Daily VIP #70 - March 11, 2015
Alicia is a school librarian at Sacred Heart Academy in New Orleans. We've known each other for years and a couple of years ago, she brought me to her school as a visiting author. I had such a great time with all of the students, who really enjoyed my storytelling. Afterward, I signed books at their book fair.
Alicia is a staunch supporter of literacy and follows all the major hot topics in children's literature. She often visits Octavia Books, a New Orleans independent bookstore, attending author events, including mine.
Alicia is sweet, passionate about books, and fun to be around. She truly cares about the students at her school and strives to provide them with enrichment events that highlight literacy.
So today, I salute Alicia Schwarzenbach, a Very Important Person to me, to her family and friends, to her library at Sacred Heart Academy, and to the many students who visit her library every day. I light a candle for you, Alicia! #DailyVIP #VeryImportantPerson #VeryInspirationalPerson
Daily VIP #69 March 10, 2015 - Susan Taylor Brown
Susan and I met in 1994, when I was a mere 24 years old! I had just joined my local SCBWI in New Orleans and Susan was already a member. We bonded over the fact that we were both "Cali" girls. Susan was already an experienced writer and became one of my first writing mentors.
I've always known Susan as "The Girl Who Loved to Write." She is one of the most tenacious, fiercely determine writers I know. Susan was not going to stop until she had children's books published. I remember when her picture book, Oliver's Must Do List came out in 1999! Her book, Hugging the Rock, a middle grade novel in verse, moved me to tears.
Although Susan lived in New Orleans and wrote for the Times-Picayune for a time, she moved back to California. She is, after all, a true Cali girl. She is renovating a house she just moved into, where views from her front door overlook a gorgeous landscape of trees and nature.
Susan is creative, artistic, driven, and kind. She is a dog lover to the core and really loves nature.
So today, I salute Susan Taylor Brown, a Very Important Person to me, to her family and friends, to her community of writers, and to the readers of her wonderful books. I light a candle for you, Susan! #DailyVIP #VeryImportantPerson #VeryInspirationalPerson
Touring internationally, Award-Winning Author and Storyteller Dianne de Las Casas sizzles on stage with “revved-up storytelling.” Audiences don’t just listen – they sing, clap, dance, chant, and roar with laughter. De Las Casas adapts traditional folklore, adding fun audience participation, song, and of course, humor. A dramatic storyteller, she does not stay still! Through the use of character voices, creative movement, and animated facial expressions and gestures, she creates a world of fantasy and enchantment. Childhood travels around the world contributed to shaping her future as a storyteller. De Las Casas lived in the Philippines, Hawaii, Spain and traveled across Europe and the United States. A proud Filipina-American, she now resides in the New Orleans area. Her varied cultural experiences nourished her imagination, and she continues to draw on that knowledge, adding depth and richness to her tales.
A champion for literacy, she is founder of the international initiative, Picture Book Month, which celebrates picture books during the month of November. Picture Book Month was featured in Life Lift, The Oprah blog, among other media. De Las Casas is the author of several children’s picture books including The Cajun Cornbread Boy (Pelican Publishing; 2009), Madame Poulet & Monsieur Roach (Pelican Publishing, 2009), Mama’s Bayou (Pelican Publishing, 2010); The Gigantic Sweet Potato (Pelican Publishing, 2010), There’s A Dragon in the Library (Pelican Publishing, 2011), The House That Witchy Built (Pelican Publishing, 2011), Blue Frog: The Legend of Chocolate (Pelican Publishing, 2011) Dinosaur Mardi Gras (Pelican Publishing, 2012), and Beware, Beware of the Big Bad Bear (Pelican Publishing, 2012).
Her award-winning professional books for teachers and librarians include Story Fest: Crafting Story Theater Scripts (Teacher Ideas Press, 2005), Kamishibai Story Theater: The Art of Picture Telling (Teacher Ideas Press, 2006), Handmade Tales: Stories to Make and Take (Libraries Unlimited, 2008) Tangram Tales: Story Theater Using the Ancient Chinese Puzzle (Teacher Ideas Press; 2008), The Story Biz Handbook: How to Manage Your Storytelling Career from the Desk to the Stage (Libraries Unlimited, 2008), Scared Silly: 25 Tales to Tickle and Thrill (Libraries Unlimited, 2009), Stories on Board: Creating Board Games from Favorite Tales (Libraries Unlimited, 2010) Tell Along Tales: Playing with Participation Stories (Libraries Unlimited, 2011), A is for Alligator: Draw and Tell Tales from A-Z (Libraries Unlimited, 2011), Tales from the 7,000 Isles: Filipino Folk Stories (Libraries Unlimited, 2011) and Handmade Tales 2: More Stories to Make and Take (Libraries Unlimited, 2012).
Her storytelling CDs have won multiple parenting awards and have received rave reviewed. Booklist says, “De Las Casas' commanding voice, unique characterizations, emotive vocalizations, and creative methods of reaching out to her audience are most engaging.” Publishers Weekly hails de Las Casas brand of oral tales as as “revved-up storytelling.” She is a Louisiana State Roster Artist, a Louisiana Touring Directory Artist, and a Mississippi Arts Education Demonstration Roster Artist.
She performs arts-in-education programs and residencies at schools, libraries, festivals, museums, and special events. Interviewed by the Wall Street Journal and many other media outlets, de Las Casas is a sought-after international professional development workshop leader. She is a frequent presenter at IRA, ALA, AASL and other literacy and education conferences. An enthusiastic advocate of literacy and arts-in-education programming, Dianne de Las Casas continues to make the story connection with thousands of children every year, reaching and teaching through the wonder of stories.
- University of New Orleans
- West Jefferson High School, Harvey, Louisiana
- Lemoore High School, Lemoore, California
- Akers Junior High, Lemoore, California
- David Glaskow Farragut Elementary, Rota Spain
- Eva Beach Elementary, Eva Beach, Hawaii
- Kid Chef ElianaManager, 2008 - presentManager of Kid Chef Eliana, a 13 year old cookbook author, radio show host, and celebrity chef.
- Picture Book MonthFounder, 2011 - present
- Award-Winning Author & Storyteller1996 - present