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Betsy Franco Biography - Personal, Addresses, Career, Writings, Sidelights

york illustrated scholastic books

Education: Stanford University, B.A.; Lesley College, M.Ed.

Addresses

Office—P.O. Box 60487, Palo Alto, CA 94306.

Career

Writer and editor for children and adults; creator of educational materials.

Writings

Japan, illustrated by Jo Supancich, Evan-Moor, 1993.

Mexico, illustrated by Jo Supancich, Evan-Moor, 1993.

Russia, illustrated by Jo Supancich, Evan-Moor, 1993.

India, illustrated by Jo Supancich, Evan-Moor, 1994.

Nigeria, illustrated by Jo Supancich, Evan-Moor, 1994.

China, illustrated by Jo Supancich, Evan-Moor, 1994.

Brazil, illustrated by Cheryl Kirk Noll, Evan-Moor, 1995.

South Korea, illustrated by Cheryl Kirk Noll, Evan-Moor, 1995.

Italy, illustrated by Susan O'Neill, Evan-Moor, 1995.

Quiet Elegance: Japan through the Eyes of Nine American Artists, Charles E. Tuttle (Boston, MA), 1997.

Sorting All Sorts of Socks, illustrated by Sheila Lucas, Creative Publications (Mountain View, CA), 1997.

Fourscore and Seven, Good Year Books (Glenview, IL), 1999.

Grandpa's Quilt, illustrated by Linda A. Bild, Children's Press (New York, NY), 1999.

Write and Read Math Story Books, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1999.

Unfolding Mathematics with Unit Origami, Key Curriculum, 1999.

Shells, illustrated by Kristin Sorra, Children's Press (New York, NY), 2000.

Why the Frog Has Big Eyes, illustrated by Joung Un Kim, Harcourt, Brace (San Diego, CA), 2000.

Caring, Sharing, and Getting Along, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2000.

Thematic Poetry: On the Farm, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2000.

Twenty Marvelous Math Tales, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2000.

Thematic Poetry: Neighborhoods and Communities, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2000.

Thematic Poetry: Creepy Crawlies, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2000.

201 Thematic Riddle Poems to Build Literacy, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2000.

Thematic Poetry: All About Me!, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2000.

The Tortoise Who Bragged: A Chinese Tale with Trigrams, illustrated by Ann-Marie Perks, Stokes Publishing (Sunnyvale, CA), 2000.

My Pinkie Finger, illustrated by Margeaux Lucas, Children's Press (New York, NY), 2001.

Instant Poetry Frames for Primary Poets, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2001.

Fifteen Wonderful Writing Prompt Mini-Books, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2001.

Clever Calculator Cat, illustrated by Ann-Marie Perks, Stokes Publishing (Sunnyvale, CA), 2001.

Funny Fairy Tale Math, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2001.

Thematic Poetry: Transportation, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2001.

Clever Calculations about Cats and Other Cool Creatures (teacher resource book), Stokes Publishing (Sunnyvale, CA), 2001.

Adding Alligators and Other Easy-to-Read Math Stories, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2001.

Five-Minute Math Problem of the Day for Young Learners, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2001.

Twelve Genre Mini-Books, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2002.

Instant Math Practice Pages for Homework—or Anytime!, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2002.

Six Silly Seals and Other Read-Aloud Story Skits, Teaching Resources, 2002.

Amazing Animals, illustrated by Jesse Reisch, Children's Press (New York, NY), 2002.

Pocket Poetry Mini-Books, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2002.

Silly Sally, illustrated by Stacey Lamb, Children's Press (New York, NY), 2002.

Jake's Cake Mistake, illustrated by Paul Harvey, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2002.

(With Claudine Jellison and Johanna Kaufman) Subtraction Fun, Pebble Books, 2002.

(With Denise Dauler) Math in Motion: Wiggle, Gallop, and Leap with Numbers, Creative Teaching Press, 2002.

Many Ways to 100, Yellow Umbrella Books (Mankato, MN), 2002.

A Bat Named Pat, illustrated by Bari Weissman, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2002.

Subtraction Fun, Yellow Umbrella Books (Mankato, MN), 2002.

Time to Estimate, Yellow Umbrella Books (Mankato, MN), 2002.

Marvelous Math Word Problem Mini-Books, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2002.

What's Zero?, Yellow Umbrella Books (Mankato, MN), 2002.

Going to Grandma's Farm, illustrated by Claudia Rueda, Children's Press (New York, NY), 2003.

Word Families: Guess-Me Poems and Puzzles, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2003.

Mathematickles!, illustrated by Steven Salerno, Margaret K. McElderry Books (New York, NY), 2003.

Amoeba Hop, illustrated by Christine Lavin, Puddle Jump Press, 2003.

Alphabet: Guess-Me Poems and Puzzles, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2003.

Counting Our Way to the 100th Day!: 100 Poems and 100 Pictures to Celebrate the 100th Day of School, illustrated by Steven Salerno, Margaret K. McElderry Books (New York, NY), 2004.

EDITOR

You Hear Me?: Poems and Writing by Teenage Boys, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2000.

