Award-winning author of Boots on the Ground and Marching to Freedom
Photo credit: Will Ratcliff
About Elizabeth Partridge
Elizabeth Partridge is the author of numerous books for young adults, including Boots on the Ground: America’s War in Vietnam, Marching to Freedom, an inspiring look at the fight for the vote, and biographies on Dorothea Lange, Woody Guthrie, and John Lennon.
Growing up in a family of artists, Partridge learned to value the power and beauty of photography. Her grandmother and father were both photographers who elevated ordinary life through their art, and her godmother, Dorothea Lange, used photography to document the struggle to hold on to one’s dignity in the face of adversity and to stir others to action. In her books, Partridge culls photography archives for emotional, iconic images that brings historical eras like the Civil Rights movement and the Vietnam War alive for today’s young readers.
In her enthralling talks, she describes how she uses archival photos, oral histories, and interviews to uncover long-silenced stories from America’s past, and bring new depths to icons like Woody Guthrie and John Lennon. She speaks passionately to young audiences about the creative potential of combining visual art with the written word, and the importance of making your own stories.
Partridge’s books have received many honors, including a National Book Award Finalist, the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, the Michael L. Printz Honor, the SCBWI Golden Kite Award, the School Library Journal‘s Battle of the Books, and the Jane Addams Children’s Book Award. She graduated with a degree in Women’s Studies from the University of California at Berkeley and later studied traditional Chinese medicine. She was an acupuncturist for more than twenty years before closing her medical practice to write full-time, which she does from her home in Berkeley, California.
Living a Creative Life
Partridge grew up in the San Francisco Bay area in a large extended family of Bohemian photographers. Her childhood was full of artists and musicians, late-night dinner parties, fascinating neighborhoods, and months-long camping trips across America. Strong, impactful photographs – how to take them, enjoy them, and deeply understand them – was the heartbeat of every day. As an adult, Partridge combines her love of photography and words to write books which weave the two together. She’ll share the joys, freedom, and sacrifices of living a creative life, and offer simple strategies for living your best creative life.
Telling Your Story
Understanding and communicating visually is a critical skill in the 21st century, but can feel overwhelming to teach or to learn. In this presentation aimed at educators and students, Partridge combines “reading” photographs with how to use a cell phone camera to take meaningful images which reflect your unique life. How can a photograph express what is important to you about your family, neighborhood, or country? Partridge will elaborate on strategies to create a mood and a point of view, as well as how to enhance an image with a strong title and accompanying memoir poem.
This presentation is available as a keynote talk, workshop, or longer program.
Uncovering Hidden Histories
In times of social upheaval, people bear witness, rise up, and advocate for change. What courage drove Dorothea Lange to photograph the Migrant Mother during the Great Depression, and the internment of 120,000 Japanese Americans during WWII? What passion ignited the protest music of Woody Guthrie and John Lennon? What inner strength empowered children and teenagers to risk jail and beatings during the civil rights movement? How can U.S. soldiers in Vietnam and protestors at home both be deeply patriotic? We can uncover their stories—some long silenced; others long overlooked—in archival photos, oral histories, and interviews. Their courage and conviction during factious times can inform and inspire us today.
Praise for Elizabeth Partridge
Praise for Boots on the Ground
★ A personal, moving foray into the Vietnam War and its impact…Partridge’s narrative storytelling is incisive and masterfully woven together.— Kirkus,starred review
★ What makes the book powerful beyond the historical facts, though, is how the war irrefutably changed the people who were there.— School Library Journal, starred review
★ “The tandem placement of well-written textbook-style information with soul-searing personal dramas makes this compulsively readable while putting events and terms often encountered episodically into context.”— BCCB, starred review
★ Skillfully interweaving original interviews and black-and-white photos with narrative, Partridge evokes the political controversy and intense emotions.— Publishers Weekly, starred review
★ This indispensable volume brings a wise and humane lens to a confused and brutal conflict.— Horn Book, starred review
Praise for Marching For Freedom
★ A perfect balance of energetic prose and well-selected, breathtaking photographs.— Kirkus, starred review
★ An excellent addition to any library.— School Library Journal, starred review
★ A dramatic and a memorable statement.— VOYA, starred review
★ A captivating, personal account.— Publishers Weekly, starred review
★ A sharply focused historical narrative for a younger audience.— Horn Book, starred review
Books by Elizabeth Partridge
Media About Elizabeth Partridge
- 212 572-2013
- Elizabeth Partridge travels from Berkeley, California