News & Events

Story Explorers Helping Pediatric Cancer Warriors

I always love the enthusiasm and passion of my Story Explorers (Grades 1 -2), and I was especially proud of their compassion in my recent class. We made some special book marks for Love Smiles, a wonderful non-profit organization that raises awareness of pediatric cancer and also gives support to those who have been diagnosed and their families. These book marks will be included in the warriors’ comfort packs. The Story Explorers jumped at the opportunity, creating messages of hope, encouragement, even designing their own mini-wordsearch and including jokes to entertain and raise the spirits of the warriors. Check out my Program Options for further details about my classes.

Commonplace Books

In the SCBWI-Illinois Oak Park Network January meeting, my co-rep, Sallie Wolf, and I will be discussing the value of commonplace books. Throughout history, many authors and thinkers have used these books as a way of cataloguing information and inspirational nuggets for future use. We would like to revive this tradition as a way of thinking about the writing process, inspiring ourselves, and keeping motivated in a way that could be helpful in the year ahead. Join us as we share inspirational quotes, write them down and create a ‘communal’ commonplace book for 2022. The event takes place on Zoom at 7PM, January 13th, 2022. Click here for details.

Celebrating Creativity

The Celebrating Creativity exhibition for my local school district was a hum of activity last week. The winners of my Summer Creative Writing Competition and the students of my new Storytelling in Word & Image class with Janet McDonnell were rightly proud of their projects. And I was proud of them. Other students showcased their projects as well, including a photography exhibit and a selection of bookmarks. It was wonderful to see the excitement of both the artists and their admiring audience. As the event organizer, Dr. Randy Lange, reminded us: “Creativity is contagious. Pass it on.” (Albert Einstein).

Storytelling in Word and Image, Fall 2021

I am thrilled to have launched a brand new program this semester with professional illustrator, Janet McDonnell. Writers often create visual art as part of their creative process, a way of ‘seeing’ their story more clearly. In our class, we immersed ourselves in mixed media storytelling, too. If you would like to learn more about this program, click here. I’m delighted to share and celebrate the work of some of the talented youngsters who took part in the class (click on the illustrations below to see their stories in word and image):

Young Writers’ Conference 2022

I’m thrilled to be taking part in the Write On, Door County Young Writers’ Conference next year. I will be running workshops on “How To Find A Story Anywhere” and “Faces: An Exercise in Character Development.” If you would like to learn more about this exciting conference for budding young storytellers, click here. Early bird rates currently apply.

Recording Available For Limited Time

Wow! Had a wonderful time last night, hosting the SCBWI Magical Middle Grade event with Lorelei Savaryn, learning all about her writing process, building magic systems, tying magic into plot, plus tips for creating engaging, heartfelt stories. The audience was so engaged that we ran overtime! If you’d like to join in the middle grade fun, a recording of event is available for a limited time .

SCBWI: “Finding Buried Treasure” presentation

If you’re interested in writing or illustrating kidlit, you can access a wealth of professional information, support, and networking opportunities at the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). Join our SCBWI Oak Park network online tomorrow, Sept. 9, at 7pm CST for a free presentation by SCBWI Illinois‘s Regional Adviser, Deborah Topolski, to learn about the treasures on offer.

Summer Creative Writing Competition, 2021

As we head toward Labor Day and the end of summer, the results of my creative writing competition are in! It was wonderful to connect with so many lovely young storytellers over the last few months. Thanks to all who submitted their stories. Co-judge Shawn Shiflett and I loved reading them. Click here to find out the winning entries, together with our comments about the things we loved most about each one.

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