The revised 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 BN.com!
I spent two terrific days at River Grove School in River Grove, IL "Celebrating the Pleasures of Poetry" with students in grades K-5 on April 3-4. We had a great time writing "list poems" together. I returned on April 19 to speak to both students and parents at the evening Literacy Night. They were an enthusiastic audience, as you can see in the photo below. That night, the families received a packet containing the group "list poems" the students had written during my visit, plus instructions for how students could create their own individual list poems.
I was especially pleased to see the group list poems we'd created together displayed on the school's Poet-Tree that night. (See the photo below.) I hope by now the tree's leaves are filled with some of the students' individual poems. Special thanks to teacher Mary Chamberlain for all she did to make my visit such a success!
In February, 2011, I was happy to be invited back to speak at Mary, Seat of Wisdom School in Park Ridge, Illinois. The students were every bit as enthusiastic as last time.
Here, I'm showing students in kindergarten through grade 2 the hand signs for a song we sang together.
And here the older students raise their hands to ask questions.
In May, 2010, I again had the honor of speaking as part of the Joliet, Illinois School District Reading Week. Below are photos from the two schools I visited.
The students of Parks Cultural were eager to answer my questions.
Here, the students of Forest Park Ind. Education School raise their hands to make signs with me as part of a singalong.
I had the pleasure of leading a workshop with my fellow Teaching Authors this past March at the 2010 Illinois Reading Council Conference in Springfield, Illinois. (See the photo below.) Five of the six Teaching Authors and two DePaul University professors presented "Flabby to Faby: Writing Workouts to Shape Up Your Curriculum." We had a wonderful time, and judging from attendee feedback, our audience found the session most helpful.
From left to right: Mary Ann Rodman, Esther Hershenhorn, JoAnn Early Macken, me, and April Halprin Wayland
I was honored to be one of the presenters at this year's Illinois Prairie Writer's Day held November 14 at Harper College. Here's a photo from by breakout session.
I had the honor of being one of five authors who spoke to students in the Joliet, Illinois School District as part of their May, 2009, Reading Week. See the photos below.
My first stop in Joliet was Culbertson School. Here, I'm showing the students a rutabaga and explaining why I love the sound of the word.
Here I am speaking to an enthusiastic audience of students in grades K-2 at Thigpen School.
I had the privilege of speaking to the students at St. Joseph School in Downers Grove, Illinois on April 14, 2009. They were a great audience. And, as you can see from the photo below, they weren't afraid to ask questions. The second photo is from my visit with the school's writing club. I'm going to have lots of competition when they get a bit older!
The writing club was very interested in seeing all the editors' comments on my manuscript of Rosa, Sola.
I spoke at a meeting of the American Italian Cultural Society Tuesday, November 11, 2008.. The members made me feel VERY welcome! One even took the photo below.
As part of my presentation, I shared 12 things that are true of most Italian-Americans, including Rosa Bernardi, the main character in Rosa, Sola.
I was one of the local authors who participated in Author Fair 2008, held at the Joliet Public Library, Saturday, October 4. Several of us are gathered together in the photo below. We enjoyed meeting so many book fans!
I had the honor of speaking at the 34th Annual Young Authors Conference in Normal, Illinois on Saturday, May 17, 2008. I met some very talented young authors there. See the conference photos below.
Here I am speaking to a group of fourth-grade young author winners.
Here I am with my good friend and fellow author, Esther Hershenhorn, at the Friday evening booksigning.
On Thursday, May 15, 2008, I spoke to students in grades 4-7 at St. Frances Cabrini School, in West Bend, Wisconsin. What a smart group of kids! See the photos below.
I am looking on as students work on a writing exercise as part of a "Turning Life into Fiction" workshop.
Here, I am reading a passage from Rosa, Sola that is based on my own life experience.
On Wednesday, March 26, I had the honor of speaking at the Annual Catholic Library Association Convention, which was held in Indianapolis. Not only did I get to know some wonderful teachers and librarians, I also had the privilege of meeting Vera B. Williams, this year's Regina Medal winner. See the photos below.
I spoke on the topic "Turning Life into Fiction"
Here I am in the conference bookstore with this year's Regina Medal Winner, Vera B. Williams. The booksellers from Kids Ink, Indianapolis, took excellent care of us!
I had the privilege of attending the Illinois Reading Council Conference held in Springfield, IL March 12-15. In addition to being one of the authors featured at Friday's Illinois Author/Illustrators Luncheon, I was able to sit in on some wonderful presentations. See the photos below.
Here I am with my friend and fellow Illinois author Karen Halvorsen Schreck at the SCBWI-Illinois booth.
Here I am at the Illinois author/illustrator luncheon, holding up the wonderful sign made for me by Springfield area students. Thanks so much for your hard work!
On Leap Day, Friday, February 29, I spoke to the teen writing workshop at the Orland Park Public Library. My topic was "Taking the Leap--Experimenting with Point of View." What a great group of writers! Below are a couple of photos from that afternoon.
Here I am answering a question from one of the teen participants.
I presented the workshop, "Turning Life Into Fiction," at the Elmhurst Public Library Saturday, Feb. 16, 2008. Below is a photo of me listening to a question from a program attendee.
Chrissie Howorth interviewed me for "The Write Marbles" website. Click the link below to read the interview. And be sure to check out the other great information posted on the website.
