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 newest 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, 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 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 a decade. 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.

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 received a starred review from Booklist magazine and was named to their list of “Top Ten First Novels for Youth:  2006.” 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 three editions of the Children’s Writer’s and Illustrator’s Market (Writer’s Digest Books). She has taught adult writing workshops at the College of DuPage for fifteen years. 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 S is for Story: A Writer's Alphabet (Sleeping Bear Press). Her other titles include Chicken Soup By Heart (Simon & Schuster), a Sydney Taylor Book Award medalist, and three books published by Holiday House: the picture books Fancy That and There Goes Lowell's Party! and the humorous middle-grade novel, The Confe$$Ion$ and $Ecret$ of Howard J. Fingerhut, a Crown Award nominee and Bank Street College Best Book of the Year. A former elementary teacher, Esther now teaches Writing for Children at the University of Chicago’s Writer’s Studio and Chicago’s Newberry Library as well as coaches writers of all ages to help them tell their stories. She customizes K-8 writing workshops that address the Six Traits of Writing, as well as specific curriculum, district, and Publishing Institute needs. She recently served as a consultant to the Chicago Public Schools, helping to develop an authorship-based program. To contact Esther, visit her website. You can find all Esther's blog posts here.

Jill Esbaum is the author of many books. Her newest picture book, Tom’s Tweet (Knopf), is a 2013-2014 Goldfinch Book Award nominee. She is also the author of Stanza (HMHarcourt), a 2012-2013 Young Hoosiers Book Award nominee; Ste-e-e-e-eamboat A-Comin’! (Farrar, Straus & Giroux), an IRA Notable Children’s Book; and To the Big Top (FSG), which was named to the CCBC’s Choices List. More picture books are forthcoming. Jill authored a nonfiction series, Picture the Seasons, for National Geographic, as well as two books in the Angry Birds Playground series: Animals, and Dinosaurs. A former instructor for the Institute of Children’s Literature, Jill leads a workshop at the University of Iowa’s Summer Writing Festival and 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.

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.

Laura Purdie Salas is the author of more than 120 books for kids and teens, including two recent 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 could also Like her on Facebook and/or Follow her on Twitter @LauraPSalas or check out her writing coaching and critiquing services through Mentors for Rent. She's everywhere--ha!
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You will also see posts on our blog from two TeachingAuthor alums who are currently taking a blogging break: 

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.

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. And you can read about how she became a TeachingAuthor here.