Cindy Savage’s entrée to children’s publishing came when she realized she could write a better story than the one she was reading. So she “called the editor of a local magazine, introduced myself, and asked if there was any work I could do for them. At first they said no, but I kept after them, and eventually, I submitted an article entitled ‘Dress for Success.’ That got my foot in the door and gave me some leverage.”
Since then, “Dress for Success” has been joined by more than 300 stories and articles and over 40 books. Willowisp Press has published 24 of her books, including her Forever Friends Club series and numerous boys’ and girls’ adventures for middle-grade and high school readers.
Among her publishers are HarperCollins, Scholastic, Bantam, and Berkeley, and some of her credits include The Journey to Mount Eternity (One World, 1994), Ghosts at Four O’Clock (Athena, 1994), and Kick Back (Athena, 1998).
For the last three years, she has concentrated on the online textbook market, publishing curriculum for ESL programs. She’s currently writing Business English textbooks for schools in Chile, and Spanish curriculum for schools in the United States.
Mary Hertz Scarbrough
Mary Hertz Scarbrough is a master in the art of writing nonfiction. She has written more than 100 encyclopedia articles, several magazine articles, and two books; she has also contributed to several adult reference titles.
Ms. Scarbrough’s entry into the children’s market came after selling articles to Highlights for Children and Muse. Since then, she has published two nonfiction children’s books, Long Distance Communication (Blackbirch, 2003) and The Battle of Harlem Heights (Blackbirch, 2004), the last of which is part of Blackbirch’s Triangle Histories of the Revolutionary War series, called a “young historian’s delight” by School Library Journal.
She has also contributed to the classroom reference book Constitutional Amendments: 1789 to the Present (Gale, 2000), called “an authoritative but highly readable work” by Booklist.
A former lawyer, Ms. Scarbrough practiced law for ten years before launching a freelance writing career. She now enjoys mixing writing with teaching. In 2005 she designed and taught a class for Buena Vista University on writing for magazines.
Award-winning author Jan Schultz’s stories are filled with adventure, tragedy, triumph—and a good dose of reality. A fifth-generation Minnesotan, Ms. Schultz has a lively interest in Minnesota history, an avocation that has become the mother lode from which she mines her stories.
Her first novel, Horse Sense (Carolrhoda, 2001), was based on the author’s own family history and was described by Publishers Weekly as a “fast-paced novel [that] offers crackling adventure in a colorful period setting . . . a satisfying read.” Horse Sense was a finalist for the Benjamin Franklin Award and one of Bank Street College of New York’s Best Children’s Books of 2002.
Her second book, Firestorm (Carolrhoda, 2002), won the Minnesota Book Award in 2003. Battle Cry (Lerner, 2006), her most recent title, was also named a Best Children’s Book of the Year by Bank Street College.
Ms. Schultz has been awarded two McKnight Foundation Individual Artist Grants and the Writer’s Mentorship Award from the Minnesota chapter of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. She is also the founder and facilitator of a critique group, Night Writers.
“My instructor’s great! She’s a sensitive person, a really caring teacher who knows just how to point out the flaws in my writing without being offensive. I recommend her to anyone who wants to be a writer.”
—Joan Ackley, Shingletown, CA
Pegi Deitz Shea
“A moving representation of the dreams of refugees everywhere” is how Booklist described The Whispering Cloth (Boyds Mills Press, 1995), Pegi Deitz Shea’s picture book about a Hmong girl confined to a refugee camp. The book was selected as a Notable by the International Reading Association, the National Council of Teachers of English, and the National Council for the Social Studies.
Ms. Shea has published more than 200 stories, books, articles, and poems for children and adults. Her first book was Bungalow Fungalow (Clarion, 1991), followed by Whispering Cloth and New Moon (Boyds Mills Press, 1996). Tangled Threads (Clarion, 2003) won the Connecticut Book Award for children’s literature and received a starred review from Publishers Weekly.
