Valerie Tripp loved going to Mt. Kisco Elementary School, where her favorite teacher was Miss Pearl Sparks, who became the inspiration for the teacher in the books about Hopscotch Hill School®. Ms. Tripp's siblings also contributed to her interest in school and learning. She recalls, "My two older sisters taught me to read when they played school at home and I in turn taught my younger sister and brother. Playing school runs in the family; my daughter, Katherine, set up an entire classroom in the basement!"
In addition to the books in the Hopscotch Hill School series, Ms. Tripp is the author of 27 American Girls books, including the six books about Felicity®, who lived in Williamsburg, Virginia, during colonial times; the six books about Josefina®, an Hispanic girl growing up in New Mexico in 1824; three books about Samantha®, an orphan living in 1904; the six books about Kit®, who lived during America's Great Depression; and the six books about Molly®, who lived on the home front during World War II. Ms. Tripp is also the author of the plays in the American Girls Pastimes® series, the American Girls Short Stories® about Felicity, Josefina, Samantha, Kit, and Molly, and An Introduction to Williamsburg, a guide to Colonial Williamsburg.
In her role as author, Ms. Tripp has visited countless elementary schools, Girl Scout troops, and libraries across the United States and spoken with teachers and children about the joys of writing and reading. It was these visits that helped inspire Ms. Tripp to develop the Hopscotch Hill School series. "I saw how the curriculum for kindergarten and first grade had become more academic and demanding," she explains. "I decided to write the Hopscotch Hill School stories to help children meet the challenge of starting school with enthusiasm and confidence."
Ms. Tripp graduated with honors from the first coeducational class at Yale University in 1973. While an undergraduate, she helped found Calvin Hill Day Care Center. She worked there and wrote her senior thesis about the stories the three-, four-, and five-year old children told about themselves. From 1974 to 1980, Ms. Tripp was a writer for the Addison-Wesley Reading Program, where she wrote songs, stories, games, poems, plays, and skills exercises for children in grades Pre-K to 6.
In 1981, Ms. Tripp received a Masters of Education from Harvard University, where she focused on writing for children and reading education. Since then, Ms. Tripp has been freelance writing for The Hampton-Brown Company and ELHI Publishers Services creating educational materials for major publishers, including six Just One More poems for beginning readers, four of which have been translated into Spanish and are used in bilingual reading programs. She was honored as a March of Dimes Mother of the Year for her volunteer work in the local elementary schools and public libraries of Montgomery County, Maryland.
Valerie Tripp lives in Maryland with her husband Michael, daughter Katherine, and golden retriever, Sunday.
From The American Girl Company
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Through The Looking Glass Children’s Book Reviews
Kids book reviews, including book reviews of chapter books, novels, picture books, and non-fiction from famous children’s literature authors. Your review site of books for children.
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