Published by Disney-Hyperion
THOMAS PAINE AND THE DANGEROUS WORD
“The mind once enlightened cannot again become dark.”
As an English corset-maker’s son, Thomas Paine was expected to spend his life sewing women’s underwear. But as a teenager, Thomas dared to change his destiny, enduring years of struggle until a meeting with Benjamin Franklin brought Thomas to America in 1774-and into the American Revolution.
Within fourteen months, Thomas would unleash the persuasive power of the written word in Common Sense-a brash wake-up call that rallied the American people to declare independence against the mightiest empire in the world.
This fascinating and extensively researched biography, based on numerous primary sources, will immerse readers in Thomas Paine’s inspiring journey of courage, failure, and resilience that led a penniless immigrant to change the world with his words.
Sarah Jane Marsh is a writer of children’s narrative nonfiction and author of THOMAS PAINE AND THE DANGEROUS WORD (Disney-Hyperion, May 2018) and MOST WANTED: JOHN HANCOCK AND SAMUEL ADAMS (Disney-Hyperion, 2020).
Sarah has taught American Revolution history in elementary and middle school. Like Thomas Paine, Sarah attempted several adventurous careers (zookeeping, dolphin training, firefighting), before earning an MBA from the University of Vermont where she studied organizational change.
Also like Paine, Sarah believes in lifelong learning and speaking out for social action. She works with her community on youth suicide prevention, Adverse Childhood Experiences education, and meeting basic student needs.
Sarah lives with her family outside of Seattle. THOMAS PAINE AND THE DANGEROUS WORD is her first book.
Representation: Caryn Wiseman at Andrea Brown Literary Agency.
My Typical Writing Day
My typical writing day starts early, in the five o-clock hour, with a hot cup of coffee. I work best in these early hours when the world is dark and quiet and I can be alone with words in my head. Although it’s tempting, I’ve learned not to engage with email or the internet during this time as it derails my focus and I lose motivation.
Ideally, I’ll work until midday when my brain gets fuzzy. Then I’ll recharge with lunch and exercise, often walking or running along the river behind my house while listening to podcasts. I love to learn and refresh my brain with other people’s thoughts and ideas. And exercise is important because writing can be rough on your body, which is not designed to sit still for so long. When my kids get home from school, life gets busy. And when they were younger, any consistent writing was almost impossible for me.
Still, I have days where I don’t write at all. Since I write nonfiction, I’ll spend months doing research. And I also do school visits, teach in our school district’s homeschool program, and am active in my community. So I might be restocking our high school food pantry, teaching suicide prevention training to parents, or meeting to help grow a resilient and trauma-informed community. These projects really fire me up and balance out my solitary time at the computer.
Even now, sometimes the best I can do is jot down my thoughts in a spiral notebook while sitting in various parking lots around town. So don’t get discouraged. Have grace for yourself and be patient and persistent!
Thanks for hosting me on Bookhounds!
3 winners will receive a finished copy of THOMAS PAINE AND THE DANGEROUS WORD, US Only.
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