Mary Main

In a stellar review of Mary Main’s Isabel Allende: Award-Winning Latin American Author (Enslow, 2005), School Library Journal praised the biography as an “enticing glimpse into [Allende’s] Chilean world . . . a superior job in presenting the facts of Allende’s personal and professional life within the framework of an engaging narrative.” Multicultural Review called it “a vivid and intimate picture of Allende.”

      In addition to Isabel Allende, Ms. Main’s other writing credits include the biography, Dr. Phil: Self-Help Guru and TV Superstar (Enslow, 2007); The Deadliest of Friends (Troll, 1997), a young adult romantic suspense novel; and Tower of Evil (Troll, 1994), a young adult supernatural thriller. Tower of Evil helped launch the WestWind imprint for Troll and was a featured title at the American Booksellers Association Convention in Los Angeles. To date, it has sold more than 100,000 copies.

More on Mary Main’s books


Bobi Martin

A former student of the Institute, Ms. Martin has had more than 150 articles appear in publications such as Woman’s Day, California Farmer, D Magazine, and the SCBWI Bulletin. She also created and wrote a column for young people for Dog World Magazine from 1993-1999, in addition to writing feature pieces, celebrity interviews, and children’s book reviews.

      Her writing credits include two books: All About Scarecrows (Tomato Enterprises, 1990) and Kidding Around San Francisco (John Muir Publications, 1996). She also contributed more than 50 stories and crossword puzzles for ten Kidding Around titles and contributed to the 1998 Children’s Writers’ Yearbook, 1997 Children’s Writer’s Book Market, 1997 Children’s Magazine Market, and The Guinness Book of World Records (1987).

      In addition to writing, Ms. Martin has been an editor and consultant to several small press publishers, and served as Program Advisor for the Certificate in Children’s Literature program at Mills College in Oakland, California. She has also taught at the Learning Annex, the Sun Gallery, and Solano Community College in California, and at Florida Southwest College.

More on Bobi Martin’s books

 Even more . . .


Connie McAllister

Constance McAllister’s name appeared on the masthead of Highlights for Children for 17 years.

      During that time she progressed from assistant editor to associate editor and, for the last five years of her stint with Highlights, senior editor. In addition to her work with writers who submitted manuscripts for Highlights’s monthly issues, Ms. McAllister had extensive involvement with its annual fiction contest, which she inaugurated. She has read and screened thousands of entries.

      Ms. McAllister’s own work as an author included Highlights’s handbooks on phonics and creative writing for children, and many stories and articles for the magazine.

      Constance McAllister is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, the International Reading Association, the American Association of Phonetic Sciences, and the National Writers’ Club.



My instructor is excellent! She does a fine job evaluating my work. She finds my strengths, gives me direction, inspires and encourages my progress, and provides marketing guidance. She is extremely encouraging. Most of all, she cares.

—Ida M. Korhonen, Norway, ME


Pat McCarthy

Pat McCarthy’s versatility is reflected in the many different types of writing she has published.

      Her work for children includes nature, biography, how-to articles, short stories, and puzzles that have appeared in many children’s magazines, including Cricket, Highlights for Children, Children’s Digest, and Pockets. Her photographs have accompanied many of her articles.

      Ms. McCarthy’s first book, Daniel Boone: Frontier Legend, was published by Enslow Publishers in January 2000. It is a young adult biography in the Enslow series, Historical American Biographies. Her additional titles in this series include Thomas Paine: Revolutionary Patriot and Writer (2001), Abigail Adams: First Lady and Patriot (2002), and Henry Ford: Building Cars for Everyone (2002).

      Ms. McCarthy is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, and attends SCBWI conferences.

More on Pat McCarthy’s books

 Even more . . .

Kevin McColley

Astonishing was the word three-time Newbery Medal winner Gary Paulsen used to describe Kevin McColley’s first novel, The Walls of Pedro García (Delacorte Press, 1993).

      Author Jane Resh Thomas, writing for the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, called his second novel, Pecking Order (Harper Collins, 1994), a marvel, unique in children’s fiction. Publishers Weekly described it as timeless.

      David Gale, then senior editor of children’s books at Simon & Schuster, described Mr. McColley’s third novel, Sun Dance (Simon & Schuster, 1995), as an extraordinary book. Kevin McColley brings a new dimension to the young adult novel.

