TeachingBooks Virtual Book Tour

The TeachingBooks Virtual Book Tour is your opportunity to learn from and build personal connections with extraordinary book creators and their brand-new titles. Included in all Virtual Book Tour posts are original interviews with authors and illustrators, lesson plans, an activity designed for young people, and much more!

Welcome Frances O'Roark Dowell

Frances O’Roark Dowell on Hazard

In this post, we feature author Frances O’Roark Dowell, whose previous, acclaimed titles include How to Build a Story . . . Or, the Big What If. You can hear her speak about her new novel, Hazard, and try her “invitation to imagine” activity. You’ll also find other resources to explore. Thanks for joining us, and let us know what you think in the comments below!

Frances O'Roark Dowell and the cover of Hazard.


  • Written by Frances O’Roark Dowell
  • Published by Caitlyn Dlouhy Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster’s Atheneum Books for Young Readers
  • Release date: May 10, 2022

Everybody knows Hazard Stokes has mad football skills. A defensive back, he’s never played dirty, so it’s a shock when he makes a bad hit the first game of the season and gets thrown off the field. Now Coach won’t let him back on the team until a therapist gives the thumbs up. At first, Haz denies there’s a problem, but over time he starts to get it: When your dad’s at Walter Reed Medical Center getting fitted for a prosthetic limb to replace a leg lost in an IED blast (and won’t let you come visit him while he’s there), it might make you angry enough to hurt somebody. On top of that, Haz discovers his dad’s dealing with wounds that go deeper than the loss of a leg. Through emails, texts, and family interviews, Haz slowly begins to understand how the body keeps score when bad things happen to people you love, and how the anger and confusion you feel can become the violence you commit. Both Hazard and his dad have to come to terms with the suffering they’ve caused other people—and themselves.

From Hazard, written by Frances O’Roark Dowell.

The real story is this: the hit was clean.

Read a longer excerpt from Hazard, by Frances O’Roark Dowell.

Explore Hazard

Listen to Frances O’Roark Dowell talking with TeachingBooks about creating Hazard. You can click the player below or experience the recording on TeachingBooks, where you can read along as you listen, and also translate the text to another language.

Invitation to Imagine

TeachingBooks asks each author or illustrator on our Virtual Book Tour to share a writing prompt, a drawing exercise, or just an interesting question to spark curiosity and creativity. Enjoy the following activity contributed by Frances O’Roark Dowell.

Imagination Activity with Frances O’Roark Dowell

Write a poem or a letter about a time you pretended you were doing okay when you really weren’t. What was going on in your life? Why was it hard to talk about? How did you try to disguise your feelings? What happened that made you finally admit—to yourself and others—that you were having a hard time dealing?

Finish This Sentence . . . with Frances O’Roark Dowell

As part of our Virtual Book Tour, TeachingBooks asks authors and illustrators to complete short sentence prompts. Enjoy Frances O’Roark Dowell’s response.

“I hope that my book may encourage readers to think about…”

I hope my book encourages readers to think about what it’s like to be in a military family. We tend to either deify or vilify soldiers in our society: they’re either Marvel Comic super heroes or else infested with toxic masculinity. But soldiers and their families are real people, with all the good and bad stuff that’s a part of being human.

More Connections to Frances O’Roark Dowell and Hazard

Explore all of the titles featured in the TeachingBooks Virtual Book Tour: one link with author interviews, lesson plans, activities, and more!

All text and images are courtesy of Frances O’Roark Dowell and Simon & Schuster and may not be used without expressed written consent.

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