My favorite part about being a young adult author, besides the writing itself, is going into schools to talk to kids. I hope I can inspire them to write or follow whatever dreams they have, and most of all, to believe in themselves. Sadly, right now, most schools in the US are doing distance learning due to the Covid crisis and it's not really safe to travel until we have a vaccine. I think and hope that many schools may return in the fall, but then we will probably have to return for a time to distance learning, so I'm planning for that in terms of my own regular classes, as well as my school visits. As a parent, I want to say that I'm so grateful to the work that my own kids' teachers do. This time has really shown other parents how incredibly hard it is to teach kids, and most of them can't wait for a return to in-school learning. In recognition of this tough time, I would like to help my fellow teachers and their students during this time by offering free 30 minute Zoom writing workshops to school anywhere. I've found some really fun writing activities to do over Zoom, and I'm offering these workshops to any teachers from first grade to high school. I've taught all ages, and I love all ages, and I want to be of service.
For my two novels, I've done over fifty school visits around the US and Canada to all populations of students, and I also have over twenty years of teaching experience, first teaching English as a Second Language and after that, creative writing, to a range of ages. I believe in teaching in a multi-sensory, interactive, student-led, trauma-informed way. I used to be the Curriculum Director of an organization called WriteGirl in Los Angeles, and continue to teach writing workshops for them. Since the beginning of the Covid crisis, I've been teaching regular fiction classes online to kids and adults.
I love connecting with students and seeing them laugh and get fired up about writing. At my in-person school visits, I do presentations or writing workshops. The talks center on writing, following your dreams, human trafficking, and mental health. The generative writing workshops always involve multi-sensory writing experiments with props, visuals and smells. On Instagram, I post some of my teaching ideas if you're looking for new material, especially if you're doing distance learning with your students. It is harder for sure to teach via Zoom, and to all the teachers out there, I really want to thank you.
Email me directly. I would love to talk to your students.
Discussion Guide for THIS IS NOT A LOVE LETTER
- What are the primary themes for this novel?
- Why do you think the teens all have different theories about what happened to Chris?
- Discuss the white bias portrayed in this novel.
- What did you think about the portrayal of the police in this novel?
Discussion Guide for TRAFFICKED
- What is Hannah’s life like in Moldova? Why does she want to leave Moldova?
- What are some of the cultural differences Hannah experiences when she comes to Los Angeles?
- What red flags do you think Hannah missed when the good agent first contacts her in the market?What does Hannah experience in her journey from Chisinau to Los Angeles? What do you think she could have done differently when things go wrong?
- How does Lillian threaten Hannah? What does she say? Why do her words have such an impact on Hannah? How does Lillian punish Hannah?
- Describe Hannah’s relationship with Sergey. How does she use his attraction to her to get what she needs?
- Early in the book, Hannah starts watching Colin, the boy next door. How is his life different from hers? How is it the same?
- Why do you think Lillian and Sergey took Hannah? Do you feel any sympathy for either of these characters? Which character did you find yourself disliking the most in the novel? Why?
- When the story ends, do you think Hannah and Colin will continue their relationship? Will they be friends or more?
- How do you think modern-day slavery can be stopped? What can we do to prevent it? How can we help the victims? Did you feel motivated to act in some way? If so, what would you like to do?