      A Perfect Game, his fourth novel, has been sold to Simon & Schuster, and his short fiction for young adults has appeared in Infinity Limited.

      Mr. McColley’s last two novels, Praying to a Laughing God (Simon & Schuster, 1998) and The Other Side (Simon & Schuster, 2000), were both nominated for the National Book Award. He is currently working on a novel about his dog sledding experiences.

More on Kevin McColley’s books

 Even more . . .

Marianne Mitchell

Marianne Mitchell is the author of 9 childrens books and more than 150 stories and articles. Her books have earned high praise from Kirkus Reviews, School Library Journal, and Booklist, and her stories and articlespublished in Jack And Jill, New Moon, Highlights for Children, and morehave been similarly well received: Two of her rebus stories won Best of the Year from Highlights for Children, and she is a previous winner of Highlights annual fiction contest. Twenty of Ms. Mitchells short stories appear in the anthology, Windows of Gold (Rafter Five Press, 2006), and her English/Spanish read-aloud stories appear regularly in Highlights High Five.

       Ms. Mitchells book credits include two middle-grade mysteries, Firebug (Boyds Mills Press, 2004) and Finding Zola (Boyds Mills Press, 2003); and two picture books, Gullywasher Gulch (Boyds Mills Press, 2002) and Joe Cinders (Henry Holt, 2002), a Bank Street College Best Book of the Year and a Storytelling World Honor Book.

More on Marianne Mitchell’s books

 Even more . . .

Sharelle Byars Moranville

In a review of Sharelle Byars Moranville’s middle-grade novel, Over the River (Henry Holt, 2002), Publishers Weekly wrote that, “the narrator’s strong, appealing voice and detailed setting mark this author as one to watch.” The novel, which received an award from the Friends of American Writers, was praised in a Booklist starred review as being “beautifully written.”

      Ms. Moranville was awarded the first mentorship sponsored by the Iowa Chapter of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, and she was privileged to study for a year under the tutelage of prolific writer Dorothy Francis. Her other books include the young adult novels The Snows (Henry Holt, 2007) and A Higher Geometry (Henry Holt, 2006), named one of the year’s top ten romances by Booklist and nominated by the American Library Association as a Best Book for Young Adults. She is also the author of The Purple Ribbon (Henry Holt, 2003), a chapter book.

      Her first story for children appeared in Listen Magazine in April 1997, and that story was followed by fiction pieces in magazines including Guideposts for Kids, Pockets, and With.

      “The Wreck of Monique’s Antiques,” which appeared in the March/April 1998 issue of Guideposts for Kids, was chosen for inclusion in the Institute’s Best of the Children’s Market.

More on Sharelle Byars Moranville’s books

 Even more . . .


Truly, the Institute, with its wealth of teaching methods and materials, and my instructor, have both contributed much toward making this one of the most exciting adventures of my life.

  —Arwilda L. Shoemaker, Millville, PA


Paula Morrow

Paula Morrow has been a children’s literature specialist for more than twenty-five years.

      Her writing has appeared in Highlights for Children, Cobblestone, Cricket, Spider, Ladybug, Babybug, Faces, AppleSeeds, Discoveries, and Junior Trails. She currently contributes the regular column “Like a Child” for the writer’s magazine Once Upon a Time, and writes a weekly book review column published by selected Shaw Newspapers.
      In her former position as Executive Editor with Cricket Magazine Group, Paula edited the award-winning magazine Ladybug from 1991 to 2005. She also participated in the launches of both Babybug and Spider, and edited the unique board-book magazine, Babybug, for its first eleven years. She also edited picture books and chapter books for Cricket Books, working with well-known authors such as Barbara Seuling, Marylin Hafner, and Eve Bunting.
      Mrs. Morrow’s speaking engagements have included the Highlights Foundation Writers Workshop at Chautauqua; the Manuscript Workshop in Londonderry, VT; the Drury College Writing for Children Workshop; and numerous Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators conferences and workshops.

Some books edited by Paula Morrow:

Snowboarding on Monster Mountain, Mom for Mayor,

Emmett’s Dream, Robert Takes a Stand

Lori Mortensen

Since completing her first course at the Institute, Lori Mortensen has sold more than 100 stories and articles. Her work has appeared in Highlights for Children, The Friend, Boys’ Quest, Hopscotch, Ladybug, and other publications. Three of her stories were reprinted in Liahona and translated into forty-one languages.

