Author-I didn’t know I always wanted to be an author. True, I did take a creative writing class when I was seven at Governor’s State University, but it’s also true that a teacher kicked me out of her fifth grade writing class for creating something she didn't like.
Even though I had an amazing high school writing teacher, Mr. O’Keefe, who taught me the power of revision, I didn’t start writing creatively until I became a bilingual teacher. Since I couldn’t find the information I needed in Spanish, I wrote poems. You can sing the poem to the left to the tune of, “She’ll Be Coming Round the Mountain” and learn the names of oviparous animals in the process—if you speak Spanish that is!
Since there were books I wanted to read to my sons that didn’t exist, I began pursuing a professional writing career with the help of three fantastic mentors, April Jones Prince, Melissa Stewart, and Joan Duris. Fast forward through twelve years of critique groups, five years of Rutgers One-on-One Plus Conferences and two years earning an MFA from Simmons College, my writing caught the eye of editor extraordinaire, Susan Dobinick, who at the time worked for Farrar, Straus & Giroux Books for Younger Readers.
Books- My dad tells me he started reading Shakespeare to me when I was a toddler, but I don’t remember that or the lollipop in my mouth; however, I do remember I couldn't wait to go to bed because he would read me a book.
When I was four, I was sitting in my living room on our blue velour couch turning the pages of my favorite book, Snow, by Roy McKie, when the letters suddenly became words. I ran into the kitchen to tell my parents, and after that I read book after book.
So what books did I choose? In elementary school I read C.S. Lewis’s The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe over and over again. In middle school, Katherine Patterson’s Jacob Have I Loved lived in my heart.
As an adult, I read as many books for children’s and teens as I can. Check out the Classroom Book of the Week page to find out what books I'm enjoying now. Reading children’s books brings me joy. It also helps me become a better writer which makes my readers happier, too.
Outside-Anytime! Anyplace! Anywhere… as long as I have my down coat in the winter and a large bottle of sunscreen in the summer. During the school year, rain, snow, or shine, my hiking partner, my hound, and I climb Mt. Wachusett before school starts. We use headlamps, MICROspikes, and I keep plenty of cheese chunks in my pocket to keep Buck, my dog, away from the porcupines. During the summer, I like to mount higher peaks, and of course lie on the beach with a good book.
(Un )grateful-When I was a teenager, my parents told me I was ungrateful and they were right. Of course, I didn’t think they were right. It took me until I was thirty-two to realize I was wasting my life thinking about everything that was “wrong” in my life instead of celebrating everything that was “right.” Today, I’m grateful. I look for the positive in every place and in every person—including myself!
Traveler-I love to travel, and if I can live in a foreign country for an extended amount of time, that’s even better. When I was twenty, I lived in Santiago, Chile. I traveled the country from top to bottom. I even hiked the Incan Trail for three days to reach Macchu Picchu in Peru.
When I was thirty-four, my family and I lived in Japan for five months. My husband is a physics professor, and he’s from Japan. So, it made sense for him to spend his sabbatical at Osaka University. It was a great opportunity for our sons to attend school in Japan, and for me to learn a little bit of Japanese.
Since our stay in Japan, we’ve been fortunate enough to travel twice to Europe—once to Italy and once to Spain. I hope to have more opportunities to travel and learn about the world.
Kids-I’ve always loved being with kids. When I was in junior high, I began designing games for kids to play at my parents’ parties. Then, I became a teacher and planned activities for five days a week, forty weeks a year. Soon after, I became a parent and put the games and activities together for my sons’ birthdays. Anyone for a piece of Freight Train cake?
Athlete-My athletic career started with a passion for softball. In middle school, I added volleyball and basketball into the mix. By the end of high school, field hockey and track were my passions.
Now, I run, hike, lift weights and do yoga whenever I can. The best thing about being an athletic adult is that now I can do these activities with my family.
Teacher-I’ve taught first through eighth grade. Now, I teach fourth grade at Center School in Stow, Massachusetts, and I absolutely love it. Every day in the classroom is an opportunity not only to teach, but to learn something new from the kids and adults around me.
Education-While earning my undergraduate degrees in Spanish and sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, I spent a year studying at La Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile. After earning my Masters in Education from University of Wisconsin-Madison, I moved out to Massachusetts. Later on, I earned an MFA in Writing for Children from Simmons College. Life and learning go hand in hand.