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About the Author:  Alan N. Kay

In order to understand the people of the past, we must see them as people,” says Alan N. Kay, author of the Young Heroes of History, a historical fiction series for children.  An award-winning teacher with more than 13 years of experience at the secondary level, Kay brings a unique understanding of the special learning needs of young adults to his writing. 

Kay recently published No Girls Allowed, the fifth book in the series with book six, Crossroads at Gettysburg, due out in early  2005. 
The series, aimed at ages 10-14, explores the Civil War from the perspective of young people caught in the conflict. Deciding it would be much more effective to provide students with a role model they can relate to, the books tell the story of one family over the course of the war.  In successive books, the narrative voice is passed to younger members of the family, which allows the characters to remain the same age as their readers. 

“I wanted to write for this group because they haven’t yet learned to dread history,” says Kay. “I want them to know that history can be fun!” In addition, Kay hopes to show teachers and parents the value of historical fiction as an alternative learning tool to traditional textbooks.

The detailed and careful research that Kay does when creating his young heroes matches his celebrated teaching style.  Building on his teaching experience with American and world history and his previously published short novel for young adults, Jamestown Journey, Kay called museums, read primary source material from the era and consulted the published literature on the period.  He believes that the effort to research small details, such as what type of apple a Virginia boy might eat during the Civil War, are important in bringing a sense of immediacy to the text for its readers.  

The recipient of the 2002 Daughter’s of the American Revolution National Outstanding American History Teacher of the Year award, the Florida 2002 Outstanding American History Teacher of the Year Award,  the 2001 Florida History Fair Teacher of the Year, and a Finalist for the 2001 National History Day Teacher of the Year, Kay is known for creative teaching as well as creative writing.  He is the initiator and coordinator of the Pinellas County History Day, and has taken students to the state level each year since 1999.

Kay has also developed award-winning curriculum for teachers and given many workshops on education topics such as teaching the Civil War, using historical fiction in the classroom and how to participate in History Day.  Free lesson plans and resource lists for parents and teachers about his novels are available at www.youngheroesofhistory.com.  

Kay completed his masters in education at the University of Massachusetts in Boston and received his bachelor’s in history cum laude from Brandeis University in Waltham, Mass.   He currently teaches History, at East Lake High School in Tarpon Springs, Fla.

Kay also enjoys coaching and playing ice hockey and riding bicycles.  Kay and his wife, Heidi, have three children. 

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