      In addition to stories and articles, Ms. Mortensen has several nonfiction books to her credit, including easy reader biographies Harriet Tubman, Thomas Edison, Amelia Earhart, and George Washington Carver (Picture Window Books, 2007), Leprechauns (KidHaven Press, 2007), and Basilisks (KidHaven Press, 2006).

       Ms. Mortensen has shared her knowledge of the craft of writing by contributing articles to the Institute of Children’s Literature website. One article, “Confessions from the Gene Pool,” won first place in ByLine magazine’s Advice for Beginning Writers contest and enjoyed an encore appearance at the ICL website in December 2003.

 More on Lori Mortensen’s books


Kathleen Muldoon

Called a “charming picture book” by reviewers at the Intermediate Mailbox, Kathleen Muldoon’s picture book, Princess Pooh (Albert Whitman & Company, 1989), has long been recommended reading for those working with disabled persons. This story about two sisters—one of whom is in a wheelchair—was reprinted in a Macmillan/McGraw-Hill picture book anthology and released as a CD in their Reading/Language Arts program.

      Ms. Muldoon sometimes introduces characters with disabilities into her children’s fiction, as she did in her historical fiction book, Island of Hope (Perfection Learning Corporation/PLC, 2002), and her middle-grade novel, Checkmate! (PLC, 2005). She also writes fiction and nonfiction chapter books for children who have difficulty reading at grade level. Her contributions in this area include Presidential Pet Tails (PLC, 2002) and a five-book Orphan Train series (PLC, 2003). In 2005, she authored Little Book of Saints (volumes 1 and 2) for Pauline Books & Media.

      Ms. Muldoon’s short stories and articles have also appeared in such magazines as Hopscotch, Cricket, AppleSeeds, Cobblestone, and Faces, as well as in anthologies such as Chicken Soup for the Pre-Teen Soul and Chocolate for a Teen’s Heart. Currently she is a monthly columnist for Action magazine, for which she created the column “Kids in Action.”

More on Kathleen Muldoon’s books

 Even more . . .


My instructor invariably picks out the very places I found myself struggling with and gives astute, helpful suggestions for improvement. None of this inhibits my own creative style. She is very positive in her approach and helps me focus on what the assignment is asking for.

 —Arlie R. Grenfell, Billings, MT


Patricia Netzley

Patricia D. Netzley is the author of more than 50 books for children, young adults, and adults.

      Her first children’s book, The Assassination of John F. Kennedy (Macmillan, 1994), for middle-grade students, was named a “Top Pick” by the American Library Association and recommended for adult literacy programs throughout the United States. 

      Her nonfiction book The Curse of King Tut (Lucent Books, 2000), written for teens but also enjoyed by adults, was featured on the SciFi Channel’s television show In Search Of, and her writings on controversial subjects—such as ESP, UFOs, the death penalty, gun control, censorship, and evolution—have been widely praised for their balanced approach.  

      Other children’s books by Patricia Netzley include Haunted Houses (Lucent Books, 2000), Buddhism (Lucent Books, 2002), ESP (Lucent Books, 2001), Life on an Everest Expedition (Lucent Books, 2001), Thunderstorms (Kidhaven Press, 2003), Volcanoes (Kidhaven Press, 2003), and Pirates (Kidhaven Press, 2003).

      Her nonfiction books for teens and adults include The Encyclopedia of Movie Special Effects (Checkmark Books, 2001), The Encyclopedia of Women’s Travel and Exploration (Oryx Press, 2001), The Encyclopedia of Witchcraft (Greenhaven Press, 2002), The Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt (Greenhaven Press, 2003), The Encyclopedia of the Civil War (Greenhaven Press, 2004), The Encyclopedia of Paranormal Phenomena (Greenhaven Press, 2006), and The Encyclopedia of Terrorism (Greenhaven Press, 2007).  She also writes teen novels and romance novels and is a member of SCBWI and Romance Writers of America (RWA).

More on Patricia Netzley’s books

 Even more . . .

Kristin Wolden Nitz

“Unlike many how-to-play sports books for children, this one is written in a style kids can understand. . . .” said Children’s Literature about Kristin Wolden Nitz’s first book of nonfiction, Fundamental Softball (Lerner Publications, 1997). 

