Learning to See is a historical novel about Dorothea Lange, the pioneering documentary photographer who captured iconic images of the Great Depression and the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II. A gripping read for fans of The Aviator’s Wife, Loving Frank, and Before We Were Yours.


Hooper excels at humanizing giants....seamlessly weaving together the time, places and people in Lange’s life...For photo buffs and others familiar with her vast body of work, reading the book will be like discovering the secret backstory of someone they thought they knew.” - The Washington Post

“A fascinating and sometimes surprising introduction to a woman known for her iconic photographs but not her eventful life. Plenty for book clubs to discuss about work-life balance.” - Library Journal

“Historical fiction fans will gobble up Hooper’s novel and be left with the satisfied feeling that they have lived through much of the 20th century with Dorothea Lange.” - Publishers Weekly

“Hooper does an admirable job at condensing a multitude of decades and careers into an immensely entertaining and page-turning novel.” - Historical Novel Society

"Hooper makes me not only feel for Lange, but also wish I could call her up like her friend, Imogen [Cunningham], and tell her I’m coming over for a visit." - Forbes.com

“A beautiful, layered, page-turner of a book about the American photographer Dorothea Lange.” - Bust Magazine

“Elise Hooper’s Dorothea Lange is magnetic!...This is a winning novel from the first page.” - Devin Murphy, national bestselling author of The Boat Runner and Tiny Americans

“A powerful and timely view of America told through the lens of Dorothea Lange, a fascinating woman whose photographs shone a light on the nation’s forgotten and abandoned...Detailed and thoroughly immersive, Learning to See grips the reader and highlights an important period in American history.” - Chanel Cleeton, author of Next Year in Havana

“Hooper deftly balances the fascinating historical fabric of the novel with the personal life of its complicated protagonist.” - Erika Robuck, national bestselling author of The House of Hawthorne and Hemingway’s Girl

“Written with grace, empathy, and bright imagination, LEARNING TO SEE gives us the vivid interior life of a remarkably resilient woman. Dorothea Lange’s story is about passion and art, love and family, but also about the sacrifices women make—and have always made—to illuminate the truth of the world.” - Danya Kukafka, national bestselling author of Girl in Snow