April 2000's Author of the Month

Donna Jo Napoli
(Chosen by reviewer, Ashley Gamblin)

Inspiring Role Model

A Couple of Questions

Her Books


An Inspiring Role Model

If you are middle school age or a young adult and like to read contemporary or fanciful books, then there's a good chance you've heard of Donna Jo Napoli. She writes for ages 9-12, both for boys and girls, and young adults. Her young adult books are in a fairy tale style.

Donna Jo lives in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania, where she is a linguist and a writer of many children's books. Of her many books she has had published, most of them have had such good reputation that they have been reprinted. She has taught at many colleges and universities. Ms. Napoli has also held writing positions in Australia, Switzerland, and China. She has lectured in Australia, and South Africa. Some of the many awards she has won include: a Leeway foundation award in 1995, the New Jersey reading association award and many more. She has also contributed six of her poems to anthologies and co-edited four.

I have chosen Donna Jo Napoli as Author of the Month because I feel she is an excellent role model for all ages and her writing has been a tremendous inspiration to me.

You can find out more about her writings at her website.

Ashley Gamblin.

A Couple of Questions

AG:  What Advice do you have for young poets and writers?

 DJN:  Write all the time.  Keep a journal, write letters, write e-mail messages, write essays, write poems, write stories.  Write every single day.  And you'll get better and better.

AG:  Where do you get your inspirations for writing from?

DJN:  I just look around.  Anything that happens can set me off.  I watched a little boy stand at the top of the ladder of the sliding board and cry because he was afraid to go down, and that led me to thinking about childhood fears and how right they are, and I wrote WHEN THE WATER CLOSES OVER MY HEAD after that -- about a boy who's scared of drowning.  I don't take what I see or hear verbatim.  I let it tumble about in my head and then I form it into the story I want. I also think about stories that I know already, like folk tales, fairy tales, myths, religious stories -- and I aim for the spots that have inconsistencies or things that aren't explained.  Then I try to explain them.  It's fertile ground.

I'd like to thank Ms. Nopli for letting me ask her questions and for sending the books for to our contest.



Her Books

Buy Them at Amazon.com

Children Ages 9-12
The Hero of Barletta (1988)

Soccer Shock (1991)

When the Water Closes Over My Head  (1994)

Prince of the Pond (1992)

The Bravest Thing (1995)

Jimmy, the Pickpocket of the Palace  (1995)

Shark Shock (1995)

On Guard (1997)

Stones in Water (1997)

Trouble on the Tracks (1998)

Changing Tunes (1998)

Albert  (2000-Not Yet Published)


The Aladdin Angels Wings Series
(Illustrator Lauren Klementz-Harte)

Friends Everywhere # 1 (1999)
Little Creatures # 2  (1999)

On Her Own #3 (1999)

One Leap Forward #4 (1999)

Give and Take #5 (2000)

No Fair! #6 (2000)

April Flowers #7 (2000)

Playing Games #8 (2000)

Lies and Lemons  #9  (2000-Not Yet Published)

Running Away  #10  (2000)

Know-It-All #11 (2000-Not Yet Published)

New Voices #12 (2000)

Aladdin Angelwings #13  (2000-Not Yet Published)


Young Adult

The Magic Circle (1993)
Zel (1996)

Song of the Magdalene (1996)

Stones in the Water (1997)

For the Love of Venice (1998)

Sirena  (1998)

Spinners (1999)

Crazy Jack (1999)

Beast (2000)


Non-Fiction Titles

Predication Theory  (1989)
Bridges Between Psychology and Linguistics  (1992)

Syntax  (1993)

Linguistics (1996)

2000's Honorary List

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