Inside a couple of days of first studying the viral story about Virginia Oliver, the now-102-year-old Rockland lady who’s Maine’s oldest working lobsterman, Bangor creator Alexandra Hinrichs was in Oliver’s front room, chatting together with her about Maine, lobsters and residing life in your personal phrases.
“She has an infectious snicker. She’s a pleasure to spend time with,” mentioned Hinrichs, who by day is a faculty librarian at Leonard Center College in Outdated City. “She’s actually form of bemused by how individuals are in her life. To her, it’s simply her life. However to everybody else, it’s a reasonably superb story.”
Not lengthy after that, Hinrichs had a tough draft written for a youngsters’s e-book about Oliver. About two years later, that e-book, “The Lobster Woman,” might be out Tuesday through Charlesbridge/Penguin Random Home, with illustrations by Maine artist Jamie Hogan.
The e-book tells Oliver’s life story, from rising up on her household’s tiny island, The Neck, off the coast of Knox County, to being among the many only a few feminine lobstermen engaged on Maine’s coast. Although girls lobstermen are pretty widespread today, when Oliver was rising up, it was principally extraordinary. Greater than 9 many years later, she’s nonetheless at it.
“It’s a narrative about doing what you wish to do, whatever the obstacles which are in your approach,” Hinrichs mentioned. “Ginny could have been the one feminine that was lobster fishing when she first began, however that wasn’t going to get in her approach. It simply didn’t happen to her to not do precisely what she wished to do.”
It’s Hinrichs’ fourth youngsters’s e-book, and it’s popping out scorching on the heels of her third e-book, “I Am Fabricated from Mountains,” a image e-book about America’s nationwide parks, which was launched on Tuesday. It’s an intense interval for Hinrichs, who’s ending up the college yr in Outdated City within the subsequent few weeks earlier than taking a year-long go away of absence from the college to concentrate on her writing.
Hinrichs’ path to writing for kids began when she herself was a toddler, writing tales for each faculty and for enjoyable.
“My dad lately discovered a factor I wrote after I was a child, that mentioned my targets in life have been to be on an undefeated soccer workforce, and to develop up and be an creator of youngsters’s books,” she mentioned. “I assume I knew very early on.”
Reasonably than research English in faculty she pursued historical past and French, and was ready to begin a historical past Ph.D. program on the College of Wisconsin when she had a change of coronary heart. Realizing she wished to be concerned in each books and in childhood schooling, she switched packages to library science whereas nonetheless finding out the historical past of childhood within the U.S.
Straight out of grad faculty, she acquired her ultimate job as a researcher for American Woman, the Wisconsin-based firm that has paired high-end dolls with historic books about varied durations in American historical past for almost 40 years. Hinrichs labored there for 3 years, studying the ins and outs of the kids’s publishing business and honing her expertise as a author.
When she and her husband, Brian, moved to Maine 10 years in the past so he might take the place of government director of the Bangor Symphony Orchestra, she started engaged on her first youngsters’s e-book, “Therese Makes a Tapestry,” printed in 2016. Her second e-book, “The Touring Digital camera: Lewis Hine and the Struggle to Finish Youngster Labor,” got here out in 2021. In between all of that, she and her husband had three boys, Nate, Sam and Jem.
“I Am Fabricated from Mountains” takes readers on a journey via nationwide parks via the eyes of youngsters visiting them, telling the tales of the landscapes and historical past of every park, together with Acadia, Yellowstone, Yosemite, the Everglades and plenty of others.
With “The Lobster Woman,” the story is a bit more private. Whereas writing it, Hinrichs’ editor identified that Ginny Oliver shares somewhat similarity with one other well-known Maine girl in a youngsters’s e-book: “Miss Rumphius.” The beloved e-book by Barbara Cooney was impressed by the real-life Hilda Hamlin, who in her outdated age unfold lupine seeds all throughout the Maine coast.
“Maine has been the backdrop for therefore many beloved youngsters’s books,” Hinrichs mentioned. “‘Miss Rumphius’ was undoubtedly a mentor textual content for me for ‘The Lobster Woman.’”
The yr’s slate of books for Hinrichs doesn’t finish with the 2 titles out this month. Her fifth e-book, “The Pocket Guide,” an ode to the issues we preserve in our pockets, is out in September.
“I didn’t intend for this yr to be such a whirlwind, nevertheless it’s pleasant that it has ended up this fashion,” she mentioned.
Hinrichs has two double e-book launches for each “I Am Fabricated from Mountains” and “The Lobster Woman” within the subsequent week: at 11 a.m. Saturday at The Briar Patch’s BookSpace on Columbia Road in Bangor, and on Could 27 on the Blue Hill Public Library, with Blue Hill Books. For extra data, go to alexandrahinrichs.com.