Happiness lies in the joy of achievement and the thrill   of creative effort ~ Franklin D. Roosevelt

Right Book, Right Reader, Right Time

NCTE Council Chronicle March 2012

Every bookshelf in Teri Lesesne’s office is double packed. Books spill out of a shelving cart near her desk, which is also buried in books. And that doesn’t even count the audio books and ebooks she regularly digs into.

Lesesne (it rhymes with “insane,” she says) doesn’t remember a time she wasn’t in love with books. But it was not until she became a teacher and met her first reluctant readers that she discovered the young adult (YA) genre.

Catching Tigers:

NCTE Council Chronicle March 2012

What are your options if you feel that your writing instruction is not engaging students at a deep enough level?

Like Water for Dancers

Illinois Alumni June 2011

For Jennifer Monson, the whole world is her classroom, from bird migration patterns that tie the corners of the world together to vast underground aquifers of burbling waters.

Object Lessons

Illinois Alumni April 2011

When I walk into Billie Jean Theide’s metalsmithing class, I seem to have time-warped to the 1950s.

High, wooden desks reminiscent of architects’ drafting tables fill the second-floor classroom. Gooseneck lamps provide an ambient glow. Radiators clank and hiss. We are warm within the walls of an old brick building, tucked amid greenhouses in a quiet corner of campus.

Unsilent Night

Illinois Alumni magazine December 2010

Want to be serenaded with “I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas” at 2 a.m.? No problem. “Come All Ye Faithful” … in Latin? Coming right up. It’s all in a day and night’s work for Snyder Hall’s Dial-A-Carol volunteers, who satisfy callers’ desires for Christmas carols, common and obscure, for one week every year.

Lois Duncan

NCTE Council Chronicle November 2010

Lois Duncan is one of those rare creatures who knew from a very young age what she wanted to do.

“I was born wanting to be a writer,” she says. “I started composing rhymed verse as soon as I could talk. I submitted my first story to a magazine when I was ten.”

The Human Condition

Illinois Alumni Magazine September 2010

Before you meet her, the credentials of Virginia Dominguez may intimidate you.

Physician, Educate Thyself

Illinois Alumni June 2010

The bioengineer wants to develop a cure for blistering skin disease, and the neuroscience student believes her understanding of how zebra finches learn songs could help combat degenerative neurological ailments. The biochemist dreams of applying her knowledge of the molecular foundation of the immune system to help fight infectious disease. The philosopher hopes to play an important role in teaching medical ethics and even guiding policy.

Carl Woese and the Three Flavors of Life

Muse: the magazine of life, the universe, and pie throwing June 2010

You may not have heard of Carl Woese, but his discovery shook the very roots of biology. At a time when scientists believed all life on Earth could be divided into two categories, Woese (rhymes with “rose”) discovered a third. He persevered in the face of strong opposition, and ultimately triumphed. In the process, he opened our eyes to the vastness and diversity of the world of microbes.

Nancy Pearl

NCTE Council Chronicle March 2010

The words “librarian” and “celebrity” are not often used in the same sentence, but in the case of Nancy Pearl, it happens often. Not only has Pearl, a librarian by training, written three books, she is a regular guest on National Public Radio and hosts a Seattle television show. To top it all off, she was the inspiration for a librarian action figure and is quoted on one of the Starbucks coffee cups.*

Pages

Read more writings in my features, essays or books