      To write the book, Ms. Nitz studied manuals, observed high school practices, attended games, and interviewed players, coaches, and officials in order to make her description of the history, strategy, and techniques of softball as clear and informative as possible.

      Ms. Nitz used similar techniques to write two more books of nonfiction, Play-by-Play Track and Play-by-Play Field Events, both published by Lerner Publications in 2004.

      Such attention to detail also helped her bring the story of a girl playing soccer on an Italian boys’ team to life in her first novel, Defending Irene (Peachtree, 2004). 

      Her short stories and articles have appeared in Highlights for Children, Cricket, Hopscotch, and Soccer Jr. Reprint rights of some of her work have been sold to SIRS and Harcourt Educational Measurement.

      Ms. Nitz serves on the local board of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators’ Missouri region, where she helps plan events, recruits speakers, gives presentations, and writes a column for the quarterly newsletter, MO Scribbles.

More on Kristin Wolden Nitz’s books

 Even more . . .


My instructor has…given encouragement and kept me writing. The results of her teaching were almost immediate. I won first place in a short story contest in a local newspaper. The piece was the first thing I’d ever sent out….Cleaning up my writing has even helped me in my day job.

—Tree Heckler, Brewer, ME


Rebecca O’Connell

“Often witty and even more often provocative” is how Publishers Weekly described Rebecca O’Connell’s young adult novel, Myrtle of Willendorf (Front Street, 2000).  Horn Book called it “by turns funny and poignant,” and it was selected for inclusion in the New York Public Library’s Books for the Teen Age.

      Four Sides, Eight Nights: A New Spin on Hanukkah (Roaring Brook Press, 2005), a nonfiction book for the middle grades (written by Ms. O’Connell using her maiden name, Rebecca Tova Ben-Zvi), was described as delivering intriguing information and a little fun by Booklist.

      Ms. O’Connell’s picture book, The Baby Goes Beep (Roaring Brook, 2003), was named a Charlotte Zolotow Honor Book.

      Ms. O’Connell has been a guest speaker for children’s literature classes at Chatham College and the University of Pittsburgh. She has also led writing and children’s literature workshops at the Western Pennsylvania Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators’ (SCBWI) regional conference, the Penn State Children’s Literature Matters conference, and the Pennsylvania Library Association (PaLA) annual convention. She is a member of both SCBWI and PaLA.

More on Rebecca O’Connell’s books

 Even more . . .

Katherine Pebley O’Neal

Katherine Pebley ONeal knows funny.

      In 2003 Simon & Schuster introduced the Stink Squad, ONeals series of four middle-grade adventures that was praised by School Library Journal as a lighthearted and droll new mystery and detective series.

      The series includes The Fume in the Tomb (2004), The Reek from Outer Space (2003), The African Sniffari (2003), and The Malodorous Mess (2003), the last of which won first place in the childrens fiction category at the Pikes Peak Writers Conference. With the writing of this series, ONeal realized how much she loved to write stories that would make kids laugh. A new set of four (funny!) picture books is forthcoming from HarperCollins/Zonderkidz in 2008.

      A former student of the Institute, Ms. ONeal has also published stories and articles in more than fifteen magazines for young people, including Spider, Highlights for Children, Hopscotch, Boys Quest, Guideposts for Kids, and My Friend.

More on Katherine Pebley O’Neal’s books

 Even more . . .

Karen Orfitelli

A former editor for McGraw-Hill Publishers, Karen Orfitelli created and edited educational material for children and teachers for five years. In addition, she has extensive teaching experience, having taught literature, language arts, and writing to high school and college students for more than 20 years; she also designed and implemented reading and writing programs and curriculum.

      Still, Ms. Orfitelli is a writer at heart: her articles have been published nearly 300 times in more than 100 publications. Her first article, “Searching for Safety” (Standard), was published in 1992. That acceptance was followed by hundreds more from magazines such as Focus on the Family, Breakaway, Brio, Teen, Writer’s Digest, The Plain Truth, Clarity, Vietnam, and Guideposts. She also spent several years reviewing children’s books for Christian Library Journal and Librarian’s World.