Her other publications include a middle-grade biography, Ekaterina Gordeeva (Chelsea House); I See Me, a board book for HarperCollins; and fiction that will appear in Highlights for Children and Ladybug.
Her picture books include Patience Wright: American Sculptor and Revolutionary Spy (Henry Holt, 2007); Liberty Rising (Henry Holt, 2005); Ten Mice for Tet (Chronicle Books, 2003); and Carpet Boy (Tilbury House, 2002) .
Since 1985, Victoria Sherrow has published more than 80 books, including 10 picture books and various nonfiction titles in the areas of science, social studies, sports, current events, biographies, and how-to.
Many of her titles have earned honors, including Mohandas K. Ghandhi (Millbrook Press, 1994), a New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age; The Nez Perces (Millbrook Press, 1994), an American Association for the Advancement of Science Best Science Book for Children; Bioethics and High-Tech Medicine (Twenty-First Century Books, 1996), a Voice of Youth Advocates Nonfiction Honor Book; Hardship and Hope (Twenty-First Century Books, 1996), a New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age; and Women and the Military (ABC-CLIO, 1996), an American Library Association Outstanding Reference Source.
More recent credits include Tennis (Lucent, 2002); The Stubborn Pig (Seedling Publications, 2003); and Guglielmo Marconi (Enslow, 2004).
Ms. Sherrow’s stories and articles have appeared in publications such as Highlights, Humpty Dumpty, Children’s Playmate, Children’s Digest, and Pennywhistle Press.
“I appreciate all of my instructor’s corrective help and suggestions. Her comments are lengthy and all-inclusive. She is frank, encouraging, and eager to help. In short, I am pleased she is my instructor and, if successful, I will owe much to her.”
—Paul R. Doyle, Escondido, CA
“‘Punky’ stood out like a shining star” is what Janet Hoover, then editor of Turtle, said about a story by Carolyn Short. It appeared in the October-November ’93 issue of Turtle, and it later was published by the Institute of Children’s Literature in an anthology.
Ms. Short has published nearly 200 articles and stories in such magazines as Highlights for Children, Pockets, Junior Trails, Turtle, Parish Teacher, The Home Altar, Children’s Playmate, Once Upon A Time, Ranger Rick, Holidays & Seasonal Celebrations, Touch, On the Line, and Focus on the Family Clubhouse Jr. She has also written Sunday School materials for Augsburg Fortress Publishers.
After earning her master’s degree at Cornell University, Ms. Short taught fourth and fifth grades. She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, and she has attended the annual Highlights Foundation Writers’ Workshop at Chautauqua, New York.
Buffy Silverman’s love of the natural world inspires much of her writing.
Her nonfiction activity book, Birds, is part of School Zone’s I Know It! science series. She is also the author of Bat’s Night Out, an early reader, published by Richard C. Owen in 2000. Her recent books include Genetics (2003) and Molds and Fungi (2004), both part of KidHaven Press’s Science Library series.
In addition to her nonfiction work, Ms. Silverman enjoys writing fiction. Her first mystery story, “Bubbe’s Potatoes,” won second prize in the Children’s Writer middle-grade mystery contest in 2000 and was published by Highlights in 2002.
More than 30 of her articles, stories, and poems have been accepted by Ladybug, Spider, Cricket, Highlights for Children, Odyssey, and other magazines. “Turtle Time,” a story that first appeared in Ladybug, was reprinted in a children’s textbook in English and Spanish. Ms. Silverman has been selected as a featured author on the Ladybug Parent’s Companion (April 2003) website.
When Linda Skeers decided to study the craft of writing, she enrolled in the Institute of Children’s Literature writing course. It wasn’t long after completing the course that her humorous stories began appearing in magazines such as Turtle and Humpty Dumpty’s Magazine. Her picture book, The Impossible Patriotism Project was published by Dial in 2007.
