About Us

The TeachingAuthors are six children's book authors with a wide range (and many years) of experience teaching writing to children, teens, and adults. On this site, we share our unique perspective as writing teachers who are also working writers. Below you'll find individual bios for the six current TeachingAuthors, plus our two TeachingAuthors alums. If you'd like to read about how we each became TeachingAuthors, click on the following links:

 Individual TeachingAuthor Bios:
  
Photo credit: Webb Burns
April Halprin Wayland is the author of five picture books, a young adult novel, and an award-winning CD. Her picture book, New Year at the Pier—A Rosh Hashanah Story (Dial), won the Sydney Taylor Book Award Gold Medal for best Jewish picture book of the year. Her novel in poems, Girl Coming in for a Landing (Knopf) won Pennsylvania State University’s Lee Bennett Hopkins Honor Award for Poetry and the Myra Cohn Livingston Award for Poetry. Her CD (also available as an MP3 download), which includes five stories, 17 poems and a fiddle tune (which she plays), won NAPPA’s Gold Award; her poems appear frequently in Cricket Magazine on the US Children's Poet Laureate's website, and in numerous anthologies. She is co-founder of Authors and Illustrators for Children and also the Children’s Authors Network, has taught in over 400 schools in the U.S., France, Italy, England, Germany, and Poland, and has been an instructor for UCLA Extension’s Writers’ Program for over fifteen years. Penguin Random House will publish her next picture book, More Than Enough, in 2016. To contact April, visit her website, where you'll discover she's ½ author, ½ poet, ½ not good at fractions. You can find all April's blog posts here.

Bobbi Miller earned her MFA in Writing for Children from Vermont College, and was awarded honors with distinction for her Master of Arts in Children’s Literature degree from Simmons College in Boston. Her fifth book, a middle grade novel, Girls of Gettysburg (Holiday House) is recommended by Booklist as “a unique, exciting work.” School Library Journal calls the book a “riveting historical fiction.” The book is listed as a Hot Pick on Children’s Book Council for September 2014. Her first middle grade novel, Big River’s Daughter (Holiday House) comes recommended by the International Reading Association and was nominated for the Amelia Bloomer Project (American Library Association, 2013). The book is listed on A Mighty Girl’s Top 2013 Mighty Girl Books for Tweens and Teens. Bobbi has also written three picture books. Miss Sally Ann and the Panther (Holiday House) was selected to the Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People 2013 list, a cooperative project of the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) and the Children's Book Council. Her other two picture books, Davy Crockett Gets Hitched and One Fine Trade, also published by Holiday House, were listed on the Bank Street College of Education Best Books of 2010. When she isn't writing or researching, Bobbi teaches College Reading and Writing, Writing for Children, and Rhetoric and Professional Writing for local universities as well as online college courses. To contact Bobbi, visit her websiteYou can find all Bobbi's blog posts here.

Photo credit: JamieLynn Photography
Carmela Martino began writing her first children’s novel, Rosa, Sola (Candlewick Press), while working on her MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults. The novel was chosen a Booklist “Top Ten First Novel for Youth” and named to Bank Street College of Education's list of Best Books of the year. Her other credits include the humorous short story, “Big Z, Cammi, and Me,” in the middle-grade anthology, I Fooled You: Ten Stories of Tricks, Jokes, and Switcheroos (Candlewick Press), edited by Johanna Hurwitz, and poems in the anthologies Chicken Soup for the Soul: Teens Talk High School and And the Crowd Goes Wild! A Global Gathering of Sports Poems. In addition to writing stories and poems for children and teens, Carmela works as a freelance writer for adult publications. Her articles and essays have appeared in the Chicago Tribune, Writer’s Digest, and multiple editions of the Children’s Writer’s and Illustrator’s Market (Writer’s Digest Books), including the recently released 2015 edition. She has taught adult writing workshops at the College of DuPage since 1998. She also teaches writing classes for both children and adults at the Mayslake Peabody Estate in Oak Brook, IL. To contact Carmela, visit her website. You can find all Carmela's blog posts here.

