Home » Education » Instructional Resources

Instructional Resources

Series Info

Episodes: 20

Length: 30 min.

Grade Levels:
Kindegarten, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

Language Arts and Literature

Web Resources

Meet the Author

From its inception, the Fairfax Network’s Meet the Author series has served to promote literacy, and an interest in reading and writing, by giving students direct access to authors who share their personal stories, offer their writing tips, and encourage students to “keep reading, keep writing, keep dreaming.”

During the half-hour interactive program, authors describe their approach to the writing process, talk about character development, and sometimes share a sneak peek at their books not yet published. During live programs, students call in with questions, inspiring lively and impromptu responses from the authors.

Episode Guide

20. Marc Tyler Nobleman (Grades 3-6) — What’s the back story of the Man of Steel?  Writer and accomplished cartoonist, Marc Tyler Nobleman, tracks the story of Jerry Siegel and Joe Schuster, two shy guys from Depression-era Cleveland, who “created a superhero who was everything they were not.” Their story is told in Nobelman’s first standalone book, Boys of Steel: The Creators of Superman, a 2009 American Library Association Notable Children’s Book. During the program, Nobleman explains how his curiosity led him to write biographies on little-known men who popularized comics and created some of the most famous superheroes of all time. He discusses the research involved and why certain illustrations were selected for each page. Students from Greenbriar East Elementary School use Skype to interact with the author for lively discussions. (CC)

19. Eoin Colfer (Grades 4-8) — After selling twenty million books, the adventures of Artemis Fowl come to an end with the publication of The Last Guardian.  From his first book Benny and Omar to The Legend of the Worst Boy in the World to Plugged to the finale of the multi award-winning Artemis Fowl series, Colfer’s amazing imagination delights readers of all ages.   According to this Irish writer, “I will keep writing until people stop reading or I run out of ideas. Hopefully neither of these will happen anytime soon.”   MTA student reporter landed an exclusive interview with the author.  During the program, Colfer, a rock star of fantasy fiction, talks to his fans about fairy magic, Irish inspiration, and why Artemis and Captain Holly Short are such endearing characters. (CC)

18. Discover Shakespeare (Grades 7-12) — April is William Shakespeare’s birthday month.  While we can’t ask William Shakespeare about iambic pentameter, we can explore his world with Dr. Gail Kern Paster, director of the Folger Shakespeare Library. While researching her thesis as a doctoral student, Paster first encountered the Folger collection and is a lifelong Shakespearean scholar.  As director, Paster created a division at the Library dedicated solely to K–12 education. During this live program, students are invited to call 800.231.6359 or 703.978.1636 join in the lively discussion as Paster shares her perspective on everything Shakespeare!  (see Preparing for the Program below). (CC)

17. Erica S. Pearl (Grades K-3) — You know what? What? Chicken butt!  This joke is now a humorous picture book by Erica S. Perl.  According to Kirkus Reviews, the book is “an unhinged piece of slap-happy rhyming.” In addition to Chicken Butt!, Perl is the author of Dotty and Chicken Bedtime Is Really Early.  Students will find counting and math fun when they add up all the family members in Perl’s hilarious book Ninety-Three in My Family. (CC)

16. Jennifer O’Connell (Grades K-3) — With an artistic mother and a storytelling father, Jennifer O’Connell grew up loving art and stories.  This illustrator’s picture book, Ten Timid Ghosts, is a New York Times, Publishers Weekly, and USA Today bestseller. O’Connell’s oil pastel illustrations in A Garden of Whales shows that she loves “working on books for our most important audience and I truly enjoy connecting with children of all ages when I visit schools and libraries. I believe picture books are for everyone. After all, there is a child in each of us!” (Not CC)

15. Firoozeh Dumas (Grades 7-12) — Funny in Farsi is a humorous look at Firoozeh Dumas’ family members as they adapt to life in America.  Growing out of her collection of essays for her children, Dumas’ first book records the Iranian family’s immigrant experience.  Her engineer father, her elegant mother, an uncle obsessed with fast food, and the author, herself, offer a unique look at American customs that can be confusing to an outsider. Being the winner of the National Council for the Social Studies 2008 Spirit of America Award, Funny in Farsi is used by communities throughout the United Sates to help promote cultural understanding. (CC)

14. James Swanson (Grades 7-12) — Born on Lincoln’s birthday, author James L. Swanson first became fascinated with Abraham Lincoln when he was just ten years old.  His book Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln’s Killer is a New York Times bestseller.  Chasing Lincoln’s Killer is the young people’s version of Swanson’s Manhunt. Swanson, an attorney, a Lincoln scholar, and a member of the Lincoln Bicentennial Commission, uses archival materials, trial transcripts, and Lincoln relics to document the day-by-day search for Lincoln’s assassin. (CC)