Her helpful and informative articles have appeared on the Institute’s website: “Beyond Once Upon a Time!” (June 2001), “Bumper Crop” (March 2002), “Nifty Niches for Nonfiction” (May 2002), “Slice of Life” (December 2002), and “Presto-Chango! Turn Your Favorite Fiction into Nonfiction!” She has also done two online discussion groups: “Children’s Books from a Librarian’s Perspective” (May 10, 2001) and “Finding the Story in Nonfiction” (July 10, 2003).
Ms. Skeers received the Award of Outstanding Merit from the Mississippi Valley Writer’s Conference for her historical fiction manuscript. For several years, Ms. Skeers was on the reading committee of the Iowa Children’s Choice Award and Iowa Teen Award.
“My instructor has been inspirational! Her positive feedback and guidance in writing is definitely contagious…I would recommend her and this course to anyone serious about writing!”
—Karen Dorman, Grand Prairie, TX
Annie Laura Smith
“Writing for children is a challenging opportunity to weave facts and imagination into exciting prose and poetry that children will enjoy reading,” says Annie Laura Smith. She has accepted this challenge and has over 140 stories, articles, test materials, and poems published to date, 66 of which are for children and parents. These pieces have appeared in Living with Preschoolers, Living with Children, Winner, Living with Teenagers, Junior Trails, Look and Listen, Nature Friend Magazine, Teen Power, Story Mates, Kids Copy, Joyful Child Journal, Above and Beyond, and Learning Though History.
Ms. Smith’s middle-grade historical trilogy, set during World War II, was published by OnStage Publishing. It includes the titles The Legacy of Bletchley Park, Will Paris Burn?, and Saving da Vinci. She continues to write articles and short stories for publication and develop educational materials for textbook publishers.
With more than 25 years of publishing experience, Suzanne Sorice offers top editorial expertise to her students.
She was an editorial assistant at CBS’s Popular Library Books, where she evaluated unsolicited manuscripts. Later, as assistant editor, she worked with her own group of authors while searching out new talent. She became adept at sparking and maintaining supportive, productive relationships with writers.
One of Ms. Sorice’s acquisitions in the young adult field was The Day the Loving Stopped by Julie Autumn List. The book was made into a television movie after publication by Fawcett Juniper.
After moving up the ladder at CBS Publications, Ms. Sorice left New York City but continued to work as a freelance editor for Pocket/Silhouette Books, Dell, and Woman’s Day magazine.
Her most recent articles for children have been published in Hopscotch magazine, and online educational reference databases.
Some books edited by Suzanne Sorice:
Acclaimed science writer Melissa Stewart has written more than 80 books for children. Her books have garnered such awards as the Green Earth Book Award, Izaak Walton League of America Conservation Book of the Year, National Council for the Social Studies/Children’s Book Council Notable Trade Book for Young People, National Science Teachers Association Recommended Title, New York Public Library Books for the Teen Age, Science Books & Films Best Books for Children, and Society of School Librarians International Best Book, Science.
Ms. Stewart has also written numerous magazine articles for children’s publications such as Ask, Click, Highlights for Children, National Geographic’s World, Scholastic’s Science World and Math, ChemMatters, Ranger Rick, and Odyssey. She has published articles for adults in Book Links, American Forests, Wildlife Conservation, The Writer, and more.
Ms. Stewart worked as a science editor for nine years before becoming a full time writer. During her years as an editor, she oversaw the publication of more than 200 titles for children.
She is on the Board of Advisors of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and serves as a judge for the American Institute of Physics Children’s Science Writing Award.
“Other schools pointed out my shortcomings, but they did it in a way that made me feel so inadequate. You need support from nurturing sources. My instructor gave me that power by caring and believing I would grow.”
—Andrea Ross, New York, NY
Sandy Stiefer’s first love is writing for children. Her stories and nonfiction have been accepted by Ranger Rick, Cricket, Current Health 1, Highlights for Children, and Guideposts for Kids. She has written three juvenile books: A Risky Prescription: Sports and Health (1997) and The History of Boxing, both published by Lerner Publications; and Marathon Skiing (Rosen Publishing, 2002).
