Hi. This is David, and here’s a little of my story. When I was growing up, I loved to take things apart to see how they worked. Sometimes I could put them back together again. But not always. So how did I become a writer? I wonder about that myself. When I was in first grade I wanted to be a dairy farmer and milk cows. Then, when I got older, I thought for sure I’d be a scientist or an engineer. Being a writer never entered my mind until I had children of my own and started to read a lot of books to them. I also never imagined that I would live anywhere but New York City, because that’s where I grew up. But instead, since 1970, I’ve lived in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont. No kidding. That’s what they call this area.
My most recent books are, Let’s Have A Tree Party, illustrated by John Manders, and Little Bunny And The Magic Christmas Tree, illustrated by Valeri Gorbachev. Valeri also illustrated my picture book, All For Pie, Pie For All. You can read more about these and my other books in the My Works section of the website. Let’s Have a Tree Party, by the way, started off as a song. And so did We’ve All Got Bellybuttons. The books are quite a bit different from the songs, but the songs got them started. I’m happy to say that Little Bunny and the Magic Christmas Tree and several of my other books have won Oppenheim Toy Portfolio platinum or gold awards or Parent’s Choice awards. This is very nice, but even better are the notes I get about my books from parents and children. You can write to me if you want through a Face book page attached to this website.
Often, when I visit schools or libraries someone asks me which of my books is my favorite. I have a hard time picking any kind of favorites – colors, ice cream, songs - anything. But of all I’ve written, I can say that my favorite sentence is “I see a pin.” Those four words were what made my very easy to read, hand made book, Balloons so popular with the first graders I was teaching that they wanted to read it over and over again. Why? Because when a pin shows up in a story about balloons, you know something mischievous is going to happen. Balloons was the spark that started the Candlewick Press Brand New Reader series: books that have set many children on the road to becoming good readers. But you won’t find a story by me called Balloons because it became Pop, Pop, Pop, Pop, Pop and the line, “I see a pin.” became “Monkey sees pin.”
If you’re wondering why we called the series Brand New Readers, it’s because they are for children who are in fact brand new readers and are just ready to begin reading on their own. According to Lucy Calkins, professor of curriculum and teaching at Teacher’s College, Columbia University, “The Brand New Readers series is one of the best out there to motivate new readers.” You can see these books in the My Works section, and you can go to brandnewreaders.com to see the ones that other authors have written.
Okay, here’s one more thing about me and my writing. There are many reasons to have animal characters instead of people in picture books, but here’s mine. If I have a person in my story, the illustration is always going to show what race and what color that person is. This raises a lot of issues, some of which have to do with marketing, but which have nothing to do with the story. So I use animals. Then the stories can be for everyone, and that, of course, is what I want.
Along with writing, I also taught for 18 years: special ed, 4th and 7th grades and Reading Recovery® and Title 1 with first graders. Then, for several years, I was an early literacy specialist for the Vermont Dept. of Ed. Before all that, I began to raise a family and worked mostly as a carpenter. Nowadays, to stay in touch with the children I write for, I visit schools and libraries, lead writing residencies in elementary schools, am a member of the Dogshark Theater, and play with my four grandchildren. I also conduct literacy workshops for parents, teachers and librarians and have presented at the International Reading Association and National Council of Teachers of English conferences. For fun, and along with many other things, I like to do sculpture and drawings – you can see some of it on facebook.
Please visit me on facebook at www.facebook.com/David.Martin.Author