• The Good Braider is part of YWCA Hartford Region’s “A Week Without Violence”

    YWCAWWV SidewalkIn honor of YWCA’s national movement, a Week Without Violence, YWCA Hartford Region has invited me to tell the story behind The Good Braider in an evening that also features young refugees and survivors of violence. I am deeply honored to bring Viola’s  story tothe YWCA Hartford program entitled, “Rising Above: Stories of Female Survivors” on Oct. 15.

  • Finding the Dove – Writing Workshops

    Slide01“Finding the Dove: Writing with English Language Learners” is a workshop I present for teachers of English language learners and for students themselves.   The workshop offers  poems, stories, novels, and works of nonfiction to inspire students to write themselves, see the importance of their own stories, and experience their telling and writing muscles. This is a hands on workshop using writings, music, and activities as jumping off places to experiment with writing about a memory, a story to tell to a child, a poem, and more. Here is the workshop reading list: “Finding the Dove” Writing Workshop with English Language Learners – Reading List.


  • Luis Paints the World – set in a city of murals

    Bread and Roses Mural, Lawrence, MA, by David Fichter

    Bread and Roses Mural, Lawrence, MA, by David Fichter

    Lawrence, Massachusetts is a city of murals.  A “Bread and Roses” mural is on the Lawrence Family Health Center building.  Students create murals in the alleyways.   Next year, Carolrhoda Books will publish my picture book  LUIS PAINTS THE WORLD set in this city. It’s a story of going away to war from the eyes of a child whose brother is deployed.  As the seasons pass through the deployment, the little brother, Luis, paints on the alleyway wall the story of home and the mural grows with his and his brother’s changing lives. READ MORE

  • Readers Write Viola’s Next Chapter

    Megan, 9th grader, Gorham High in Maine, wrote "College." She is from Burundi.

    Megan, 9th grader, Gorham High in Maine, wrote “College.” She is from Burundi.

    Heather Flanders, ELL Specialist at Gorham High School in Maine sent me two stories.  She wrote, “I hope you are as moved as I was,” and I was. The stories were written by her students Amna and Megan, their own visions of the next chapter in my novel The Good Braider.   Amna is from Kharotum, Megan is from Burundi. In their chapters, they imagine Viola supported by her grandmother’s “power to believe” and as a high school senior on her way to college and willing to take on the hard task of writing essays. Amna and Megan have their own bright futures.