      She currently teaches literature and writing to high school students in addition to conducting workshops at writers conferences, teachers conventions, and regional writing groups, including New England Writers Network conferences. She is also the founder and director of the Connecticut Christian Writers Conference.



Now, thanks to that big first step, this soon-to-be-published new writer is forever grateful to you and her instructor. She provided the professional guidance needed for me to share my stories, and offered only honest, constructive criticism—something I was not accustomed to.

     —Christine D. Ballentine, Attica, MI


Glenda Palmer

Glenda Palmer’s first picture books were published in 1993—eight of them in one year. Chariot published the four-book Almost On My Own series and Tyndale, four Holiday Board Books.

      Ms. Palmer’s next four books were also sold as a series. My Bible Storybook of ABC’s, My Noah’s Ark Book of Colors, My Adam and Eve Book of Opposites, and My Baby Jesus Book of Numbers were published in 1995 by Concordia House Publishing. In 2000 this series was combined into one book and reprinted by Inspiration Press.

      In 1998, Glenda Palmer’s story, Missy and Me, was published in the best-selling book, Chicken Soup for the Kid’s Soul.

      A graduate of San Diego State College with a bachelor’s degree in English, Glenda Palmer was honored as Writer of the Year by the San Diego Christian Writers’ Guild in 1990 and 1992. She hosts critique groups, and is co-founder of The Write Touch. She has also taught at numerous writers’ conferences in California. 

More on Glenda Palmer’s books

 Even more . . .

Patricia Pfitsch

Patricia Pfitsch sold three of the assignments she wrote as a student at the Institute. One of the pieces, Soldier of Peace (November, 1989), won Highlights for Children’s Outstanding Author Award.

      Since then she has sold numerous stories and articles to Highlights, including Stormy Waters, which won the 1994 Highlights fiction contest; Inside Looking Out (May, 1996), which received another Outstanding Author Award; and Piano Man (November, 1993), anthologized in the Institute’s Success Stories for the ’90s.

      She has also been published in Wee Wisdom (The Mermaid, March, 1988), Sunshine Magazine (Skunks, June, 1991), and Cricket (Messages from the Past, May, 1996), and is a regular contributor to Children’s Writer newsletter.

      In 1997, Simon & Schuster released Keeper of the Light, her first historical novel for middle graders. An impressive debut, said Publishers Weekly. Well-researched . . . tension filled. It received the First Place Juvenile Award from Friends of American Writers, and was an American Booksellers Pick of the Lists.

      In 1998 her second historical novel, The Deeper Song, was published, also by Simon & Schuster. School Library Journal deemed it original and exciting. Another novel, Riding the Flume (S&S, 2002), was called a winner by Booklist.

      I enrolled in the Institute, and it’s one of the best decisions I ever made. Now, teaching for the Institute is a dream come true. By helping others realize their dreams, I get to give back a little of the guidance I received.

More on Patricia Pfitsch’s books

 Even more . . .

Shirley Raye Redmond

Award-winning author Shirley Raye Redmond has 26 books and more than 400 articles, short stories, and essays to her credit.

      Patriots in Petticoats: Heroines of the American Revolution (Random House, 2004), part of the Landmark Books series for young readers, was named one of the best childrens books of 2005 by Bank Street College of Education, and her early reader, Pigeon Hero! (Simon & Schuster, 2004), received an Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Award.

      Ms. Redmonds recent credits include Fairies! A True Story (Random House, 2012); The Oak Island Treasure Pit (Kidhaven Press, 2011); Blind Tom (Mountain Press Publishing Company, 2009); Pups Prairie Home (Picture Window Books, 2008); The Princess and Her Pony (Picture Window Books, 2007); and The Princesses Lucky Day (Picture Window Books, 2007). She has also contributed to Simon & Schusters Nancy Drew series with Intruder (2007).

      In addition to books, Ms. Redmond has sold more than 400 magazine articles, stories, and essays to a wide variety of publications, including Highlights for Children, Guideposts for Kids, Seventeen, Parenting, Womans Day, True West, and Cosmopolitan.

More on Shirley Raye Redmond’s books

 Even more . . .


My instructor is outstanding! This comes from a journalism grad who has been exposed to many professors. She takes her time to truly read and absorb my work, leaving me with substantial comments and advice. Her insight and ability to craft her comments have created a bond between us.

