Author/Illustrator: Fairfax, VA
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Books: Grades K-2, picture Books: Waiting for May; Minerva Louise and the Red Truck; Hide and Seek; Rainy Day; Minerva Louise and Her Farmyard Friends; Minerva Louise; Minerva Louise at the Fair; Hunky Dory Ate It; Hunky Dory Found It; A Hat for Minerva Louise; Minerva Louise at School; A Friend for Minerva Louise; One Little Puppy Dog; and Five Little Kitty Cats..
Fee: $375 per session, with negotiable discounts for multiple sessions.
Availability: Metropolitan Area. Grades K - 2, and Grades 5 & 6. No more than three classes at one session.
Features: Your school or library can choose from two programs:


  1. Minerva Louise stars in the original program, aimed at K through 2nd graders. Ms. Stoeke reads from some of the books, pointing out the events in her life that prompted her to think them up. Then, asking open-ended questions, the author elicits a character, a plot (beginning, middle and end) and plenty of hilarious twists and turns from the students. Sketching quick and lively images on the board, the author pulls together their ideas, having them vote on the best ones, and tugging them toward a satisfying conclusion. In the end, they have made a story. The students see first hand that they can do it! Creating a book is not only possible, but great fun. Questions about authoring round out the session. 45 minutes.


  2. The new program, aimed at fifth and sixth graders, focuses on writing from personal experience. It features the author's latest book, Waiting for May, her son's story about anticipating the adoption of his sister. Using the book as an example, Ms. Stoeke helps the students search for which events from their lives might be story-worthy. The focus is on the emotion the event elicits. Students are reminded to write the whole piece with that feeling in mind. Life happens in a random sort of way, but stories need some structure. I will show the students how to rethink the event and find the inherent structure, building on their central feeling throughout. Teachers can refer to this streamlined writing tactic again and again throughout the year. 45 minutes.



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