Teacher Appreciation Week

This is a book I wrote in elementary school. The definitive sequel to Julie of the Wolves, in which the main character travels to San Francisco to live with her pen-pal. Why yes, I did the cover art myself! Don’t you think the dress made out of white-out is a nice touch?cover

My fourth grade teacher really earned this dedication (and not just for saving his laughter for the teacher lounge!)


Finally, the “About the Author” page.

about the author

(As it turns out, I am much better suited to be a writer than a marine biologist.) —Melanie Crowder

I was very fortunate to have teachers from an early age who encouraged my writing. Mrs. Wandschneider told me to keep writing when I was in fourth grade. In fifth grade, Mr. Holm laughed so hard at one of my poems that he cried. In seventh grade, Mrs. Mueller said something I wrote gave her chills. And, in high school, Mr. Harrell relentlessly pushed me to get better and Mrs. Veidemanis had me read Nora Ephron for inspiration. Thanks to them, I always saw myself as a writer, which made all the difference. —Pat Zietlow Miller

I had so many great teachers, I really don’t want to pick just one. Instead, I’d like to say thank you to each and every one of them. I was always a rule follower who loved school, but I’m still sure it wasn’t easy teaching the shy little know-it-all hiding in the back reading the paperback tucked inside her textbook. These days, my son has a favorite teacher from an earlier grade whom he still talks about nearly every week. In his words, she is the best teacher ever, because, he says, “She never told us what to do, she just inspired us to do it.” Not an easy feat to pull off, but such a lofty goal for all of us to aspire to, I think. —Laurie Ann Thompson

Most of my teachers were outstanding, The rest get to have a villain named after them in my novels. But seriously, having been a teachers’ aide, I can tell you firsthand that teachers are *way* under-compensated for their work and that they deserve those summers off (even though most of them continue working or furthering their education over the summer). —Carol Brendler

My favorite teacher was Cookie Schneiderman, although I never dared call her “Cookie”. I couldn’t figure out WHY her name was Cookie, but I thought it was pretty awesome and I wanted to change my name to Cookie, too!

Mrs. Schneiderman just happened to be my neighbor–our backyards shared a common wooded space. All my third grade classmates thought I snuck over there to steal test answers, but I was invited over for milk and cookies (real cookies) and chats about books and writing.

I admit, I was the teacher’s pet. It was obvious from the first day of school when she asked me to help pass out name tags. The other kids rolled their eyes and coughed “pet”, but I thought it was a privilege to be the teacher’s favorite. I strove to impress her.

Unfortunately I don’t recall exactly what she told me about writing, but she encouraged me and didn’t laugh when I said I wanted to be like Roald Dahl and Judy Blume. She let me write extra-long stories when the assignments were only 100 words–she knew I wanted to go further.

I’ve been trying to get in touch with Mrs, Schneiderman, but so far no luck. Are you out there, Cookie? Let’s get together for milk and chocolate chip. —Tara Lazar (nee Mahon)

From elementary school through college, I had so many teachers who encouraged my writing that I feel bad singling out just one! But I would like to share my appreciation for my 9th-grade English teacher, Lois Bassen. She was a published and produced playwright, and probably the first adult I’d ever met who was a serious writer. I still remember the big creative writing assignment she gave us for the year: write a fairy tale and then use the ideas of psychologist Bruno Bettelheim to analyze it. It was a revelation to think that something I wrote might be as worthy of close reading and analysis as classic Greek myths and great European novels (which Mrs. Bassen did a great job of teaching us, too). That class was the place where I started to realize that becoming a published author wasn’t necessarily a pipe dream, but something that hard-working real people could accomplish. —Tara Dairman

…and to round it out, Laurie wrote an entire post on the topic here!


Melanie Crowder Author PhotoMelanie Crowder graduated in 2011 with an MFA in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She is the author of the forthcoming middle grade novel, PARCHED (Harcourt Children’s Books, 2013). A West Coast girl at heart, Melanie now lives and writes in the beautiful (if dry) state of Colorado.

Visit her online at melaniecrowder.net.

1 Comment

Filed under Education, Thankfulness

One response to “Teacher Appreciation Week

  1. I laughed out loud at that cover with the white out. I had a great mentor in college–Chicago writer, Leon Forrest, who unfortunately passed away.


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