Dorothea Jensen, Author of Books for Young Readers (Children/MG/YA)

Award-Winning Author Brings History and Fantasy to Life!

Dorothea Jensen grew up in Chillicothe, Illinois, also the home town of the creator of Zorro. She earned a BA in English at Carleton College and an MA in Education at the University of New Mexico. She has been an ESL tutor for refugees, taught junior high and high school English, served in the Peace Corps, and written grants for arts organizations. She performed light opera for a number of years in Philadelphia (Gilbert & Sullivan Players) and in Minneapolis (Gilbert & Sullivan Very Light Opera Company and Ex Machina Baroque Opera Company. A mezzo and/or contralto, she usually lost the hero to the soprano.

In 1989, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich published Dorothea's novel for young readers about the American Revolution, The Riddle of Penncroft Farm, which has been read in schools all over the US ever since. A Buss from Lafayette is set in 1825 in the town where Dorothea lives. Two things inspired her to write this story. First, was her meeting a woman whose ancestor received a kiss (a buss) from Lafayette on his Farewell Tour of 1824-5. That buss, passed down through generations, was passed along to Dorothea. Second, she learned that Lafayette passed right by her house in 1825, which sparked her interest in Lafayette's contributions to our struggle for independence.

A Buss from Lafayette has won numerous honors, including: First Place, Historical Fiction, Purple Dragonfly Book Awards; Gold Medalist, Middle School/Historical Fiction, Literary Classics Book Awards; Quarter-Finalist, Booklife Prize in Fiction, Middle Grade Category (placed among the top ten MG entries) Bronze Medalist, eLit Awards, Juvenile/Young Adult Category; Finalist, Book Excellence Award, Young Adult Category. It is listed on the Grateful American Kids website as one of the “Best History Books for Kids to Read”

An audio edition of A Buss from Lafayette, and a teacher's guide are available. Dorothea also enjoys writing rhyming verse. Her award-winning illustrated Christmas stories feature the very high tech Santa's Izzy Elves.

The most important thing the author wants readers to gain from her books:

Our country is a mosaic of diverse cultural traditions, but what unifies all of us is our country's unique, extraordinary history. Our younger generation deserves to know, and to feel, this commonality by learning the complex, inspiring truths of American history. That is what I hope my books help accomplish.

Why the author is an authority on the subject of her books:

I have been studying and writing about the American Revolution for 40 years, and Lafayette and his 1824-5 Farewell Tour for 21 years.


Social Media:






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Presentation Audience:

Middle School

High School


11-100 appearances


New Hampshire

Willing to travel


Book Type:

Picture Book

Tween/YA Fiction



Education/College Preparation/Special Education



Take a peek at my new historical novel for young readers, A BUSS FROM LAFAYETTE!