L.M. (Laura) Elliott
New York Times bestselling author L. M. Elliott was a long-time magazine journalist, covering women’s issues, the arts, and medical narratives before turning to historical and biographical fiction.
Her ten novels include the soon-to-be released STORM DOG; Bank Street College Best Book HAMILTON AND PEGGY: A REVOLUTIONARY FRIENDSHIP, a biographical novel about the youngest Schuyler Sister; the NCSS/CBC Notables and Jefferson Cup Honor Books UNDER A WAR-TORN SKY, A TROUBLED PEACE, and ACROSS A WAR-TOSSED SEA; a McCarthyism-era story, SUSPECT RED, winner of the Grateful American Book Prize, another NCSS Notable and Bank Street Best, and currently on many Battle of the Books lists; DA VINCI’S TIGER, a biographical fiction about Ginevra de Benci, the young poet in Leonardo da Vinci’s first portrait, permanently displayed in the National Gallery of Art; and GIVE ME LIBERTY, a look at the American Revolution through the eyes of a young fifer in the 2nd Virginia Regiment. Elliott’s novels have also been on the TX TAYSHAS HS Reading List and finalists for VA, MD, IA, and PA state awards.
With New York Times best-selling illustrator Lynn Munsinger, Elliott has also published five picture books, including IRA Children’s Choice HUNTER’S BEST FRIEND AT SCHOOL, A STRING OF HEARTS, and THANKSGIVING DAY THANKS. Elliott holds a BA from Wake Forest University and a Masters in journalism from UNC-Chapel Hill. She is a lifelong Virginia resident and history-lover.
Katherine Tegen Books: Hamilton and Peggy: A Revolutionary Friendship (February 2018)
Peggy Schuyler has always felt like she’s existed in the shadows of her beloved sisters: the fiery, intelligent Angelica and beautiful, sweet Eliza. But it’s in the throes of a chaotic war that Peggy finds herself a central figure amid Loyalists and Patriots, spies and traitors, friends and family.
When a flirtatious aide-de-camp, Alexander Hamilton, writes Peggy asking for her help in wooing the earnest Eliza, Peggy finds herself unable to deny such an impassioned plea. A fast friendship forms between the two, but Alexander is caught in the same war as her father, and the danger to all their lives is real. Fluent in French, described as “a wicked wit,” “sprightly,” and “endowed with a superior mind,” Peggy was the only one of the famed Schuyler Sister trio to be in the right place to witness and potentially aid her father’s work as war strategist during the Battle of Saratoga and as George Washington's most trusted spy-master. Facts show that Peggy Schuyler managed to maintain an independent feminist ideal within 18th century restrictions—a revolutionary in her own right.
“Peggy is the Jo March of this family. Intelligent and fierce…(using) her razor-sharp wit and cleverness to make her mark….Elliott has accomplished something wonderful here, and this is an absolute must have.” -- School Library Journal
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers: Suspect Red (September 2018)
It's 1953, and the United States has just executed an American couple convicted of spying for the Soviet Union. Everyone is on edge as the Cold War standoff between communism and democracy leads to the rise of Senator Joe McCarthy and his zealous hunt for people he calls subversives or communist sympathizers. Suspicion, loyalty oaths, blacklists, political profiling, hostility to foreigners, and the assumption of guilt by association divide the nation. Richard and his family believe deeply in American values and love of country, especially since Richard's father works for the FBI. Yet when a family from Czechoslovakia moves in down the street with a son Richard's age named Vlad, their bold ideas about art and politics bring everything into question.
Richard is quickly drawn to Vlad's confidence, musical sensibilities, and passion for books, which Richard shares. But as McCarthy’s accusatory rhetoric and power sharpen and the nation's paranoia spirals out of control, Richard longs to prove himself a patriot, and blurred lines between friend and foe could lead to a betrayal that destroys lives.
Punctuated with photos, news headlines, ads, and quotes from the era, this suspenseful and relatable novel by award-winning New York Times best-selling author L.M. Elliott breathes new life into a troubling chapter of our history.
"Riveting...Author Elliott’s technique and methodology are superbly appropriate.” -- The Huffington Post
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers: Under a War-Torn Sky (2003)
When Henry Forester is shot down during a bombing run over France, the World War II pilot finds himself trapped behind enemy lines. In constant danger of discovery by German soldiers, Henry begins a remarkable journey to freedom. Relying on the kindness of strangers, Henry moves from town to town—traveling by moonlight, never asking questions, or even the names of the people who help him along the way. Each day brings him closer to home, yet every step in enemy territory invites new dangers.
Even as Henry fights for his own life, he quickly grows to realize the peril that surrounds all of the French people, and to admire the courage of the freedom fighters who risk death to protect him. Suspenseful and achingly true, this critically acclaimed and deeply beloved novel explores the heartbreak of war, the strength of human spirit, and one young man's struggle to protect the things he loves.
"It’s packed with action, intrigue, and suspense, but this novel celebrates acts of kindness and heroism without glorifying war." -- ABA Booklist
Laura loves to talk about books and writing with children, teens, and/or adults at schools, libraries, conferences, and literary festivals.
For young readers, she focuses on her picture book titles. Emphasizing the creative process, she takes students through the birth of a book—from the first ideas—all the way to publication. She discusses in very simple terms character, plot, and theme, the wonderful collaboration of working with Lynn Munsinger, and what inspired the stories.
With middle grade and teen readers, she focuses on what drives her writing—the fun treasure hunt of research! Sharing some of the more engrossing and even gross tidbits of historical fact she discovers while digging through primary documents, memoirs, and history books to grab students’ attention and bring the past to life. She is happy to jump centuries and novels from assembly to assembly and, as a former magazine journalist, she can address nonfiction writing and reporting techniques as well. It keeps the day interesting to have the variety! She is happy proof that once a person knows how to write, he or she can enjoy writing in multiple genres.
Her basic fee for school visits includes up to three assembly presentations, a book signing, and an informal lunch OR afterschool session with selected students or teachers (if desired). Books may be purchased from her publishers at a 40% discount when ordering for a visit.
Workshops can complement or be substituted for school assemblies or be offered as a stand-along opportunity. She includes elements of assembly presentations but the workshop format allows for more concentrated and targeted discussion. Workshops include:
Treasure Hunt of Research, which shows students in grades 5-12 how research really is a treasure hunt and what to do with those gems—primary documents. This workshop can also be presented to teachers, providing educators with strategies for helping students analyze primary sources and techniques for promoting historical inquiry.
Reporting Stories, which uses Laura’s experience in journalism to show students in grades 5-12 how to distill a large, unwieldy topic into a compelling narrative—by finding real live people who endured the events and political movements of a time period. This workshop can also be presented to teachers, providing educators with new techniques for teaching creative writing.
Historical Fiction in the Classroom, which helps teachers know how to evaluate historical fiction’s accuracy and validity and make the most of this genre in their Common Core classrooms.