Ms. Stiefer writes for the Gale Group reference book publishers, and has contributed biographies for Notable Native Americans and Dictionary of Hispanic Biography; she is also a contributing editor for Contemporary Black Biography. She has served as an editor for Harris Publications’ Gardens, Decks & Patios, and her garden writing and photography have appeared in several magazines. She has also written for Better Homes & Gardens special interest publications, including Simply Perfect Perennials (1998), Outdoor Casual (1999), and Garden, Deck & Landscape (2000). She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and the Missouri Writers’ Guild.
Barbara Stretton’s earlier works reflect her interest in the struggling world of teenagers.
A Deeper Season (Fawcett, 1980) is about teenage sexuality; and You Never Lose (Alfred A. Knopf, 1982) is the story of a boy’s troubled relationship with his father, a high school football coach who has been diagnosed with cancer. The Truth of the Matter (Knopf, 1983) examines the question: What is truth?
In addition to teaching ICL students, Ms. Stretton writes study guides for Listening Library (now a subsidiary of Random House), an audiobook company specializing in children’s literature.
She has also written filmstrip scripts on “Getting in Touch with Your Feelings,” “Cocaine,” and “Say No to Drugs” for such companies as Educational Dimensions and Sunburst Communications.
Ms. Stretton is currently working on a mystery series for young readers featuring a cat detective. The first book in the Tori Trotter Investigates series is titled The Case of the Tiberian Tiger.
Marilyn K. Strube
Marilyn K. Strube has written more than 50 stories for inspirational publications. Her work has appeared in collections including Chicken Soup for the Christian Family Soul, The Hidden Hand of God: All God’s Children, and Guideposts’ Best-Loved Stories, as well as magazines such as Guideposts for Teens, Catholic Digest, Angels on Earth, Positive Thinking, and Guideposts.
In addition to the nostalgic and light-hearted fare Ms. Strube has sold to the inspirational market, she has also frequently contributed articles with a local interest slant to newspapers such as the News Herald and the Detroit Free Press.
Ms. Strube has earned numerous awards including the Guideposts Writers’ Workshop Contest (1994), Madonna University’s Earnest I. Nolan Award for outstanding achievement in English/Journalism (2002), and Eastern Michigan University’s Meritorious Award in Graduate Studies & Research (2003).
Ms. Strube teaches Advanced Composition and Oral Communication at the university level.
“Sense of humor, pleasant, professional, caring, helpful, knowledgeable…all describe my instructor. Although I’ve always wanted to write, I was apprehensive about starting at age 48. However, with her excellent guidance…and support, the course has been the most pleasant learning experience of my life.”
—Lenora Chamaillard, Wakefield, QC, Canada
“You just don’t quit” is Nancy Sweetland’s motto for her writing career. That philosophy has paid off with six picture books and over 350 published stories, articles, and essays for children and adults.
Ms. Sweetland’s short fiction has appeared in children’s magazines such as Highlights for Children, Cricket, Wee Wisdom, Jack And Jill, Children’s Friend, News Ranger, The Encyclopedia Britannica Reading Program, U*S* Kids, and Ranger Rick. Over 50 of Ms. Sweetland’s poems have been published in children’s magazines, including Story Friends, On the Line, Weekly Bible Reader, Discovery, Radar, and others.
God’s Quiet Things (Eerdman’s Books for Young Readers, 1994) was described in Booklist as a book that “raises children’s consciousness to the quiet marvels found in nature.”
If I Could (Raven Tree Press, 2002), published in English and Spanish, is one of Ms. Sweetland’s most recent picture books, along with Yelly Kelly (Raven Tree, 2003).
Ms. Sweetland has received more than 60 awards including six first places in juvenile and adult fiction and poetry from the Wisconsin Regional Writers Association, and sixth place in the annual Writer’s Digest competition for short stories.
An acclaimed author of children’s literature, Eleanora E. Tate has received numerous awards and honors for her work, and Ms. Tate herself is a Zora Neale Hurston Award winner, the highest award given by the National Association of Black Storytellers, Inc.