I was one of four children's authors at the Naperville Barnes & Noble Educator Event on Saturday, October 13, 2007. See the photo below.
I'm sitting beside Glennette Tilley Turner. Behind us are Patricia Kummer and Gail Piernas-Davenport.
On October 12, 2007, I spoke at the Annual Fall Conference of the Wisconsin Chapter of the Catholic Library Association. I used a PowerPoint presentation to describe my "Winding Road to Publication." See the photos below.
I was one of the featured children's authors at the 5th Annual Midwest Literary Festival in Aurora, IL, October 6-7, 2007. My presentations included a reading and signing on Saturday afternoon, and talks for parents and writers Saturday and Sunday afternoons. See the photos below.
I had the honor of being on a panel with two great young adult authors: on the left, Renee Rosen, and on the right, Anne Ylvisaker.
Here I am with a group of my fellow SCBWI-Illinois children's authors.
I had the pleasure of being one of eight authors appearing at the Chicago Kids Bookstore and More Inaugural Fall Benefit, Saturday, September 8, 2007. Here's a picture of my table outside the store:
I co-facilitated another WRITE PLACE/WRITE TIME retreat for children's writers with fellow author Sharon Darrow. The retreat was held April 27-29, 2007 at the Chicago Cenacle. The weekend was a great success! See the photos below.
Retreat participants taking notes during one of the weekend workshops.
More rapt retreatants.
I had the honor of judging the Plainfield Public Library's Short Story Competition. The fourth, fifth, and sixth-grader authors did a great job! I also gave a presentation at the library on Saturday, March 17, 2007. All participants and their parents were invited to attend, and afterward I had lunch with the winning authors. The fourth grade winners are pictured below.
To see a brief article on the day's events, including a photo of all the winners, click the link below.
I enjoyed speaking to two groups of great readers and writers at Jefferson Elementary School on Friday, January 26, 2007.
I was one of thirteen authors who participated in the
2nd Annual Author Fest at the Fountaindale Public Library, on Saturday, Dec. 9, 2006.
I had the pleasure of spending Tuesday, November 28, 2006, visiting Mary, Seat of Wisdom School in Park Ridge, IL. See the photos below.
During my morning presentation, students in grades seven and eight raise their hands to ask questions about becoming a published author.
I'm impressed with the poems and "film strip" created by sixth-graders to accompany the novel Rosa, Sola.
In an afternoon workshop, I talk with sixth-graders about how to transform real life into fiction.
Everyone at Mary, Seat of Wisdom School made me feel welcome, especially teacher Beth Cushing.
I am now a columnist for The Prairie Wind, the online newsletter for the Illinois chapter of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). Click below to read my latest column of writing tips.
In honor of Children's Book Week, I spoke to a group of children ages 7-10 at the Oswego Public Library Saturday, November 18.. They asked lots of great questions!
I had the pleasure of presenting the workshop "Transforming Fact Into Fiction" to two groups of talented young authors in grades 3, 4, and 5 at the Oak Park Young Authors Conference, Saturday, October 21, 2006. See the photos below.
The 25th Annual Oak Park Young Authors Conference was held at Abraham Lincoln Elementary School.
I'm listening as a talented young author shares the fictional "scary story" she crafted based on her real-life experience.
The September, 2006 edition of The Edge of the Forest interviewed me for its "A Day in the Life" column. To read the interview, click the link below.
A seven-year-old's review of Rosa, Sola
appeared in the Chicago Tribune
Books section, Sunday, September 3, 2006. For details, see the Book Info
In summer 2006 I taught both the Girls Write! and Girls Write On! writing camps at the Hinsdale Center for the Arts. We had a wonderful time. Hope we can do it again next year.
Saturday, May 20, 2006, I participated in the 32nd Annual Illinois Young Authors Conference in Normal, Illinois. Below you can see me speaking to a group of wonderfully talented young authors!
Sunday, April 2, 2006 I had the honor of being part of the Great Women of Fiction Panel at the PlanetEsme Bookroom in Chicago. You can see me below with Laura Ruby, author of The Wall and the Wing, and Brenda Ferber, author of Julia's Kitchen.
The Baltimore County Public Library has named Rosa, Sola to its list of "Great Books for Kids 2005"!
I was honored to be a guest speaker with fellow authors Julia Durango and Hillary Frank at the First Annual SCBWI-Illinois Prairie Writer's Day held at Dominican University on November 12, 2005. I hope to have photos to post here soon.
In October, 2005, Cynthia Leitich Smith interviewed me for her blog, CYNSATIONS.
Many thanks to everyone who attended my September 18 signing. Below, you can see me addressing the crowd as I discuss how I came to write Rosa, Sola.
In the following photo, children's authors Heidi Roemer and Mary Chamberlin watch as I sign a copy of Rosa, Sola. I autographed over 100 copies that day!
On June 25, 2005, I signed advance copies of Rosa, Sola at the ALA Convention in Chicago.
The weekend of May 20-22, 2005, I co-facilitated an SCBWI-Illinois writing retreat with my fellow author and teacher, Sharon Darrow. THE WRITE PLACE/THE WRITE TIME, a retreat for children's book writers, was held at the campus of Dominican University in River Forest, Illinois. The weekend was a great success, and we hope to offer it again next year.
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