Author spotlight: Elizabeth Raum

Elizabeth Raum is a prolific writer of history in both fiction and non-fiction. Her most recent title, A Kidnapping in Kentucky, 1776, is available from Chicken Scratch Books.

Q: Where did you get the idea for your most recent book, A Kidnapping in Kentucky, 1776?

A: I’ve always been fascinated with our country’s history. I came across the story of the kidnapping of 13-year-old Jemima Boone while I was researching another book:  Cutting a Path: Daniel Boone and the Cumberland Gap (Capstone Press, 2016). I knew the story of the kidnapping would intrigue young readers as much as it intrigued me. When kids read, they tend to put themselves into the story and imagine what it would be like to be the main character. How would they feel if they were kidnapped? What would they do? If a friend was taken, would they join the search party? In this book, they’ll also learn what it would be like to have lived in one of the earliest settlements on the Kentucky frontier.

I was thrilled when Chicken Scratch Books published this book in June 2022. The publisher shares my goal of providing good books that promote traditional values like family, faith, and freedom. The publisher also offers novel units for students who want to dig deeper into literature.

Q. Have you written other books about history?

A: Yes. I’ve written 14 biographies for young readers. These include Anne Hutchinson, Abraham Lincoln, Lewis & Clark, several astronauts, and others. Space flight intrigues me, although I have to admit that I would not volunteer to go into space. Writing about astronauts was thrilling enough.

I’ve also written over 60 nonfiction books about colonial America, the Revolutionary War, the Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution. In fact, one of the newest is Constitution Q&A: 175 Fascinating Facts for Kids, published in 2021.

Q: Tell me more about your works of fiction.

A: My fiction books are all based on historical events. I’ve written several books in the Capstone “You Choose” series, as well as an interactive novel series based on the Christ’s ministry. That series, Choose Your Journey, is published by JourneyForth Books, a division of BJU Press. It includes four books set during in the 1st century. Learning how people lived in the past, how they viewed their world, and how, despite the difference in time and place, they are like us in many ways, is fascinating.

Q: What are interactive novels?

A: Interactive novels allow the readers to make choices as they read. For example, in the book, Crossroads in Galilee, the reader can choose to take on the role of a boy from the vineyard, the fisherman’s sister, or the tax collector’s brother. Each role has its own chapter during which readers encounter Jesus and learn more about Him and His ministry. Interactive novels empower younger readers. The sections are short, and each choice leads to another. Readers can always try different role and go back to make see how different decisions might have turned out.

Q:  What got you interested in history?

A. I grew up in Vermont surrounded by history. My mom loved exploring and often took my brothers and me to historical sites, museums, and cemeteries where we saw the gravestones of early settlers and Revolutionary War soldiers. My dad loved to walk through the woods where we discovered abandoned stone cellar holes and other artifacts of the past. Now, I get to tell today’s children about how our country began. I hope to help young readers understand the social and political context in which historical events took place. This will help them not only value the past, but make good decisions in the future.

Q: What changes do you see happening in the book world today?

A: I am concerned that we are in a period of revisionist history. None of us is perfect. Neither were people in the past. However, searching for flaws in historical figures without regard to their accomplishments dishonors both the historical figures and today’s young readers. Children need heroes. An honest look at history includes identifying problems, but also celebrating events in the past that led us to where we are today.

Elizabeth’s website is:

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By susanreimer

I am the author of the YA series Forged in Flames and the children's picture book Letters in the Woods from Word Alive Press. I am a Jesus follower, mom and gramma living in beautiful Northern Ontario, Canada.

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