Her writing credits include award-winning titles such as Celeste’s Harlem Renaissance (Little, Brown, 2007); The Minstrel’s Melody (Pleasant Company, 2001), named a Notable Children’s Trade Book in the Field of Social Studies; and A Blessing in Disguise (Delacorte, 1995), an American Booksellers Association Pick of the Lists.
Thank You, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.! (Franklin Watts, 1990) was a Notable Children’s Trade Book and the Child Study Book Committee’s Children’s Book of the Year. The Secret of Gumbo Grove (Franklin Watts, 1987) won the Parents Choice Gold Seal Award and was a finalist for the California Young Reader Medal.
In addition to books, Ms. Tate has hundreds of essays, articles, and short stories to her credit. Her stories have appeared in Scholastic Storyworks, American Girl, and Goldfinch magazines, among others, and in book anthologies such as Big City Cool: Short Stories about Urban Youth (Persea Books, 2002).
Zany stories, silly titles, and lively, unconventional rhyme are Ms. Thomas’s hallmarks as a children’s writer.
More than 30 years after its first printing, Patricia Thomas’s hilarious tale, “Stand Back,” Said the Elephant, “I’m Going to Sneeze!” (Lothrop, Lee & Shepard and HarperCollins, 1971 & 1990), still surprises and delights . . . still sends readers into gales of laughter . . . still garners rave reviews from parents, teachers, librarians, and, most importantly, from children who continue to giggle over it into adulthood.
Bouncing merrily along in nonsense verse, the book has been featured on the PBS Storytime series, chosen as a Weekly Reader Book Club selection, reprinted in educational texts and international editions, and listed in major library journals.
“There Are Rocks in My Socks,” Said the Ox to the Fox (Lothrop, Lee and Shepard, 1979) was also a Weekly Reader Book Club selection and was printed in a United Kingdom edition. It was also adapted for choral reading and was listed in Best Books for Children.
The One-and-Only, Super-Duper, Golly-Whopper, Jim Dandy, Really Handy Clock Tock Stopper (Lothrop, Lee and Shepard, 1991) was also listed in Best Books for Children.
Hundreds of her articles and stories have appeared in a variety of periodicals, including Cobblestone Publishing’s Faces.
Ms. Thomas attends and presents workshops on writing for children, and she is an active member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.
“My instructor gave me excellent critiques on everything I sent in. She was firm but very nice. She gave me reasons for each of her suggestions. Knowing what I do now, I would gladly sign up for the course again if I had not already finished it. On a scale of 1 to 10, I give her an 11.”
—James Herrin, Crestwood, MO
Medicines From Nature is a “. . . fascinating journey through the endless search for new and effective medications,” says School Library Journal.
Booklist gave Medicines From Nature a starred review and added that the book “. . . should be read from cover to cover by teens—and adults as well.” It was chosen by the New York Public Library as a 1997 Best Book For the Teen Age.
Studying ancient human remains led to her third book, Talking Bones: The Science of Forensic Anthropology (Facts On File, 1995), which was selected by Bacon’s Science Books and Films as one of the Best Books for Junior High and High School Students, 1995.
With the public’s renewed interest in forensic investigation, Ms. Thomas wrote an updated and expanded edition titled Forensic Anthropology: The Growing Science of Talking Bones (Facts on File, 2003).
Ms. Thomas broadened her scope when she created a new series, The Science of Saving Animals (21st Century Books, 2000–2001), that included Reptile Rescue, Bird Alert, and Big Cat Conservation. The fourth title in the series, Marine Mammal Preservation, was chosen by the National Science Teachers Association and the Children’s Book Council as an Outstanding Science Trade book for 2001.
Volcano! (Crestwood House, 1991) was an ALA Recommended Book for Reluctant Young Adult Readers, and The Kids’ World Almanac about Amazing Facts About Numbers, Math and Money (World Almanac, 1992), co-authored with Margery Facklam, was selected by the New York Public Library as a 1993 Best Book for the Teen Age.
