Beyond the Book: Background information when reading Willow Run

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Willow Run

by Patricia Reilly Giff

Willow Run by Patricia Reilly Giff
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  • First Published:
    Sep 2005, 160 pages
    Paperback:
    Feb 2007, 176 pages

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As a child, Patricia Reilly Giff's favorite books included Little Women, The Secret Garden, the Black Stallion books, the Sue Barton books, and the Nancy Drew series. She loved reading so much that while growing up, her sister had to grab books out of her hands to get her to pay attention to her; later; her three children often found themselves doing the same thing. As a reading teacher for 20 years, the educational consultant for Dell Yearling and Young Yearling books, an adviser and instructor to aspiring writers, and the author of more than 60 books for children, Patricia Reilly Giff has spent her entire life surrounded by books.

After earning a B.A. degree from Marymount College, she took the advice of the school's dean and decided to become a teacher. She admits, "I loved teaching. It was my world. I only left because I was overwhelmed with three careers - teaching, writing, and my family."

During the 20 years of her teaching career, she earned an M.A. from St. John's University, and a Professional Diploma in Reading and a Doctorate of Humane Letters from Hofstra University. Then one morning, she told her husband Jim, "I'm going to write a book. I've always wanted to write and now I shall." Jim worked quickly to combine two adjacent closets in their apartment into one cramped workspace and, as Giff jokes, she "began [her] career in a closet."

Giff explains, "I want the children to bubble up with laughter, or to cry over my books. I want to picture them under a cherry tree or at the library with my book in their hands. But more, I want to see them reading in the classroom. I want to see children in solitude at their desks, reading, absorbing, lost in a book."

This article is from the February 21, 2007 issue of BookBrowse Recommends. Click here to go to this issue.

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