 —Scott Mortimore, Sparks, NV


Jennifer Reed

Jennifer Reed sold her first children’s article to Skipping Stones magazine, and the following year she signed on with Crinkles as a regular contributor.

      Since then, she has published more than 100 stories and articles in childrens magazines including Highlights, Boys Life, Boys Quest, Hopscotch, Story Friends, Holiday and Seasonal Celebrations, Crinkles, and many more magazines and websites.

      Ms. Reed has also published eleven nonfiction books, including several biographies such as Elizabeth Bloomer (Kidhaven Press, 2006), Paula Danziger (Enslow, 2006), Leonardo Da Vinci, Genius of Art and Science (Enslow, 2005), and The Royal Saudi Family (Chelsea House, 2002). Her book, The AIDS Epidemic (Enslow, 2005), was named a Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People in 2006.

      Fiction titles include her recently published picture book, The Falling Flowers (Shen’s Books, 2005) and Emmas Masterpiece (StoryPlus).

      As the editor of Wee Ones children’s magazine, Ms. Reed’s mission is to encourage families to grow together by reading together—online.

More on Jennifer Reed’s books

 Even more . . .

Gillian Richardson

Author Gillian Richardson has written 12 books and 25 stories for young readers. Several of her titles have received honors, including the short chapter book, A Friend for Mr. Granville (Hodgepog Books, 1997), “highly recommended” by the Canadian Book Review Annual; and her juvenile novel One Chance to Win (Ragweed, 1986), both of which received the Canadian Children’s Book Centre’s “Our Choice” Award. Her nonfiction book, Saskatchewan (Lerner, 1995), made the Year’s Best List in 1996 in Resource Links, a review publication for teacher/librarians.

      Ms. Richardson’s fiction credits include picture books Ants Belong Outside (2006), Ragdoll Rescue (2006), and Too Ba-a-d! (2005), all part of a Scholastic Canada primary language arts program; a mystery/fantasy, Oliver Buggins, Investigator? (Electric Ebook, 2001), a finalist in the Readers’ Favorite e-book category of the 2002 Independent e-book Awards; and The Migration of Robyn Birchwood (Nimbus, 1991), a three-time nominee for Young Readers’ Choice Awards by the Saskatchewan Reading Council.

      In addition to books, Ms. Richardson’s short stories have appeared in magazines such as Cricket, KNOW, OWL, WILD, Story Friends, and Aquila.

More on Gillian Richardson’s books

 Even more . . .

Catherine Ripley

Chickadee magazine, which won a Parent’s Choice Gold Seal Award plus eight EDPRESS Awards during Catherine Ripley’s time as Editor (1990-1992), nourished Ms. Ripley’s talent for making science and nature topics approachable for young readers.

      Since 1998, her work has appeared in Ask, Click, OWL, and Yes Mag. “Nihao from China” (Chickadee, November 2000) secured  Ms. Ripley another EDPRESS award, this time as a writer. 

      In 1985, Ms. Ripley’s first book, Night and Day (OWL/Golden Press), was published. Since then she has written eight other books for young children: The Polka Dot Door Activity Book (Stoddart, 1987), Two Dozen Dinosaurs (OWL Books, 1991), and the Question and Answer Storybook series (6 titles, OWL Books, 1995-1998).  In 2001, all six titles were published together under the title Why? The Best Ever Question and Answer Book about Nature, Science, and the World around You (Maple Tree Press).

      During her Chickadee years, Ms. Ripley edited eight other books, including the best-selling title The Bug Book and Bottle (Somerville House/Workman, 1986), as well as compiled and edited activity books for OWL that were used in The Anti-Boredom Book (OWL, 2000), co-authored with Marilyn Baillie.

More on Catherine Ripley’s books

 Even more . . .


I thoroughly enjoy working with my instructor. I believe these assignments and his evaluation are already equal to several semesters of college classes. He gives a personal touch to each assignment with good suggestions, noting the good parts as well as the weaker points. I feel he is personally involved with my work.

 —Vera L. Long, Stillwater, OK

Nancy Rockwell

From reporter/interviewer/columnist for a small-town newspaper, Nancy Rockwell went on to edit two industrial magazines before deciding she was more interested in children’s books. She held editorial posts at W. W. Norton; Lothrop, Lee & Shepard; Grosset & Dunlap; and Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.

