Dorothy Hinshaw Patent
Writer and Teacher
Meet Dorothy
Publications & Reviews
Talks & Worshops

Welcome to my website, where you can learn about my books, about my life as a writer, and about my efforts to help children love to read and love to learn through the new company, iNK Think Tank!

I just got news that the Montana State Library and Humanities Montana has selected my book "When the Wolves Returned: Saving Nature's Balance in Yellowstone" to represent Montana for the National Book Festival in D.C. in September. I love that a book that explains why wolves are a vital part of the ecosystem has received this honor. Too many people do not understand how top predators help keep ecosystems healthy.

My book "Homesteading: Settling America's Heartland," has been expanded and will be out in September from Mountain Press. The book is a perfect fit for studies of the westward expansion movement. The homesteading era is of special interest to me as my father, H. Corwin Hinshaw, grew up on an Idaho homestead that became a thriving apple orchard. As a child growing up in California, I visited the orchard several times during the summer, and my family always received baskets of amazing apples from the farm every fall.

My Other Latest Books

"Dogs on Duty: Soldiers' Best Friends on the Battlefield and Beyond," has been very well received. Kirkus says, "The story of Military Working Dogs and Specialized Search Dogs is presented in a fascinating, full-color volume...this lively bursting-with-life volume covers the life of the canine forces from puppy to MWD to retirement...a sure hit with dog lovers everywhere."

It has also been chosen for several lists, including ALA Notable Children's Books, CBC Best Children's Books of the YEar, and the IRA Teachers' Choices Reading List. It's also nominated for state awards in NY, ND, and RI.

While it was a difficult book to write in some ways, I focused my energy and attention on the fact that the most important job of these dogs is to save lives, not only the lives of their handlers and other members of the patrol but also of innocent civilians who share the roads and pathways of countries like Afghanistan with the military.

The dogs do more that carry out their duties--they also provide the fighting forces with a special presence of love, loyalty, and playfulness that helps relieve the stress of war and reminds the soldiers that there's more to life than fighting, dust, and danger.

To learn more about this book and my work, see this entry on the International Reading Association blog, Five Questions for Dorothy Hinshaw Patent and the Time Magazine Battleland blog.

"The Horse and the Plains Indians," has a star from School Library Journal! Here's a sample from their review:

"This certain to draw readers who are interested in Native American history or horses."

Kirkus Reviews calls it "Very well done; an important resource." If you read the reviews on, please know that all the photos except old ones are in color. A couple of the folks who wrote reviews here must have only seen review copies, which were in black and white.

This book was truly a labor of love and respect. Within a few years of acquiring horses after the Spanish brought them to America, Indians became among the greatest horsmen in the world and created vibrant new horse-related aspects to their cultures. I wanted to communicate these achievements to young people and to show them that despite all they have suffered at the hands of European American culture, the Indians heart and soul attachment to horses endures.


I'm also delighted with the reception for "Saving Audie: A Pit Bull Puppy Gets a Second Chance,". School Library Journal gave it a star, and Publishers' Weekly wrote:

"This polished photo-essay by frequent collaborators Patent and Muñoz will tug at the heartstrings of readers--especially those sympathetic to the plight of the often-maligned pit bull. In cogent, conversational prose, the author chronicles the rehabilitation journey of one of the dogs rescued in 2007 from NFL quarterback Michael Vick's illegal dogfighting operation."

Bill Muñoz and I had a great time visiting Audie and his family, Linda, Bill, and his canine brother, Aldo, in the San Francisco Bay Area. We also got to meet many wonderful people and dogs associated with BAD RAP (Bay Area Dogowners Responsible About Pitbulls). This organization played key roles in giving the vicitims of Vick's operation a chance to become members of loving, caring families. And with the precedent set by that case, vicitims of other dog fighting rings now have the same hope.

Audie has his own Facebook page, and website. There you can see more photos and find links to more information about pit bulls. Bill and I hope that Audie's story will help the public realize that pit bulls are no different from other dogs--the most important thing in determining a pet's behavior is how it is raised and trained, not any special inborn traits.

My Career

I've been enjoying my writing career for more than 35 years. While I've focused mostly on writing nonfiction books for children, I've also written in many other genres including travel articles and gardening books for adults.

