My story is not unlike many who write books for young readers. I came to this profession both from my experience as a parent and as a teacher. As a parent, I spent many nights reading to my daughters when they were young. We also looked forward to our weekly trip to the public library and for our book-of-the-month club selections to arrive in the mail.
My experience as a second grade teacher was also invaluable. I read everyday to my second grade students, it was our after-lunch ritual. I can still remember the look in my students' eyes when I read a story that they could really connect with. Their responses taught me that literature--good literature--is an important part of growing up.
Their responses also taught me to look more closely at what authors did. As I started to analyze each author's work, I started to dream of being an author myself. So, I started writing my ideas down, and after a few false starts I sold my first book, Night Is Coming, to E. P Dutton in 1988. It was the start of a new, but equally satisfying career.
Although, ultimately, I quit teaching elementary school, I didn't stop teaching altogether. I went back to school and earned a doctorate in elementary school curriculum, with an emphasis in reading and language arts. Upon graduation, I accepted a faculty position at a small university in Chicago.
I taught education classes for over 25 years, working with veteran teachers in a graduate program in curriculum studies. Now, I write full time and travel the country as an author and storyteller, sharing my writing and publishing experiences with students preK - 8th grade.
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