years later.