In addition to being an author, I love to share what I’ve learned about writing with children, fellow writers, and the public. I’ve been a featured speaker at many conferences and schools, and I’ve taught nuts and bolts workshops on writing for children, as well as sessions on freeing the creative spirit from the restraints of the internal critic. I also work as a consultant with less experienced writers, helping them hone their work to make it more publishable. Learn more about my talks, workshops, & consulting. With the internet, it's now much easier to interact with students through Skype sessions or other means of long-distance visual sharing.

I'm also involved in an exciting new endeavor, Ink Think Tank, LLC, a company formed to help teachers and librarians use nonfiction trade books in the classroom. Children love books that are engagingly written, while bland textbooks can turn them off to reading. The data base available without cost at shows how the nonfiction books of two dozen award-winning nonfiction authors can help meet the curriculum standards of America's schools. These books can provide a win-win situation for schools. The children are exercising their reading muscles at the same time they are learning material they need to know.

With our Authors on Call service, teachers and students alike can interact with award-winning nonfication writers to help children learn the things they need to know to pass the tests they are required to take. We set up "virtual classrooms," where we can interact on a personal level with our audience, just as if we were in the same room, except one of us may be in New York, another in Montana, and still another in a different location. This school year, we're collaborating with Bogert School in New Jersey, with spectacular results. Check out our online wiki, where the authors and teachers alike write of our work together. If you have any questions, feel free to email me.

My Life

My home in Missoula, Montana, sits on a half acre of land on a plateau next to Blue Mountain, with the Missoula Valley and the mountains beyond visible from our windows. Sometimes the mountains are obscured by beautiful clouds. ViewIt's a perfect place for a person who loves nature to live. Across the street is a beautiful meadow where we used to walk our dogs, Elsa and Ninja, almost every day for years. We now love to take care of neighbor dogs when their people are away. Learn more about my professional & personal life >>

On my blog, I have chronicled some of my travels as I do my research and satisfy my curiosity about the world I live in. I let the blog slide for many months, but I get back to it off and on. It includes an entry about my trip to California to meet Audie and his people. I love to take pictures, and I post a photo or two with each entry. I've written about traveling down the Pacific Coast to California, Missoula's recent bout with climate change as record lows for October have been shattered and about visits to the fascinating shortgrass prairie in eastern Montana. Before our harvest season ended so abruptly in 2008, I wrote about peaches and chokecherries and about our wonderful recreation area, the Rattlesnake Valley, where only the minutes from downtown Missoula you can feel alone in nature as you sit beside the beautiful creek or hike through the valley.

When the Wolves Returned My recent book, When the Wolves Returned: Restoring Nature's Balance in Yellowstone, is an IRA/CBC Teachers' Choices book, an ALA Notable Children's Book, A Book Sense Pick, and an Outstanding Science Trade Book for CHildren, as well as receiving the Orbis Pictus Honor Book Award. Booklist calls is "A great choice for elementary units about science and environmental protection," and Kirkus gave it a starred review. Click here to read the reviews.

I loved writing this book, which describes the positive changes in the ecology of the park that are happening since the wolves came back--healthier willows, more beavers and small predators, more song birds, and more. Wolves have also returned to several western states around Yellowstone, including Montana, and their presence there is also helping restore the natural environment.


The natural world is my favorite place, but human cultures come in a close second. My recent book, The Buffalo and the Indians: A Shared Destiny combines these two loves as I recount the history of the relationship between Plains Indian tribes and the American bison over the thousands of years they have shared our planet, with help from photographer William Muñoz and historical artwork. School Library Journal says in its starred review, “Patent’s narrative is clear and her writing is almost lyrical,” while Booklist’s starred review points out, “The lucid narrative and spacious book design....will draw readers into the history and the science and prompt discussion of human and animal rights and the connections between them.” The book was chosen to represent Montana in the National Book Festival in Washington,D.C. for 2006 and has been chosen by the Mountain and Plains Independent Booksellers as a winner in the children’s catagory for 2007. The book was a work from the heart, both for me and for photographer Bill Muñoz, so we feel especially honored to receive this recognition.

To learn more about my books, visit Publications & Awards, where you can also learn about the food articles, some with great recipes by my husband, cookbook author Greg Patent. Greg's blog, The Baking Wizard , will inspire you to create great treats for yourself and your family from scratch.

For useful links and educational resources I've created, click here.

You can contact me by email here.

View websites for my publishers, some of my colleagues, & tips for writers >>

© 2007 Dorothy Hinshaw Patent. Site by Small Dog Solutions