13. AJ Stern (Grades 3-6) — With resume, business cards, and a love for office supplies, Frannie Miller is off to find the perfect office job.  The aspiring career girl tries hard to behave in grown-up ways, but instead of finding the perfect job, she finds only trouble. He has written novels for adults and middle grade students.  Stern’s new chapter book series, Frankly, Frannie, will have young readers following this spunky heroine from one job search to another. (CC)

12. Royce Buckingham (Grades 6-8) — Royce Buckingham always dreamed of being a published author of fantasy stories, but needed a “real career” to pay his bills.  He became a prosecuting attorney by day, while writing at night.  His novel, Demonkeeper, was inspired by themes he would see in juvenile court. “I imagined life on the streets as a monster” that would eat up so many lost children.  Demonkeeper is in development for a movie, while Royce Buckingham’s third novel is due out in September 2010. (Not Recorded)

11. Jackie Urbanovic (Grades 1-3) — Jackie Urbanovic loves the Marx Brothers, Popeye, Bugs Bunny and a slew of other comic characters so much that her own picture book stories and illustrations are infused with a joyful, wacky vision of delight and escapade, including Duck Soup andDuck And Cover. During the live program, Urbanovic talks about how humor fuels the inspiration behind her Max the Duck series. She also answers questions posed by students via video and telephone. The program includes a visit to the author’s studio where Urbanovic shows viewers the illustration process from thumbnail sketches to a final book. Students at Colvin Run Elementary (FCPS) participate in a lesson where they become authors and illustrators. (Not CC)

10. Cokie Roberts (Grades 9-12) — Cokie Roberts is a political commentator for ABC News. In addition to her appearances on the airwaves, Cokie Roberts has written several best sellers including Founding Mothers, published in 2004 and Ladies Of Liberty in 2008. (Not CC)

9. Kevin Garrahan (Grades 4-6) — Like so many educators, Kevin Garrahan, Fairfax County Public Schools educator, has published stories for kids of all ages.  This special edition of Meet the Author celebrates educators who walk the talk—writing for critical acclaim as well as fun. (CC)

8. Doreen Rappaport (Grades 2-5) — Doreen Rappaport had a life changing experience in 1965, when she taught at a freedom school in McComb, Mississippi.  There she met “extraordinary ordinary” people, many of whom were deprived of their civil rights.  Inspired by their courage, she set out to write about many American heroes, including children, in her historical biography books. (CC)

7. Nancy Krulik (Grade 2-4) — Nancy Krulik has written over 100 books for children and young adults. She is best known for her Katie Kazoo Switcheroo books, popular among 2nd, 3rd and 4th graders nationwide.  Katie Carew is your average 3rd grader, but after a bad day at school when a bully nicknames her Katie Kazoo and it sticks, she wishes to become someone other than herself.  Katie’s wish comes true when a magic wind blows and the hilarious switcheroo adventures begin. (CC)

6. Adriana Trigiani — Author of Big Stone Gap enters the world of young adult literature with Viola in Reel Life.  The first in a series, Viola in Reel Life is about 14-year-old Viola, who hates the idea of moving from her Brooklyn home to boarding school in Indiana for ninth grade while her parents finish a film project in Afghanistan. (CC)

5. William Boniface — Mr. Boniface reveals his approach to the writing process through books in The Extraordinary Adventures of Ordinary Boys. Each book in the series contains multiple superheros that solve minor uprising conflicts. (CC)

4. Rob Cleveland — Rob Cleveland shares new insight to the ancient tradition of story telling.  A former special education teacher, Cleveland is a storyteller at the Fernbank Museum of History in Atlanta, Georgia. Not only does he write stories, but he performs them as well! (CC)

3. Moira Rose Donohue — Moira Rose Donohue reveals the secret personalities of punctuation marks to young writers as she describes her books, and her unique approach to the writing process.  The program includes a cameo appearance from the author’s pug, Sniffles, who gives a bow-wow view of a writer’s life. Students and teachers are introduced to Dr. Rocket, a game show host who inspires students to playfully punctuate. (CC)

2. Laura Malone Elliott — Laura Malone Elliott makes a return visit to the Fairfax Network to highlight the world of Hunter and Stripe, best friend raccoons who like to do everything together. But what happens when Stripe comes to school in a mischief-making mood and Hunter doesn’t want to follow along? Or the time soccer competition between the two furry pals appears to drive them apart? (Not CC)

1. Rosemary Wells — Author and illustrator Rosemary Wells, best known for her classic children?s characters Max, Ruby, Timothy, and Noisy Nora, has written a wonderfully complex novel for young adult readers. Red Moon at Sharpsburg focuses on a young girl from Virginia named India Moody who dreams of attaining a higher education at a time when only one college in the country would accept women students. India?s strength of character is tested as she deals with the harsh realities of the Civil War and its impact on her small rural town. (Not CC)

« Go Back