Seeking Answers: The True Story of the Ending of Enslavement in America
*Great for Black History Month and in conjunction with Civil War curriculum!
On the night Virginia seceded from the Union, three enslaved men approached Union-held Fortress Monroe. Knowing that Virginia's secession meant they would be separated from their families and sent farther south to work for the Confederacy, the men decided to plead for sanctuary. And they were in luck. The fort's commander, Benjamin Butler, retained them--and many more that followed--by calling them "contraband of war." Butler depended on the contrabands to provide information about the Confederates. He found the perfect partner in George Scott, one of the contrabands, whose heroism saved the fort from enemy hands. And, it was the plight of the contrabands that convinced President Lincoln that slavery MUST be abolished and inspired him to write his Emancipation Proclamation, ending slavery in the rebellious states.
Selene discusses her latest book, SEEKING FREEDOM: THE UNTOLD STORY OF FORTRESS MONROE AND THE ENDING OF SLAVERY IN AMERICA, and the writing and researching process behind it.
Heroes, Villains, Humans: Why the People in the American Revolution Were Just Like Us
*Great in conjunction with American Revolution curriculum, or as an introduction to the subject! This is also perfect for historical organizations, libraries and museums!
It happened a long time ago, but the American Revolution is easily relatable when we look at the people of the revolution and their motives. We have inventions and technology they lacked, but inside we're the same. What's in our hearts never changes.We will look at the characters and motives of:
George Washington: A man who would not give up. Suffering loss upon loss, he continually found ways to save his army--and ultimately, against all odds-- win the war. We would not be a country without the amazing George Washington.
The Marquis de Lafayette: A teenager who defied the French king to cross the ocean and fight for us--even though we didn't even want him! Ultimately, he brought the French in to help us, and he was responsible for the culminating confrontation of the revolution: The Battle of Yorktown.
Alexander Hamilton: He's become an icon on Broadway, but there's more to learn about him! We'll explore his up and down relationship with Washington, and learn about things the play doesn't cover.
The Culper Spy Ring: These unsung heroes were responsible for getting Washington the information he needed! Why did they do it?
Benjamin Tallmadge: The most important person you never heard of. Not only the organizer of the Culper Spy Ring, but the man who realized that Benedict Arnold was a traitor. And so much more! We can learn so much about humanity and ourselves through the virtues and actions of this man.
Benedict Arnold: Possibly the most fascinating person in the revolution, because we continue to debate: How did our greatest soldier become our most notorious traitor? A hero and villain wrapped up in one body, Benedict Arnold is a case study in what defines humanity, and why we choose to be good or bad.John André: Why did all of the Americans cry when this British major was hanged as a spy? The co-conspirator of Benedict Arnold is a tragic figure of the American Revolution, and an example of how our desires can lead to our downfall.
NEW: Our Founding Mothers-- Included in this presentation, or in their own stand-alone presentation! (see below)
Audiences walk away with a new appreciation and deep understanding of the humanity inside the American Revolution--and they relate with our history evermore.
History's Heroines: The Surprising Truths About Our Founding Mothers
*Great for Women's History Month!
* May be tailored for younger readers!
Many women helped shape a free and independent United States of America. They are known as the Founding Mothers. These smart, brave women were ambassadors, fostering peace between Native Americans and Europeans. They risked their lives by writing, printing, and distributing information about the fight for independence. They supported their husbands during battle and even donned disguises to join the army. They were all key in shaping the America of today. This gripping presention tells their story.
This is Tap: A Look at Savion Glover and the Art of Tap Dancing
*Perfect for young readers!
Selene's latest book, illustrated by Laura Freeman, is both a picture book biography of legendary hoofer Savion Glover and a celebration of tap dancing! Selene's lively presentation combines both aspects into a school visit to remember.
George Washington’s Spies!
*Great for mustering enthusiasm about American history!