Ms. Thomas has been a feature writer for the Buffalo News, and her children’s stories and articles have appeared in Cricket and Hopscotch magazines.
Kristi Collier Thompson
Called “an involving novel with a full, varied cast of convincing characters” by Booklist and “a gentle, lyrical book . . . perfect for male reluctant readers” by VOYA, Ms. Collier’s middle-grade novel, Throwing Stones (Henry Holt, 2006), is historical fiction at its best. Its intriguing story line and memorable characters made Throwing Stones a Junior Library Guild Selection in 2006.
Ms. Collier’s first novel, Jericho Walls (Henry Holt, 2002), was called “a promising debut” by Kirkus Reviews. Set in South Carolina in 1957, Jericho Walls highlights the personal struggles faced at the onset of the civil rights movement. “This is an involving portrait of a complicated family,” said the Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books. Ms. Collier did intensive on-site research for the book, which ultimately paid off: It was chosen as a Junior Library Guild Selection and voted one of Smithsonian Magazine’s Best Books of 2002. It was also a winner of the 2002 Josette Frank Award for Children’s Fiction.
Among Ms. Collier’s other writing credits are a nonfiction book, The Girls’ Guide to Dreams (Sterling Publishing, 2003), as well as numerous stories and articles published in a variety of children’s magazines, including Girls’ Life, Pockets, Brio, Calliope, and more.
Cindy Kane Trumbore
A master editor and an accomplished author, Cindy Kane Trumbore has made her mark in the world of children’s publishing.
Having worked for five major publishing houses and amassing more than twenty years of experience as a children’s book editor, Trumbore has worked with some of the most acclaimed children’s authors in America.
While serving as Editorial Director of Dial Books for Young Readers, Trumbore edited the 1999 Newbery Honor Book, A Long Way From Chicago, and the 2001 Newbery Medal winner, A Year Down Yonder, both by Richard Peck.
Honors for nonfiction books she edited at Dial include the 1994 International Reading Association Children’s Book Award and the 1999 Mildred L. Batchelder Award for best translated work.
Before arriving at Dial, Trumbore served as senior editor at Bantam Books for Young Readers, and as Editor-in-Chief of Four Winds Press/Macmillan.
An author herself, Ms. Trumbore has five books to her credit, including The Genie in the Book (Handprint Books, 2004), At the Top of the World (Modern Curriculum Press, 2000), and Discovering the Titanic (Modern Curriculum Press, 1999).
“My instructor is a born teacher! She corrects my errors with gentleness and tact, and encourages me in my strong areas. She has shown me where I can excel and how to achieve my goals. This is the best way to learn to write and I would encourage anyone who wants to write to enroll.”
—Kate Mourner, Denton, TX
A respected children’s book and magazine editor, Deborah Vetter has worked one-on-one with literally hundreds of authors and edited thousands of manuscripts, both fiction and nonfiction, for children of all ages.
During her twenty years as an editor for Cricket magazine, Ms. Vetter worked with such distinguished writers as Eric A. Kimmel, Nancy Springer, Aaron Shepard, Teresa Bateman, and Eugie Foster. In addition to her responsibilities for Cricket, she served as Executive Editor for Cicada, a bimonthly literary journal launched in 1998 to provide quality fiction for teens.
When Cricket Books was established in 1998, she became an editor for the books division as well. Among the titles she acquired and edited are Highland Fling by Kathleen Ernst; Chief Sunrise, John McGraw, and Me by Timothy Tocher; Casebook of a Private (Cat’s) Eye by Mary Stolz; and several chapter books in Barbara Seuling’s popular Robert series.
She has spoken at numerous writers’ conferences around the country and written editorials, book reviews, and other pieces for magazines. She is currently a Contributing Editor for the Cricket Magazine Group and Cricket Books.
