Louis Bayard

Louis Bayard is the author of several novels including Mr. Timothy—a New York Times notable book and one of People magazine’s 10 best books of the year—The Pale Blue Eye, The Black Tower, The School of Night, and Roosevelt’s Beast. He is also a nationally recognized essayist and critic whose articles have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and elsewhere. He has been nominated for both the Edgar and Dagger awards and has been named one of People’s top authors of the year. He lives in Washington, DC where he teaches creative writing at George Washington University.

Books and Lesson Plans

  • Mr. Timothy

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    It’s the Christmas season, and Mr. Timothy Cratchit, not the pious child the world thought he was, has just buried his father. He’s also struggling to bury his past as a cripple and shed his financial ties to his benevolent “Uncle” Ebenezer by losing himself in the thick of London’s underbelly. He boards at a brothel in exchange for teaching the mistress how to read and spends his nights dredging the Thames for dead bodies and the treasures in their pockets.

    Appropriate for grades 9 and up.

    Lessons on history, character development, and symbolism.

  • Lucky Strikes

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    With her mama recently dead and her pa sight unseen since birth, Amelia is suddenly in charge of her younger brother and sister—and of the family gas station. Harley Blevins, local king and emperor of Standard Oil, is in hot pursuit to clinch his fuel monopoly. To keep him at bay and keep her family out of foster care, Melia must come up with a father—and fast. And so when a hobo rolls out of a passing truck, Melia grabs opportunity by its beard. Can she hold off the hounds till she comes of age?

    Appropriate for grades 6 and up.

    Lesson plans for Lucky Strikes are currently in development. 

  • Roosevelt’s Beast

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    A reimagining of Teddy and Kermit Roosevelt’s ill-fated 1914 Amazon expedition—a psychological twist on the smart historical thriller that first put Louis Bayard on the map

    1914. Brazil’s Rio da Dúvida, the River of Doubt. Plagued by hunger and suffering the lingering effects of malaria, Theodore Roosevelt, his son Kermit, and the other members of the now-ravaged Roosevelt-Rondon scientific expedition are traveling deeper and deeper into the jungle. When Kermit and Teddy are kidnapped by a never-before-seen Amazonian tribe, the great hunters are asked one thing in exchange for their freedom: find and kill a beast that leaves no tracks and that no member of the tribe has ever seen. But what are the origins of this beast, and how do they escape its brutal wrath?

    Roosevelt's Beast is a story of the impossible things that become possible when civilization is miles away, when the mind plays tricks on itself, and when old family secrets refuse to stay buried. With his characteristically rich storytelling and a touch of old-fashioned horror, Bayard turns the story of the well-known Roosevelt-Rondon expedition on its head and dares to ask: Are the beasts among us more frightening than the beasts within?

    Appropriate for grades 11 and up.

    Course lesson plans for Roosevelt's Beast are currently in development.

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