Esther Hershenhorn’s newest title is the baby board book TXTNG MAMA TXTNG BABY (Sleeping Bear Press). Her other titles include S is for Story: A Writer's Alphabet and Little Illinois (Sleeping Bear Press); Chicken Soup by Heart (Simon & Schuster), a Sydney Taylor Book Award medalist; and the humorous middle-grade novel, The Confe$$Ion$ and $Ecret$ of Howard J. Fingerhut (Holiday House), a Crown Award nominee and Bank Street College Best Book of the Year. Her poetry has recently appeared in The Poetry Friday Collection and The Poetry Friday Anthology for Science (Pomelo Books). A former elementary teacher and Chicago Public School consultant, Esther teaches Writing for Children at the University of Chicago’s Writer’s Studio and Chicago’s Newberry Library and also coaches children’s book writers. She especially enjoys affirming and celebrating Young Authors at school, district, and community family festivals, and helping entire student bodies create their very own A to Z book about their school or town. Visit Esther's website to learn more about her writing, teaching, coaching, visits, and speaking, or to contact her. You can find all Esther's blog posts here.


JoAnn Early Macken is the author of Write a Poem Step by Step (Earlybird Press). Her newest picture books are Baby Says, “Moo!” (Disney-Hyperion), Waiting Out the Storm (Candlewick Press), and Flip, Float, Fly: Seeds on the Move (Holiday House). Her poems appear in a number of magazines and anthologies, and she has also written more than 125 nonfiction books for young readers. JoAnn earned her M.F.A. in Writing for Children and Young Adults at Vermont College of Fine Arts. She teaches writing at three Wisconsin colleges, and she speaks about poetry and writing to children and adults at schools, libraries, and conferences. To contact JoAnn, visit her website. You can find all JoAnn's blog posts here.


Mary Ann Rodman has published four picture books and two middle-grade novels. Her first picture book, My Best Friend (Viking), won the Ezra Jack Keats and Charlotte Zolotow Awards. Her middle-grade historical novel, Yankee Girl (Farrar Straus Giroux) has been nominated for nine state book awards, and was named a VOYA Top Shelf Fiction as well as an NCSS Best Trade Book. Her most recent title, Surprise Soup (Viking), received a starred review from Booklist. For several years, she has conducted Young Writers' Workshops and camps at the Margaret Mitchell House Literary Center in Atlanta. To connect with Mary Ann, visit her on Facebook. You can find all Mary Ann's blog posts here

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You will also see posts on our blog from three TeachingAuthor alums who are not currently blogging with us: 

Jeanne Marie Grunwell Ford holds an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College and is the author of five novels, including Mind Games (Houghton Mifflin). She writes for a soap opera by day when she is not busy teaching, freelancing, or driving the carpool. She is married to an amazing seventh-grade teacher and is the mother of two avid young readers and one ornery puppy. To contact Jeanne Marie, visit her website. You can find all Jeanne Marie's blog posts here. And you can read about how she became a TeachingAuthor here.

Jill Esbaum is the author of many books. Her picture books have been nominated to state award lists, named IRA Notable Children’s Books, and named to the CCBC’s Choices List. Jill also authors nonfiction titles for National Geographic, including the Angry Birds Playground series and others. Jill co-hosts the Whispering Woods Picture Book Writing Workshop/Retreat each July. To contact Jill, visit her website. You can find all Jill's blog posts here. And you can read about how she became a TeachingAuthor here.


Laura Purdie Salas is the author of more than 120 books for kids and teens, including two rhyming nonfiction books from Millbrook Press: Water Can Be ... and A Leaf Can Be ... (Bank Street Best Books, IRA Teachers' Choice, Minnesota Book Award Finalist, Riverby Award for Nature Books for Young Readers, and more), and Bookspeak! Poems About Books, published by Clarion (Minnesota Book Award, NCTE Notable, Bank Street Best Book, Eureka! Gold Medal, and more). She loves to introduce kids to poetry and help them find poems they can relate to, no matter what their age, mood, and personality, and she loves to get teachers excited about sharing poetry in their classrooms. She has also written numerous nonfiction books. See more about Laura and her work at her website. You can find all Laura's blog posts here. And you can read about how she became a TeachingAuthor here.