Carmela A. Martino

Author. Speaker. Teacher.

Selected Works

Middle-Grade Novel
Rosa didn't know which she hated more--being lonely or being different. One thing she did know--she wanted a baby brother . . . one just like Antonio.

To read an excerpt from the novel,
click here.

For a list of discussion questions, click here.

The new edition of Rosa, Sola is now available, and includes a new "Discussion Questions" section for classroom use. The paperback can be ordered directly here, and from most online booksellers. The Kindle version is available from Amazon, and the Nook version is at!
Two Articles in the book below
Carmela's two articles appears in the 2016 Children's Writer's and Illustrator's Market edited by Chuck Sambuchino (Writer's Digest Books).
Short Story in Anthology
Short story in I Fooled You: Ten Stories of Tricks, Jokes, and Switcheroos, a middle-grade anthology edited by Johanna Hurwitz. See the teacher's guide here.
Poem in And the Crowd Goes Wild! A Global Gathering of Sports Poems edited by Carol-Ann Hoyte and Heidi Bee Roemer, a collection of 50 sports poems by writers from 10 countries.
Poem in Anthology
In Chicken Soup for the Soup: Teens Talk High School edited by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Amy Newmark, & Madeline Clapps
For Recommended Reading for Children and Teens click below:

Photo copyright JamieLynn Photography

Hello and welcome to my website! I am an author, speaker, and writing teacher. I write short stories, poetry, nonfiction, and novels for children and teens, and I also do freelance article writing for publications for adults. I completed my MFA in Writing from Vermont College in 2000. My articles and essays for adults have been published in books, newspapers, and magazines. My first children's novel, Rosa, Sola, was published by Candlewick Press. See the left sidebar for more info about my publications. If you'd like to learn more about me, be sure to scroll down and read the "About Me" section.

I have taught writing classes at the College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn, Illinois since April 1998. I also teach writing classes for both adults and children at the Mayslake Peabody Estate in Oak Brook, Illinois. For information about my classes, see the Writing Classes page. I also enjoy visiting schools and libraries to talk about the writing process. If you're interested in having me to speak at your school or library see the Author Visits page.

I now blog regularly as one of six Teaching Authors. Click the link below to visit our site, which includes writing exercises (called "Writing Workouts"), teaching tips, author interviews, book reviews, and answers to readers' "Ask the Teaching Authors" questions.

Like my character, Rosa Bernardi, I am the daughter of Italian immigrants, and I was born and raised in Chicago. Unlike Rosa, though, I am not an only child. Here's a picture of me with my younger brother and sister:

My Childhood

As a child, I loved to read so much that my mother often scolded me, saying, “You spend too much time with your nose in a book.” Because my family owned few books, I made regular bus trips to the library to stock up on reading material. When I was ten, my father purchased a brand new twenty-volume World Book Encyclopedia. The encyclopedia became one of my most valued possessions. I still use it to help me remember what the world was like when I was ten years old.

In junior high school, I began keeping a journal and writing poetry. The first piece of writing I ever had published was a poem called “My Sanctuary.” It appeared in a book of creative writing by Chicago public school students. I also had an essay published in the local newspaper and one of my poems appeared in my high school yearbook. Here's a picture of me on my high school graduation day, with my brother and sister again.

As an Adult

I put aside my writing dreams to major in Mathematics and Computer Science in college. After graduation, I took a position as a computer programmer, married, and moved to a Chicago suburb. I worked with computers for five years before becoming a training course developer. Writing training materials soon rekindled my interest in writing. After my son was born, I quit my training job and became a freelance writer.

I worked as a freelancer for the New Catholic Explorer for five years, writing feature articles and a bi-weekly interview column. Some of my articles and essays also appeared in the Chicago Tribune and several national magazines, including Writer’s Digest and Catholic Parent. Eventually, after being inspired by the books I read to my son every day, I decided to become a children’s writer. I went back to school and completed an MFA in Writing at Vermont College. That's where I first started writing Rosa, Sola. Even though parts of the novel are based on things that happened to me as a child, it's really Rosa's story, not mine.

People often ask if it's my picture on the cover of Rosa, Sola. The answer is no. Here's my fourth-grade picture. Do you think I look like the girl on the cover of the book?

Nowadays, I love to teach almost as much as I love to write. I have taught writing classes for adults at the College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn, Illinois since April, 1998. I also teach children's writing classes at the Hinsdale Center for the Arts. I am available to present writing workshops for both adults and children. To learn more, see the Author Visits page.

Five Things Most People Don't Know About Me:

  1. I can’t remember which I spoke first, English or Italian, but the Italian I spoke as a child was actually a dialect. I never learned “proper” Italian.
  2. As a preschooler, I entertained my family with my singing and dancing. When I started first grade, though, my teacher didn’t appreciate my antics. I sometimes had to stay after school for talking too much in class.
  3. At age 10, I was 5’ 5” tall and one of the tallest kids in the whole fifth grade, earning me the nickname “jolly green giant.” Yet my adult height is only 5’ 6 1/​2”.
  4. I first visited Italy at age 17, which is when I met one of my grandmothers for the first time. About half of my aunts, uncles, and cousins still live in Italy.
  5. I almost drowned in high school swim class, and I still don't like going in water over my head.

All content copyrighted by Carmela A. Martino, unless otherwise noted. Please do not copy without permission.

Free Rosa, Sola copies for teachers

For a limited time, I'm offering a free ebook copy of Rosa, Sola for teachers to preview for possible classroom use. For details, see the blog page.

Upcoming Presentations

Carmela will be giving two presentations at the Catholic Writers Guild Live Conference in Schaumburg, IL July 18-27 2017. See this website for details.

TeachingAuthors Blog

Carmela is one of six Teaching Authors who blog regularly about writing and teaching writing. Click on the link below to read their posts.

Carmela on YouTube!

Italian-American Culture

Click the Italian flag below and follow its match to find links about Italian-American culture.

Author Visits and Writing Classes

For information about author visits, see the Author Visits page.

Writer Resources

For links to writer resources, see the For Writers page.