I was invited to give a talk about Joan and her diary Home Front Girl at the Schaumburg Township District Library in Illinois, part of the greater Chicago area. My mom grew up in Chicago, so I was thrilled to be able to share her story with natives of the area.
I was so pleased that my own book group with dear friends chose Home Front Girl as its inaugural book! Thank you, ladies! Hugs!
In the cozy home of our dear friend, Beth Hudson.
If you would like to join this wonderful organization and attend its biennial conference, please look here.
I love working with students of all ages on topics ranging from the medieval to World War II and Joan’s diary. While I teach college students, I’ve done workshops with teens and elementary kids as well. In February 2014, I participated in the Young Writers’ Workshop at Travis Heights Elementary School . My workshop was called “Take a step back in time….But beware! Watch where you step! Ogres, dragons, and evil knights await!” Here is a description–and some photos of the kids writing and illustrating their own medieval stories.
Did you know the authors of the Narnia series and The Hobbit/The Lord of the Rings were professors of medieval literature at Oxford University in England? Did you know Albus Dumbledore in the Harry Potter series is based on the magician Merlin from the tales of King Arthur and Queen Guinevere? In fact, some of the most beloved children’s and young adult literature written in the past 100 years is set in the Middle Ages or has medieval themes. Some of the greatest literature ever written takes place in a time in the past. How do you include historical details? Why is that so important? After a brief introduction to the many tales taking place in the Middle Ages or containing medieval subjects, participants in the workshop will write their own stories festooned with castle, armor, swords, towers, dragons, and magic. Make the Middle Ages come alive!
The Morristown, NJ Daily Record covered my talk on Thursday October 10 at The Morristown and Morris Township Public Library, Morristown, New Jersey–which was sponsored by the New Jersey Chapter of the National Society of Arts and Letters and its President, Judy Martorelli. Lorraine Ash did a beautiful job in her article. I was especially excited because this is my hometown library where I have spent many, many days. Joan lived in Morristown for over 50 years! Here is the original announcement about this event.
Here are some photos from the talk.
In October 2013, I visited a wonderful book club in Morristown, New Jersey. The event was organized by my dear elementary, junior and high school pal, Beth Carroll. There was great food and wonderful conversation! We discussed Joan’s book and I felt like everyone there was a “kindred spirit.”
I returned to the National World War II Museum in New Orleans on Thursday, June 13 at noon for a signing!
Here’s my mom’s book, Home Front Girl, front and center on the bookstore bookshelf!
Barnes & Noble Arbortetum, May 25, 2013. I met lots of nice people and heard amazing stories about WWII!
“After Harry Potter: A Reading and Workshop on Publishing Children’s and YA [Young Adult] Literature,” Swarthmore College, April 5, 2013. It consisted of readings, Q & A, student input, and signings. Here is an article about it from the Swarthmore Bulletin. Josh Green, Hawaii State Senator, read from The Idea Man, I read from Home Front Girl, and prolific and award-winning Donna Jo Napoli, Professor of Linguistics at Swarthmore, read from The Wager.
You can read more about this event here.
The University of Chicago Laboratory Schools on Monday March 11, 2012
February 12, 2013
Wednesday · 12:00-1:00 pm · Location: ASBN 353 at Texas State University – San Marcos
“Home Front Girl: Global War before the Internet”
Brown Bag Lecture Sponsored by the Center for International Studies
February 7, 2013: “Bubbling with Personality”
Books & Beyond, RLTV. This link shows you a two minute video clip from that interview.
February 2, 2013
AAUW Kerrville, TX
Chris Bradley in the AAUWsome News, Kerrville, Texas Branch AAUW Newsletter writes: “This is a touching, important book.”
November 28, 2012: BookPeople, Austin, TX
This event was so super! Very festive, with about 70 people gathered. We held a raffle and some lucky folks won a diary (to start keeping their own journal) and a CD burned by my own daughter, Sarah Kilfoyle, with music that Joan mentions in the Home Front Girl.
Other excitement: it was filmed by the RLTV cable station. They are a cable station focused on people over 50 years old. I’ll let you know once the filming is available for viewing. It makes sense that the Retirement Living cable station would be drawn to this book. Numerous people during the signing wanted copies for aging or elderly family members. As one review suggests, the book would be useful for inter-generational discussion and dialogue.
Also, the most wonderful thing of all–the son of one of my mother’s many boyfriends in the book came to the reading! He and his family –and the widow of my mom’s boyfriend — are thrilled to have this little chapter of their dad’s and husband’s life available. Bill Knisely is the handsome beau in the book. He is so smart, it makes my mom realize she should be hanging out with more people like him.
As she writes on Sunday December 14, 1941, one week after the bombing at Pearl Harbor, “Somehow you never realize the brilliant people who go to the U—the ones who spend years in a Chem. Lab. and get Phi Kapp keys and finally discover something wonderful, who never go to the Coffee Shop, really exist and have girls and friends and go to plays and drink, etc. Maybe you wonder who they do it with. Now I know . . .” She and Bill go to a theatrical performance of the novel Native Son. “We were in the midst of a red-light district in the play and I didn’t understand and had to come out in a loud clear voice, “Where is he?” and then Bill had to explain. Oh me.”
Here are some photos of the reading at BookPeople, taken by our dear friend and photo maven, Peter Brancaccio. Thanks, Pete!
 Phi Beta Kappa keys—the symbol of the honor society.