George Washington couldn't outfight the British, so he needed to out-spy them! Author and historian Selene Castrovilla brings history to life with her program about George Washington's Culper Spy Ring. Selene shares how she came upon these true stories, and why she felt compelled to write about them. Using passages from her award-winning nonfiction picture books about the Revolutionary War, Selene demonstrates how the citizens who gave their all to save their country are just like us. What's in our hearts never changes.
A New Look at George Washington
*Great for Presidents' Day, Memorial Day,
and American Revolution anniversaries/commemorations!
*Great for American Revolution curriculum tie-ins!
We hear the same old legends about the father of our country. But there’s so much to know about this incredible man! Award-winning children's books author and American Revolution historian Selene Castrovilla has spent twenty years researching and writing about George Washington, and she shares astounding, humanizing facts with your students.
—Defeated at the first battle of our revolution, Washington managed to retreat every one of his soldiers across the East River to safety. 10,000 men in ten small boats, in one night!
—Without enough men to outfight the British, Washington found another path to victory: he outspied them!
--George Washington's remarkable father-son relationship with teen Frenchman Lafayette saved the American Revolution when Lafayette convinced his country to join our fight!
—Washington stopped his officers from turning against him, taking over the country and ending democracy by putting on a pair of spectacles.
Keep an eye out for Selene's new book:
George Washington's Spectacular Spectacles: The Glasses That Saved America
Selene Castrovilla brings George Washington to life for audiences, and shows how we would not be a country without him.
Civil Rights in America
*Great for middle school!
Selene is the author of six Scholastic books on civil rights: 1960, 1954, 1951, 1948, 1970 and 1972.
Learn about the civil rights leaders in each year, and how they shaped America! Selene will bring a unique and captivating perspective to your students.
The Writing Journey
*Great for adults!
“Begin at the beginning and go on till you come to the end; then stop.”-Lewis Carroll
Have you had a story idea gnawing in your brain?
Are you hankering to share your personal experiences?
When reading, do you feel inspired to create your own book?
You’ve always wanted to write. What’s holding you back?
We have many reasons for wanting to write, but there’s one basic reason why most of us don’t: fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of inability, fear of failure.
Award-winning author Selene Castrovilla has been there. She knew she was a writer since she could hold a pencil, and yet she let her fears keep her from writing until she was in her thirties.
Selene will rip through your fear in this workshop designed to inspire and motivate you to begin writing your manuscript—and keep you writing until you come to “the end".
Writing the Young Adult Novel
*Great for adults and teens!
Coming of age is one of the most exciting topics in young adult literature.
What happens to us in our teen years defines us for life, and putting this on the page effectively has resulted in some of our most compelling literature. Consider The Catcher in the Rye, The Member of the Wedding, The Lord of the Flies, The Outsiders…the list of breathtaking young adult literature is long.
Award-winning author Selene Castrovilla delves in to passages from iconic young adult novels and discusses what makes them so powerful.
After looking at voice, sensory details, characterization, setting and pacing, Selene will guide you through writing exercises designed to kick-start your very own young adult novel.
A Writer’s Life
*Great for organizations and libraries!
A look inside the life and career of award-winning author and mom Selene Castrovilla.
Selene explains how she always knew she was a writer from when she held a pencil -- and she ultimately followed her passion to publish ten award-winning books.
She discusses the steps she took to become a writer, as well as how she got her first book published. She also reveals her writing process, including how she gets her ideas. She'll talk about her writing day, how she continues to publish books, why she chooses certain topics and how the publishing industry works: from idea to printed book.
Audiences will walk away with a firm concept of how to pursue a career in writing -- or even just write a book for fun. They will be inspired by Selene's passion for her work. They will realize that authors are regular people who had a dream -- and then followed though with it.
*Great for school visits! Tailored to grade levels.
Where do story ideas come from?
This is the starting point of your adventure with award-winning author Selene Castrovilla.
With an MFA in Creative Writing and many books to her credit, Selene has the knowledge, experience and passion to inspire and engage young people.
Selene works with your students in assemblies, classes, small groups and even one-on-one. She will tailor a theme and goal. Available for one or multiple days.
