McArthur, Debra

McArthur, Debra

Debra McArthur grew up in Springfield, Missouri, where her high school experience included church activities, choir, drum and bugle corps, and the kind of drama and angst that make a person really glad to grow up. She earned B.A. and M.A. degrees in English from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and an M.F.A. in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Hamline University. She has written eight nonfiction books for young readers. A Voice for Kanzas is Debra’s first novel.

These days, Debra lives with her husband in Kansas City, Missouri. She teaches college along the bluffs of the Missouri River, and she is still collecting nouns that describe her: student, teacher, wife, mother, reader, writer, Irish dancer, marathon runner.


A Voice for Kanzas
Kane Miller, 2012

Lucy Catherine Thomkins was looking for poetry when she slipped the booklet from Papa’s coat pocket and discovered Information for Kanzas Immigrants. Just another political paper, nothing a thirteen-year-old poet would be interested in. But before dinner is over that night, Lucy becomes one those immigrants. She feels as out of place in 1855 Kansas Territory as the sky-blue silk gown she has worn for the journey from Pennsylvania, and she seeks her own purpose in this strange place. Papa is committed to the cause of abolitionism, and Mamma is committed to the success of the family’s general store. Even her brother, ten-year-old Joseph, seems to embrace this new life, despite the threats of the Border Ruffians who harass the citizens of Lawrence. When Lucy discovers that her best friend’s family is working with the Underground Railroad, Lucy must make a decision which could have dangerous consequences for herself and her family. She must decide just what she stands for, and she must find her own true voice to express herself in a time and place where a young girl’s voice is seldom valued.

A Student’s Guide to William Faulkner
Enslow 2009

William Faulkner was raised on legends. Heabsorbed the skills of storytelling as he sat on the steps of the courthouse in Oxford, Mississippi, listening to the locals tell their tales. This book examines Faulkner’s life and how it influenced his major works, including The Sound and the Fury and other novels, as well as stories such as “A Rose for Emily” and “Barn Burning.”

John Steinbeck
Benchmark/Marshall Cavendish, 2008

John Steinbeck was a common man from a middle-class family and his books told the stories of common people. In his writing, he showed the plight of those who were victims of injustice and the struggle of people to overcome the forces in the world that would corrupt them. This book describes the life and career of Steinbeck and includes in depth examination of his books Of Mice and Men and The Grapes of Wrath, in the context of the eras in which they were written.

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