Writing for Children
I taught elementary school for many years of my career. I've loved teaching first, second, third, fourth, and fifth graders math, reading, writing, science, social studies, and even handwriting.
Just about every year my students hatched chicks or ducks, studied the incubation process, and followed the bird's progress until we had to send the animals to the farm.
I've used my M.Ed in Reading & Language from Boston University continuously. It has given me great pleasure to watch children learn to read and write and appreciate books.
I was always too busy teaching to think about publishing my writing. After I retired I saw a course offered on picture books led by the amazing author Amalia Hoffman and studied them with her. I joined SCBWI, Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators.
Just this past year I took out a particular manuscript and revised it again from a different point of view, a more focused character arc, added lyrical language, an unexpected twist, and added a satisfying ending. I worked on it with several critique groups and have started to submit it. Now I'm playing the waiting game until it finds a home along with many other picture books that I have written.
Revising my picture books into STEM chapter books is another new challenge for me.
I love to garden. Every year my garden looks a little different. Last year my large tomatoes stayed green and needed to be brought into the house to ripen if I didn't want the huge numbers of squirrels to get them first. This year I planted squash, cucumbers, wax beans, swiss chard, kale, peas, and different varieties of tomatoes. The plants need to be watered twice a day, and I enjoy harvesting the fruits and vegetables. After bringing a basket or colander out to the garden to hold the harvest, the vegetables seem to move around by themselves. Such fun to nudge them here and there, and would you believe a face was formed out of the harvested fruits and veggies? Naturally a story was written, one out of joy. Three of the faces that the main character made are shown here.
Now that I'm planning this next summer's garden I'm thinking about what I want to plant with a different mindset. Can you imagine what crops I'll want to plant?
I never know when I'm going to find a topic that catches my interest. This dough machine whir-whir-whirred and made bread baking much easier than when people did all their kneading by hand. The noises scared one of the grandsons in the Reher family so much that he didn't want to enter the baking room when he visited and worked in their grandfather's kosher Reher Bakery in Kingston, NY each summer. I became fascinated with the family who baked bread and wrote a narrative nonfiction picture book biography about the bakery, the family, and the community that intersected with it. I am very grateful to my agent Karen Grencik of Red Fox Literary who represented my picture book. My husband helped with the contract and other legal matters on the project.
Have you ever wanted to try something new? After I visited the historic Reher Bakery in Kingston, New York I started baking rolls. Without a recipe to follow, I researched and read lots of information about rolls. Soon I was whipping up crusty rolls at home and eating them plain or with a schmeer of part-skim ricotta cheese or almond butter. I bought all different types of seeds to sprinkle on top: sunflower, flax, chia, poppy, sesame. I even added cranberries and walnuts before the batter went into the fridge overnight.
Not long after I started baking, I sat down at the computer and began writing a middle grade novel about a 12-year old girl who works in her parents' bakery. Any idea where the idea came from?
I've also written many other picture books. After I received Honorable Mention in Susannah Hill's Winter Holiday Contest 2021, I brought the "The Winning Latke Recipe" manuscript to several of my critique groups for their comments and suggestions. I love to see how sharing my stories with other authors and getting their input helps a piece be even stronger.