Thanks so much for considering inviting me to your school or library! As you may know, I’ve been a writer-in-residence in New England schools for more than 30 years. My school visits involve four sessions in one day, comprised of similar grade groupings for hands-on writing experiences. I have created dozens of writing exercises to intrigue and involve even the most reluctant writer.
G is for GRANITE: A New Hampshire Alphabet Book and PRIMARY NUMBERS: A New Hampshire Number Book can be used to introduce children at all grade levels to all things New Hampshire. Also, they can serve as models for students to create alphabet books and number about their own school or town. Go to the Teachers’ Page for a sample lesson plan.
As a Visiting Author, my 50 minute presentation combines a short “lecture” in which I introduce myself and talk a bit about my life as a writer. Then I read from my books, with formats ranging from a kind of story time presentation/conversation for the younger children, to a selective reading and discussions of the writing process for the older students. The sessions are very interactive and there’s plenty of time for questions and discussion. Read some teacher and kid reviews here!
My new picture book about a little girl with synesthesia, THE GIRL WHO HEARD COLORS, is a great way to talk about differences.
A little girl with synesthesia engages the world with all five senses, plus.
Little Jillian is thoroughly in touch with her senses, relishing the taste of maple syrup on waffles and the smell of wet grass. But what she loves most are the colors that all the sounds she hears make. The bark of a dog is red, and the tinkle of her bicycle bell is silver. She loves school as wholeheartedly as everything else—her teacher’s voice is green—but when a lunchbox crashes to the floor and Jillian calls it yellow, all the children begin to laugh at her—a sad, black sound. When Music Day rolls around and all the children play, Jillian is overwhelmed by all the colors she hears. Fortunately the visiting musician is also a synesthete, so he understands exactly what she means and explains it to everybody. While the tidiness of Jillian’s resolution strains credulity, the exploration of her unusual perception charms. Brantley-Newton’s digitally composed illustrations present a ponytailed, freckle-faced little girl who greets the world with verve. Her teacher has a particularly groovy hairstyle (though it’s a little odd to see it repeated on both the musician and one of the little boys in Jillian’s class). A brief author’s note gives a little bit more information about synesthesia, grounding it in the experiences of children Harris has encountered on school visits.
An engaging look at a fascinating difference in perception, for younger readers. (Picture book. 4-7)
(Kirkus Reviews, September 2013)
Please contact me for details on my programs for elementary and middle school groups.
I have shared classrooms with many artists in many disciplines to create collaborative projects. For example, for several seasons, I worked with students at Nashua North High School, in collaboration with contemporary composers, to craft poems on specific themes which were then set to music and performed by the New Hampshire Symphony Orchestra. Called “The Ripple Effect, this project, the brainchild of NHSO’s Eric Valliere, has resulted in stunning intersections of poetry, music and art (by Nashua HS students in response to the works).
Using my memoir, YOUR SUN, MANNY as the “text,” we explore issues of identity, belonging, alienation, and coming of age. And we examine, discuss and experiment with a variety of forms and techniques found in the book. This program is particularly suited to classes dealing with social issues, social work, and related fields.
YOUR SUN, MANNY has received favorable critical attention in the literary world. Now it is finding new readers among undergraduate and graduate students in university Social Work departments. YOUR SUN, MANNY is the story of a 14 year old, mentally challenged Puerto Rican boy who found a home and, ultimately, a productive life in the woods of New Hampshire.
Alison Climo, CMSW, Ph.D, Director, Social Work Program at Warren Wilson College, notes: “Undergraduate social work students in my HBSE course love Your Sun, Manny, a quick and easy read that resonates long and deep with core content across the foundation social work curriculum. We mine it all semester long!”
Susan Lord, PhD, LICSW, Assistant Professor at the University of New Hampshire, writes: “I have used Your Sun, Manny in my MSW Family Therapy classes for the past 11 years, and have discovered new wisdom and a depth of material to teach from with each reading. This eloquent narrative offers a way for students to enter in and viscerally experience easily accessible lessons about the strength and flexibility of children and the families and communities that hold them. Your Sun, Manny addresses issues of diversity, poverty, racism, the foster care system, adoption, and the development of empathy and compassion to name but a few.”
A student at UNH commented: “In a MSW curriculum full of text books and scholarly articles, it is nice to have a break, take a breath, and read about a family’s true story.” And many students echoed the words of this reader: “I wish that future publications of the book have an update about Manny.” First published in 1999, YOUR SUN, MANNY has recently been re-issued with a new Epilogue.
White Pine Press is pleased to introduce this book to new audiences, ones that may well consider it a captivating story as well as a useful tool in their professions.
If you are considering YOUR SUN, MANNY for possible course use and would like to receive an examination/review copy, please submit your order on your letterhead along with $5.00 per book for shipping and handling. Please include all relevant course information including course(s) for which you are considering adopting the book and expected enrollment. You can mail your exam copy request along with prepayment to:
Dennis Maloney; White Pine Press; PO Box 236; Buffalo, NY 14201 firstname.lastname@example.org www.whitepine.org
Contact me for information on story hours, youth writing workshops, and adult presentations, including book clubs.
And, make sure to read some reviews from kids, teachers and librarians!