Some topics Selene covers:
the power of the perfect word
-coming to our "senses"
-mighty metaphors and striking similes
-emotions in motion
-ready for revision
-a done deal
Students will relish the creative process. They will head home brimming with ideas -- and the ability to see them through.
My Life and Career as a Teen Author
*Great for teens!
Meet author Selene Castrovilla, author of ten books including four teen novels. When she was growing up she knew she was a writer -- but she lacked the confidence to pursue a literary career for many years.
It is Selene's mission to show young adults that they CAN be writers -- or anything the want to be!
Selene will talk about her journey towards publication, her daily writing routine, where she gets her ideas and more. She will discuss her writing process and give specific tips.
Audiences will walk away inspired to define and live their dreams.
Teen Writing Residency
*Great for teens!
Award-winning teen author Selene Castrovilla works with students to analyze and revise their current creative works and invent new ones.
Using skills developed through her own successful writing as well as her MFA Creative Writing program teachers (including Jacqueline Woodson), Selene takes the fear out of writing, replacing it with joy.
Students walk away with improved writing skills and the desire to implement them.
This program may be one day, or expanded over several days. Selene will present one assembly, and work with classes, small groups or even one on one throughout the day.
PARP Kick-Off Family Night
*Great for PARP school visits!
Kick off your PARP program with a family night! Award-winning author Selene Castrovilla shares from her exciting nonfiction books (yes, nonfiction CAN be exciting!) about the Revolutionary War. She'll discuss how she went from a PTA mom to a published author (even though she remained a PTA mom until her sons graduated from high school).
She'll also reveal she incredible,little-known stories about the people who fought for our freedom.
Plenty of time for questions, too!
Your students and their parents will be excited to get started with PARP after this fun and informative evening
Zoom and in-person
for all ages
Book yours today!
"Selene is a passionate, engaging author and presenter known for her gripping YA, and informative historical based picture books. She has been referenced by the great Jackie Woodson as, 'A writer to watch.' I have had the pleasure of watching and learning from Selene at several events.
Selene was a featured kid lit rock star at our nErDcampLI, kidlit palooza and at several book events such as Barnes and Noble Teen Festival, and Books of Wonder. Her presentations teach readers and writers of all ages the importance of marrying passion and process in one's writing. Adult learners, students, teachers, all who attend her sessions leave wanting to read and write more.
Selene is knowledgeable and has a sense of humor which together make for a wonderful combination for children. Selene shares her amazing talents and leads students through a variety of writing exercises. She is a mentor author who models and inspires writers of all ages.
The students who work with Selene absolutely adore her. I appreciate Selene sharing her time and talents with the Nerdy on LI community. I am grateful for her energy, humor, and expertise. Without hesitation I would recommend her as a visiting and connected kid lit rock star for students of any age."
The Educator Collaborative Book Ambassador
"Selene cracked open the craft of writing and dealt out individual, delicious "how-to" packages for creating voice in writing. I am also feeling a desire to jump into lesson planning!"
Dalila Eckstein, teacher
"Librarians and teachers:
Selene Castrovilla has several kids' books about the American Revolution, all meticulously researched and beautifully illustrated. Besides these, Selene writes YA novels (and an adult one, too) that are spot-on fabulous (and she's a BooksNJ alum, too!) Jacqueline Woodson calls Selene "a writer worth watching." Invite her to your library or school. It'll be a great visit, I promise."
Director of Library Services at Bergen County
Cooperative Library System
Selene reveals stories about revolutionary women in this captivating presentation.
In-person or on Zoom!
The Surprising Truths About Our Founding Mothers
Description from the episode:
On today’s Story Works Reading Series, Selene Castrovilla reads the short story “Careless Whistle.” If the title brings to mind a certain ’80s pop tune, it (like everything in great fiction) is intentional.
I'm a guest on the Sandi Klein Show, where she has Conversations With Creative Women! We talked about hidden history, and how I uncover it--as well as my other genres and how I manage to juggle them. Did you know there was a women's tea party during the American Revolution? Learn about this and so much more.
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