I left behind a successful career in corporate America to follow my heart into education. It was a bold choice for a second career. But after nearly 2,700 fond memories of middle school students, I earned my street cred as a seventh grade English language arts teacher who could teach writing.
My first work of fiction was born from the realization that what kids take away from our classroom has very little to do with our lesson plans and everything to do with the connection, or disconnect, they feel. “Heroes Don’t Always Wear Capes” is a search for an inspiring teacher for a student who needs a hero. It’s why this book makes the gift-giving list every year for the perfect teacher appreciation gift. Kids love it too for many different reasons – they get a preview of what lies ahead in this coming-of-age tale spanning all grade levels.
Additionally, I have never forgotten my seventh-grade students who did not have an early love for reading. I get it – I was that kid too. Mischief Series is for reluctant readers and bookworms alike, with an adventure being compared to Tom Sawyer and Dennis the Menace rolled into one delicious character. We follow these fresh voices from fifth through eighth grades, hoping that by the end of the pulse-racing, plot-filled pages, the greatest lesson of all will be learned – empathy.
Because I am one of those 45 million adult children who answered the call to return home to care for an elderly parent, I initially wrote about the experience for friends who wanted to better prepare. It became my second novel for those Boomers also grappling with this same question of how to care for Mom or Dad when they can no longer care for themselves – non-fiction “9 Realities of Caring for an Elderly Parent: A Love Story of a Different Kind.” Written in the form of a sweeping novel, you will either feel lucky this is not your situation, or empathize deeply when you have finally turned that last page.
From my middle-grade fiction and non-fiction for adults, I have enjoyed many public speaking opportunities. Sitting in the booth for interviews on major SF radio powerhouse shows with Michael Krasny/KQED or Ronn Owens/KGO was incredible. I love to rev up tired teachers with a little motivational speaking for mid-year re-boots to the staff. But some of my greatest delights have been speaking to my teacher tribes at national education conferences – particularly ECET2, Elevating and Celebrating Effective Teachers and Teaching presented by the Gates Ed Foundation.
I often think of my third-grade teacher who helped me discover my writing potential – and I’ve never forgotten that on the path to success, there is always a teacher to thank.
Contact Stefania to find out more about her latest books. She proudly offers her books for eager readers throughout the nation.