Some books edited by Deborah Vetter:
Noreen Kruzich Violetta
“The author’s descriptions make it easy for the reader to visualize the moment. You feel like you’re a young boy present with his grandfather,” says Boys’ Quest Editor Marilyn Edwards about Noreen Violetta’s “In Wolf Howl Hollow.” The story went on to be featured in the Institute of Children’s Literature’s First-Time Authors anthology and now is debuting in schools across the United States through reader comprehension assessments for CTB McGraw-Hill, Harcourt, and Houghton Mifflin.
Ms. Violetta has written well over 200 articles, stories, and features for print and broadcast. Her work can be found in children’s and adult magazines including Boys’ Quest, Dolphin Log, The Country Connection, Cottage Life, Seasons Magazine, and the Madawaska Highlander.
Noreen Violetta’s career has taken her from copywriting for television and radio to news reporting and serving as an anchor for several Michigan and Ohio stations, including National Public Radio, CBS, and ABC affiliates. She has also done freelance writing for newspapers.
Ms. Violetta is a former regional advisor of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) in Canada, where she established the chapter in 1998. She has taught nonfiction magazine article writing through SCBWI programs and is a professional member of the Canadian Authors Association.
Called “a very special and highly recommended addition to a child’s Christmas reading list” by the Midwest Book Review, Andrea Vlahakis’ picture book, Christmas Eve Blizzard (Sylvan Dell Publishing, 2005), is a success by any measure. In addition to being a 2005 ASPCA Henry Bergh Book Award Finalist, it was also a New York Library Association Book of the Season, a Book Sense Picks nominee, and a 2006 North Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association Picture Book of the Year Award nominee.
A graduate of the Institute, Ms. Vlahakis has published close to 100 stories, articles, and poems. Her knack for making science and nature appealing to kids makes her a favorite among editors—her work has appeared in Highlights for Children, Primary Treasure, Turtle, Kidspace in the Christian Science Monitor, Wondertime, Story Friends, Guide, My Friend, Ladybug, AppleSeeds, and other children’s magazines.
Her poems for adults have appeared in the Christian Science Monitor, frogpond, Modern Haiku, Connecticut River Review, Comstock Review, American Journal of Nursing, and other magazines, as well as an anthology called The Thin Curve (Red Moon Press, 2000). A registered nurse, Ms. Vlahakis is also a contributor to the award-winning Intensive Care: More Poetry and Prose by Nurses (University of Iowa Press, 2003), and the American Journal of Nursing.
“Working with my instructor has been great. She always tells me why and how to fix a mistake. She explains why her corrections would make a better story. She points me in the right direction of age groups, knowing for what level I can best ‘voice’ a piece. She always answers my questions with a working solution. She inspires me!”
—Stacie Burk, Duncan, AZ
Accomplished author and editor Rich Wallace has twenty years of experience in the children’s publishing field. He has nurtured hundreds of fledgling writers as an editor at Highlights for Children, and built a strong writing career of his own that spans sixteen books, including several that have received national recognition.
His highly acclaimed young adult novels include One Good Punch (Knopf, 2007); Restless: A Ghost’s Story (Viking, 2003); and Shots on Goal (Knopf, 1997). Wrestling Sturbridge (Knopf, 1996) was named one of the Top Ten Best Books for Young Adults by the American Library Association, and Playing Without the Ball (Knopf, 2000) was named an ALA Best Book for Young Adults and a Booklist Top Ten Youth Sports Book.
Mr. Wallace has also written for a wide variety of magazines, and has published many stories for children and young adults. Some of those stories were anthologized in his collection, Losing Is Not an Option (Knopf, 2003).
Mr. Wallace formerly served as Senior Editor at Highlights for Children. He also served on the faculty of several writer’s conferences, including the Highlights Foundation Writers Workshop at Chautauqua.
Catherine A. Welch
Catherine A. Welch’s first book, Danger at the Breaker (Carolrhoda, 1992), received praise from numerous reviewers, including Booklist, which said, “the author brings a new (and welcome) level of realism to the easy-reader format.”