Things I Have to Tell You: Poems and Writing by Teenage Girls, photographs by Nina Nickles, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2001.

(With Annette Ochoa and Traci Gourdine) Night Is Gone, Day Is Still Coming: Stories and Poems by American Indian Teenagers and Young Adults, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2003.

Author of numerous workbooks, easy level readers, easy mathematics resource books, and science resource books.

Sidelights

Betsy Franco's many projects for children range widely across the educational and entertainment spectrums. Franco has written easy level readers for use in schools, mathematics books that rely on games and projects to teach basic skills, and picture books for reading out loud. She has also become known as the editor of three important anthologies of poetry by teenagers: You Hear Me?: Poems and Writing by Teenage Boys; Things I have to Tell You: Poems and Writing by Teenage Girls; and Night Is Gone, Day Is Still Coming: Stories and Poems by American Indian Teenagers and Young Adults. In these books, the authentic voices of American teens describe what it feels like to be young today.

Franco studied to be a fine artist, and she still loves to paint. When her children were born, however, she realized that she could not spare the time for her visual art, so she decided to try creative writing. One of her favorite challenges is making math fun for children. In books such as Clever Calculator Cat and Many Ways to 100, students sharpen math skills through activities and riddles. Mathematickles! uses the common math signs such as plus, minus, and parentheses in word poems about the seasons and the outdoor world. A Publishers Weekly critic praised Mathematickles! as a "nimble brain teaser" that "elevates basic mathematical concepts plus wordplay to the level of inspiration."

Inspired by her own teenage sons, Franco decided to solicit poetry from young men for inclusion in an anthology. Skeptics warned that she would not receive enough submissions from teenage boys to fill a book, but she soon had attracted more manuscripts than she could use. You Hear Me?: Poems and Writings by Teenage Boys contains frank and honest poetry on every subject of importance to young men, from homosexuality and dating to self-image, family and neighborhood issues, aspirations, and creativity—all written by teenagers. Sharon Korbeck in School Library Journal called the book "a fresh approach to hearing what today's youths have to say." Booklist correspondent Hazel Rochman found the poems to have "more urgency than many YA novels." She concluded: "Many teens will recognize their search for themselves."

Things I Have to Tell You and Night Is Gone, Day Is Still Coming collect the poetry of teenage girls and teenage Native Americans respectively. Both books have received the same warm reviews that greeted You Hear Me? A Horn Book reviewer wrote of Things I Have to Tell You: "Varying in tone, style, and degree of polish, the entries … convey moments of strength and weakness, of anger, fear, and joy, commanding our attention from beginning to end." In her School Library Journal review of Night Is Gone, Day Is Still Coming, Sharon Korbek observed: "Whether they feel oppressed, cheated, or inspired, these young people write from the depths of their souls."

In an interview with Teenreads, Franco had some advice for aspiring authors. "You have things to say that no one else can say," she commented. "Just don't give up. Half of being a writer is being stubborn and believing in yourself, not so much in a self-esteem way, but knowing you have something to say…. In my case, I found I had to write all kinds of different types of books to make a living, from poetry to nonfiction, from adults to young children. Work very hard."

In her anthology, Franco gathers more than seventy poems and essays composed by teenage boys from various backgrounds about issues that trouble and uplift them most.

Biographical and Critical Sources

PERIODICALS

Booklist, October 1, 2000, Hazel Rochman, review of You Hear Me?: Poems and Writings by Teenage Boys, p. 330.

Horn Book, May, 2001, review of Things I Have to Tell You: Poems and Writing by Teenage Girls, p. 343; July-August, 2003, Susan Dove Lempke, review of Mathematickles!, p. 472.

Publishers Weekly, June 16, 2003, review of Mathematickles!, p. 70.

School Library Journal, October, 2000, Sharon Korbeck, review of You Hear Me?, p. 183; May, 2001, Sharon Korbeck, review of Things I Have to Tell You: Poems and Writing by Teenage Girls, p. 164; August, 2003, Sharon Korbeck, review of Night Is Gone, Day Is Still Coming: Stories and Poems by American Indian Teens and Young Adults, p. 184.

ONLINE

Betsy Franco Home Page, http://www.betsyfranco.com/ (December 12, 2003), author's home page.

Candlewick Press, http://www.candlewick.com/ (December 12, 2003), "Betsy Franco."

Teenreads, http://www.teenreads.com/ (December 12, 2003), interviews with Franco.*

User Comments

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almost 7 years ago

Dear Ms. Franco,



I am working with high school teachers as part of a Dept. of Ed. funded study to learn more about adolescent literacy and how to help students increase their level of metacognition and strategy use when they read.



I love your book "You Hear Me" and so do students. We have run into some issues with school districts related to the profanity in several of the poems - with the bottom line being that the books are being pulled out of the curriculum. Do you have any time to talk about how we might be able to reprint or somehow provide access to a sub-set of poems? I would love to come up with a win-win solution for everyone, especially the students who are moved and engaged by these student voices.



My phone number is 410-935-0077 and my email is cdaniels@successforall.org.



Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Regards,

Ceil Daniels

Director, Secondary Programs

Success for All Foundation, Inc.

successforall.org