Dorothea Johnson Jensen was born in Boston, Massachusetts, and grew up in Chillicothe, Illinois, the same little town where, years earlier, the creator of ZORRO lived. She majored in English at Carleton College and earned an MA in Secondary Education at the University of New Mexico. She has served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in South America, taught middle and high school English, and tutored refugees in ESL. An experienced actress/singer, she performed mezzo/contralto roles in which she often lost the hero to the soprano.
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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 still 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