      While at Grosset & Dunlap, Ms. Rockwell developed Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys, the Dana Girls, and the Bobbsey Twins book series. One of her important jobs at Harcourt was to help maintain its publisher’s lists as a well-balanced juvenile line.

      In addition to her editorial work, she wrote The Nancy Drew Code Book and The Hardy Boys Code Book. Two of the books she edited for Harcourt, The Kidnapping of Christina Lattimore and The Seance, both by Joan Lowery Nixon, won Edgars from the Mystery Writers of America.

More on Nancy Rockwell’s books

 Even more . . .

Ana María Rodríguez

A former student of the Institute, Ana María Rodríguez found success with the publication of her first article, “The Kids Who Fought Smallpox,” published in Highlights for Children (May 2000) and written under her pen name, Mariana Relós. It earned the Highlights History Feature of the Year Award.

      Since then, Ms. Rodríguez has published more than 75 articles in children’s magazines including Yes Mag, SuperScience, Current Health 1, and Highlights for Children. Four of her articles have been reprinted in SIRS Discoverer databases for schools, and one in First-Time Authors, an anthology published by the Institute of Children’s Literature.

      She also has seven books to her credit, including A Day in the Life of the Brain (Chelsea House, 2007); Edward Jenner: Conqueror of Smallpox (Enslow, 2006), named one of the Best Books of 2006 by Science Books and Films; and Fires (Greenhaven Press, 2004).

      Ms. Rodríguez is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, the Authors’ Guild, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

More on Ana María Rodríguez’s books

 Even more . . .


This course has made my dreams come true. It was easy to follow, yet I found each lesson challenging. I sold my first article before I finished the course. I have had 17 articles and short stories published in seven publications so far. Thank you for the opportunity to take this course. It has changed my life.

—Mary Dobbs, Clinton, MD


Heidi Bee Roemer

Text and pictures blend seamlessly in this outstanding offeringno mean feat, as Roemers rhymes are shaped to evoke seasonal sights. . . . A strong debut for Roemer, said the starred Kirkus review of Come To My Party and Other Shape Poems (Henry Holt, 2004).

      Come To My Party, illustrated by Hideko Takahashi, is listed in the Chicago Public Librarys Best of the Best Books of 2004 and on the Chicago Public School’s second grade reading list. It has also been included in the Best Childrens Books of the Year 2005 edition, selected by the Childrens Book Committee at Bank Street College of Education, as well as having been included in the Cooperative Childrens Book Center of the School of Education at the University of Wisconsin Choices 2005, the annual best of the year list. The book has also been nominated for the 2006 Great Lakes Great Books Award offered by the Michigan Reading Association.

       Heidi Roemer has also sold more than 200 articles, stories, and poems to Ladybug, Spider, Cricket, Highlights, Turtle, Boys Quest, Clubhouse, Scholastic Storyworks, and other popular childrens magazines.

       Ms. Roemer’s work has been published in anthologies such as Phonics Through Poetry (Addison Wesley, 1997) and The Big Book of Holiday and Seasonal Celebrations (Teaching & Learning Company, 2002). Well-known poet/anthologist Lee Bennett Hopkins has included Ms. Roemers poems in several of his collections. Scott Foresmans Read Aloud Anthology, Grade 1 (2005) will also include Ms. Roemers poetry. Her poetry entry in the SmartWriters 2004 contest won first prize.

 More on Heidi Bee Roemer’s books

Even more . . .

Stephen Roos

Soon after he graduated from Yale, Stephen Roos landed a job in the marketing department at Harper & Row (now HarperCollins) in New York. He eventually became an editor and worked on a wide variety of fiction and nonfiction—only to find that after a dozen years in the field, he wanted to be an author.

      His first book, My Horrible Secret, was published by Delacorte in 1983. Today, he has two dozen books for children and young adults to his credit. He is most recently a contributor to James Howe’s highly acclaimed 2003 anthology, Thirteen (Atheneum).

      Mr. Roos’s success is reflected in the reviews his books have received. About his book, Recycling George (Simon & Schuster, 2002), Booklist said, “his characters are quirky and real, his language spare but rueful and true.” School Library Journal described his book The Gypsies Never Came (Simon & Schuster, 2001) as “a novel written in a lean and propulsive style that draws readers in.”

