Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Arlene B. Hirschfelder  

Pen Name: None

Genre: C:ADULT

Born: 1943 in Chicago, Illinois


Illinois Connection

Arlene was born and raised in Chicago.

Biographical and Professional Information

Arlene Hirschfelder is an educator and author. Her passion for writing nonfiction traces back to her childhood in Chicago. She grew up in a house surrounded by thousands of history books and a family where reading and writing seemed just about as important as breathing and eating! Hirschfelder earned her B.A. from Brandeis University in Massachusetts and M.A.T from the University of Chicago. Her post graduate work was completed at Columbia University Teachers’ College in New York. For over 20 years, Arlene worked in New York for the Association on American Indian Affairs as the scholarship director and education consultant. She was also a consultant at the Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of the American Indian and was a faculty member at New School for Social Research (now New School University) - both in New York.Hirschfelder has also been a workshop developer, and consultant on Native American issues and presenter at schools. She has designed curricula for museums and other institutions, including Smithsonian Institution/National Museum of the American Indian and Columbia University School ofSocial Work.Along with the many books she has written, Arlene has also been a contributor to other books and has written articles for ''Ms.'', ''Halcyon'', ''Los Angeles Times'', ''Indian Affairs'', ''Interracial Books for Children Bulletin'', and ''Shofar''. Her book contributions include: * ''Unlearning “Indian” Stereotypes, Racism and Sexism'', Resource Center for Educators* ''Ethnic Images in Toys and Games'',Pamela B. Nelson, editor, Balch Institute for Ethnic Studies* ''A Place Called Home: Twenty Writing Women Remember'', edited by Mickey Pearlman, St. Martin’s Press. Hirschfelder was the guest editor for the summer 1988, issue of ''Indian Affairs'' (special issue on American Indian religious freedom). She also helped compile the book, ''Rising Voices: Writings of Young Native Americans'' with Beverly Singer and was the sole editor of ''Native Heritage: Personal Accounts by American Indians 1790 to the Present''. Today, Arlene lives in Teaneck, New Jersey.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library


-- *(With others) Choice Outstanding Academic Book selection, 1984, for ''Guide to Research on North American Indians'', and 1994, for ''Native American Almanac'' * Western Heritage Wrangler Award, National Cowboy Hall of Fame/Western Heritage Center, 1986, Carter G. Woodson Book Award, and National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) citation, both 1987, and Notable Childrens Trade Book in Social Studies citation, NCSS/Childrens Book Council (CBC), all for ''Happily May I Walk'' *(with Paulette F. Molin) New York Public Library Outstanding Reference Book selection, 1992, for ''Encyclopedia of Native American Religions'' *(with Beverly R. Singer) New York Public Library Books for the Teen Age designation, Boston Globe Twenty-five Best in Childrens Nonfiction selection, and Notable Childrens Trade Book in the Field of Social Studies, all 1992, Teachers Choice and Childrens Choice selections, both International Reading Association/CBC, and White Raven Books selection, International Youth Library (Munich, Germany), all 1993, all for ''Rising Voices'' * New York Public Library Books for the Teen Age designation, 1995, for ''Artists and Craftspeople'' * Wordcraft Circle Reference Book designation, 1999, for ''American Indian Stereotypes in the World of Children'' * Voice of Youth Advocates Nonfiction Honor selection, 1999, for ''Kick Butts'' * (with Yvonne Wakim Dennis) CCBC Choices selection, and Notable Book for a Global Society designation, International Reading Association, both 2003, both for ''Children of Native America Today'' *(with others) Best Books selection, Bank Street College, and Gold Medal in multicultural nonfiction, Moonbeam Childrens Book Awards, both 2008, both for ''Children of the U.S.A.'' * Silver Medal, Independent Publisher Book Awards, and Gold Medal, Moonbeam Childrens Book Awards, both 2010, both for ''A Kids Guide to Native American History''