...Later in the 1980s, Bober was asked to take a detour from profiling artists when her editor, Marcia Marshall, lamenting a dearth of good biographies about the early U.S. presidents for young readers, urged her to consider writing a book about Thomas
Jefferson. Bober again accepted a writing challenge and this time, she wrote in SATA, “I realized it was the best professional decision I had ever made.”
Thomas Jefferson: Man on a Mountain (Atheneum, 1988) garnered critical praise and led to several exciting career opportunities. Bober and her husband were formally invited to Thomas Jefferson’s 250th birthday celebration at Monticello in 1993. And
Bober was asked to participate in filmmaker Ken Burns’s documentary on Jefferson—she was interviewed on camera and served as a consultant—which first aired on PBS in 1997.
Bober’s copious research on Jefferson—and the advice of her son Stephen—led her take on another historical biography: Abigail Adams: Witness to a Revolution (Atheneum, 1995). That title was named the winner of the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for
Nonfiction and also won SCBWI’s Golden Kite Award. In all, she published 11 books for young readers.
Bober was often asked by students and interviewers about her process for writing biographies. In SATA she shared an answer to that question. “I never know where my research will lead me. As I try to catch the cadence—the rhythm—of the lives I’m
investigating, I must study the past with a revealing searchlight, all the while looking for details like a hog digging for truffles. I’m always after those dark, hidden morsels. The excitement comes from search and discovery, from recreating a life
from details and making a story out of the chaos of reality.”
"A lifelong interest in the creative arts, a strong background in the humanities, and many years of teaching have prompted me to tell the
stories of men and women whose achievements might serve as an
inspiration for junior and senior high school students. There is a
strong need today for role models relevant to this age group who can
inspire young people to find the greatness within themselves. It is
important for them to recognize that all great people were once young,
with the same fears, doubts, and concerns that they have. Yet they
achieved. But they achieved by faith in themselves, persistence, and
"...Eventually I started to write. And I sent query letters, then
proposals, outlines, and sample chapters to publishing houses. Twenty-
one houses responded: 'No thank you.' They all told me, kindly, that
it was a great idea, well written, but it wouldn't sell. Young people
today just don't read William Wordsworth, they said.
"I was devastated. But I continued to send it around--one publishing
house at a time. The twenty-second editor who read the manuscript was
an Anglophile--she loved all things English--and she was willing to
take a chance. But--she wanted a complete manuscript before she would
give me a contract, and she wanted a new beginning. She got them both.
When the book was finally published, after twenty-one rejections and
four years of research and writing, William Wordsworth: The Wandering
Poet was named by the Child Study Association to its list, 'Best
Biographies of the Year,' and I was off and running--literally and figuratively. And that's the definition of the word persistence."
WRITINGS BY THE AUTHOR:
* William Wordsworth: The Wandering Poet, Thomas Nelson
(Nashville, TN), 1975.
* A Restless Spirit: The Story of Robert Frost, Atheneum (New
York, NY), 1981.
* Breaking Tradition: The Story of Louise Nevelson, Atheneum (New
York, NY), 1984.
* (Compiler) Let's Pretend: Poems of Flight and Fancy, illustrated
by Bill Bell, Viking (New York, NY), 1986.
* Thomas Jefferson: Man on a Mountain, Atheneum (New York, NY),
* Marc Chagall: Painter of Dreams, illustrated by Vera Rosenberry,
Jewish Publication Society (Philadelphia, PA), 1991.
* Abigail Adams: Witness to a Revolution, Atheneum (New York, NY),
* Countdown to Independence: A Revolution of Ideas in England and
Her American Colonies, 1760-1776, Atheneum (New York, NY), 2001.
* Thomas Jefferson: Draftsman of a Nation, 2007.
"Contributor to periodicals, including The Lion and the Unicorn."