Her next title, Clouds of Terror (Carolrhoda, 1994), was hailed by Instructor as “gripping and realistic.” It was chosen as a Notable Children’s Trade Book in the Field of Social Studies.
She now has more than ten books to her credit, including two biographies on Margaret Bourke-White: an easy reader, Margaret Bourke-White (Carolrhoda, 1997), and a middle-grade title, Racing with a Dream (Carolrhoda, 1998) named a Notable Children’s Trade Book in the Field of Social Studies.
Her other titles include Ida B. Wells-Barnett: Powerhouse with a Pen (Carolrhoda, 2000), named a Best Children’s Book of the Year by the Children’s Book Committee at Bank Street College; Children of the Relocation Camps (2000) and Children of the Civil Rights Era (2001), both chosen as NCSS Carter G. Woodson Honor books; Farmland Innovator: A Story about Cyrus McCormick (Millbrook, 2007); Polar Plants (Capstone, 2006); Desert Plants (Capstone, 2006); Forces and Motion (Capstone, 2006); and Patrick Henry (Lerner, 2006).
Author and educator Kim Williams-Justesen has been teaching creative writing for more than a decade. Her lively and imaginative writing style and keen sense of determination have inspired numerous students, and formed the foundation for her own writing success.
Ms. Williams-Justesen’s writing credits include three interactive nonfiction books with Globe Pequot/FalconGuides in the Hey Ranger series (2005); a middle-grade novel, My Brother the Dog (Tanglewood Press, 2006); and a young adult novel, The Deepest Blue (Tanglewood Press, publishing date to be announced). She has also written several articles for regional parenting magazines and the popular Internet lifestyle guide, Citysearch.
Ms. Williams-Justesen earned a bachelor’s degree from Westminster College of Salt Lake City, and a Master of Fine Arts degree in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College. She is a college English and literature instructor, and gives lectures to adults and children on writing.
“My instructor has been invaluable to me in so many ways. Her letters have always been friendly and encouraging, and her suggestions have always been helpful. Her constructive criticisms are right on target. My stories have come alive—become clearer, more concise and fun to read.”
—Judy Brown, Naples, FL
When Linda Wirkner sent Mystery of the Blue-Gowned Ghost, a colonial mystery, to her publisher, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, her careful research paid off. The book was chosen for the Children’s Book Council’s 1998 Summer Reading Showcase, and is now in its eighth printing.
Ms. Wirkner’s young adult novel, Summer Romance, was published by Berkley Publishing Group, and her nonfiction book, Destination Norfolk (Lerner, 1998), was part of the North American Port City series. Moby Dick, an adaptation on the fifth-grade reading level, was released by Edcon Publishing in 1998, followed by adaptations of As You Like It (2001), Hamlet (2002), and Julius Caesar (2003). Her six-book history series, Graphic Organizers in Social Studies, was released by Rosen Publishing in 2005.
More than 200 of Ms. Wirkner’s stories and articles have appeared in children’s magazines including Spider, Child Life, Children’s Digest, Dolphin Log, Guideposts for Kids, Junior Trails, and Hopscotch.
Susan Kimmel Wright
“Page-turning mystery, combined with some gentle spiritual guidance,” said School Library Journal about Susan Kimmel Wright’s first middle-grade mystery novel, The Secret of the Old Graveyard (Herald Press, 1993).
This goal of infusing fun reading with intellectual and emotional significance also animates her later novels, Death by Babysitting and Dead Letters (Herald Press, 1994, 1996).
Ms. Wright has also written many magazine and newspaper articles, and some of her work has appeared in Guideposts for Kids and Horse Illustrated. Her art-of-living essays have appeared in several books, including God’s Abundance, More God’s Abundance, God’s Abundance for Women, Why Fret that God Stuff? and God’s Unexpected Blessings (all Starburst Publishers).
Ms. Wright is a member of the Advisory Board for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, Western Pennsylvania Chapter, for whom she has presented several workshops. In 1998 she served on the Mystery Writers of America Edgars Committee to select the best children’s mystery book of 1998.