      In accepting the Charlie May Simon Medallion from Hillary Rodham Clinton for My Horrible Secret, Stephen Roos said, I like the demands that young readers make on methe clarity, the honesty, the being real that they continually expect of me. They make my work a challenge; they keep my life vital.

More on Stephen Roos’s books

 Even more . . .

Rhea Ross

Rhea Ross made her first sale several weeks after enrolling at the Institute.

       As a student, she turned most of her course assignments into sales to Wee Wisdom, Alive!, Visions, The Young Crusader, and others. She sold two adult Westerns—as yet unpublished—then turned to the confession market and sold to Modern Romances and Intimate Story.

      In 1988, Houghton Mifflin published Ms. Ross’s first coming-of-age novel, The Bet’s On, Lizzie Bingman! to excellent reviews.

      Hillbilly Choir (Houghton Mifflin), her second teenage novel, was set in her native Ozarks during the depression years. It won praise from the Horn Book, Book Report, and School Library Journal.

      Ms. Ross has three new books in progress. She also teaches creative writing at the college level and speaks in schools throughout Missouri to would-be writers.

More on Rhea Ross’s books

 Even more . . .


I’m always surprised when my instructor finds the good things in my stories. She said she would be tough and point out my weak points. She does, but is more gentle than I expected. I like her clear, easy-to-grasp remarks and suggestions. I think my writing is steadily improving thanks to her.

—Barbara Hennings, Gillette, WY


Jill Rubalcaba

An exciting, suspenseful tale, wrote the School Library Journal in reviewing Jill Rubalcaba’s first book, Uncegila’s Seventh Spot (Clarion, 1995).

      Her next three middle-grade novels, St. Vitus Dance, A Place in the Sun, and The Wadjet Eye, were also published by Clarion.

      Cricket bought Ms. Rubalcaba’s first fictional piece, which was reprinted in a children’s textbook, and Pioneer purchased her first nonfiction piece. I like having something going in both genres, she says. That way, if I get stuck on one I can switch; the two don’t intrude on one another.

      Since her first sale, Ms. Rubalcaba continues to write for magazines. She is a graduate of the University of Vermont and did graduate work in mathematics, writing, and business.

More on Jill Rubalcaba’s books

 Even more . . .

Mary Ryan

Before becoming an author, Mary Ryan worked as an elementary school librarian, a reporter, and a humor columnist. Over time she began building a list of credits in children’s writing, with stories and articles appearing in Capper’s Weekly, Cobblestone, Humpty Dumpty, Young American, and Boys’ Life. Her magazine credits also include adult pieces in Reader’s Digest, Writer’s Digest, the Wall Street Journal, Grit, and Catholic Digest.

      In 1987, Little, Brown & Co. published Frankie’s Run, her first book and a Junior Literary Guild selection. It was followed by Who Says I Can’t? (Little, Brown, 1988); The Voice from the Mendelsohn’s Maple (Little, Brown, 1990); My Friend O’Connell (Avon, 1991); Ghosts, Gadgets and Great Ideas (Avon, 1993); and Me Two (Little, Brown, 1991), a Junior Library Guild selection that was also made into a Disney Channel Original Movie called The Other Me.       

      She later formed her own publishing company, Dragonseed Press, to publish Secret in the West Woods, a middle-grade science fiction novel.

       Ms. Ryan is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, SCBWI Northern Ohio Chapter, and Children’s Writers and Illustrators of Northeast Ohio.

More on Mary Ryan’s books

 Even more . . .




Skip Instructors

Free Writing Test

Send Me Full Info

93 Long Ridge Road, West Redding, CT 06896

Home | Writing Course | Short Story  | Full Story | Aptitude Test 
Send Me Info | EnrollOur Instructors | Our Credentials | Sample Lesson
College Credits |
Tax Deductibility | Writer's Bookstore 
Newsletter | Writing Contests | Write for Adults | Free Writer's News
Rx for Writers | Writing Tips  | Transcripts  | Writer's Retreat
Writer's Support  | Student  Center |  Privacy Policy | Web Editor Contact Us

 Copyright © Institute for Writers LLC, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2013, 2014, 2015
No part of the electronic transmission to which this notice is appended may be reproduced or redistributed in any form or manner
without the express written permission of
Institute for Writers LLC