Students Go Beyond The Page


Have you ever wanted to get inside the mind of an author to learn exactly how they come up with their imaginative and captivating books? Carle Place students and their families recently had the chance to do just that.

Cherry Lane Elementary School hosted an author/illustrator meet and greet night on May 13, featuring authors of children’s books.

Twenty-five Long Island authors were on hand to speak to fans, display their books and of course answer questions.

AuthorIllustrator_052015B“This meet and greet helps instill a love of reading in the children,” explained Cherry Lane principal Marilyn Manfredi. “It is a wonderful chance for them to see the face of the author behind their favorite books. It is so extraordinary because all of the authors are from Long Island.”

Extraordinary was a word that came to mind for many who met the youngest author on hand, 14-year-old Emma Iadanza who wrote her first book when she was just 10-years-old.

“I was watching a documentary about Pompeii when I decided to write a book,” the young author confidently states.

“She published her book just one year later, and is now working on her second novel,” said Jen Iadanza, her proud mother.

Family pride is the theme of author Maria LaPlaca Bohrer’s book about her family history. She says she loves meeting the children to encourage them to bring their own stories to light. “I just love to share my book,” said LaPlaca Bohrer. “It is a wonderful way to remind children to ask their families about their own special stories.”

AuthorIllustrator_052015CThat inspiration for story telling was the motivation for one of the parents to bring her second grader to the event. “I think it’s a great opportunity for them to hopefully encourage them to write also,” said Natalie Magurno, who brought her daughter Mikayla.

Educating the young is the goal of author Addie May Sanders. The retired school teacher has a teaching guide that accompanies her book to help students learn the craft of writing.

“Teachers use the book to help their students learn all sorts of great tools about writing. There is even space in the back for the children to put their own stories,” said Sanders.

Author Sandy Lanton has used her creativity for some teachable moments in some of the most difficult times in life such as the loss of a parent and dealing with a divorce.

“The ideas came up because of two incidents in my own life and I couldn’t find a book for young people so I wrote it myself,” Lanton explained.

Author and LICWI co-founder Brian Heinz
Author and LICWI co-founder Brian Heinz

Most authors in attendance at the event are members of a group called Long Island Children’s Writers and Illustrators. For more information on the members visit

One of the group’s founders, author Brian Heinz, says what is unique about L.I.C.W.I. is that you don’t need to be a published author to join. “All you need is to be serious about the craft and have a love of writing,” he said.

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