Elsa Marston
children's author

Some upcoming and recent appearances...

USBBY (US/​International Board of Books for Young People) annual conference, program on books about children and war, "Through the Rabbit Hole of War, Terror, and Displacement," with Nancy Bo Flood and Terry Farish; New York City, October 16-18, 2015

NCSS (National Council for the Social Studies) annual conference, program on "Three Wars, Three Perspectives: Using Fiction to Help Students Understand," with Nancy Bo Flood and Terry Farish, New Orleans, November 13-15, 2015

Texas Library Association annual conference, panel on "Arabs and Native Americans: Let's hear their stories," Austin Convention Center, April 17, 2015

Indiana SCBWI group signing, THE OLIVE TREE, St. Richard's Episcopal School, Indianapolis, November 8, 2014

Workshop for teachers, Georgetown University, Washington DC, November 22, 2014

Indy Author Fair, signing (COMPASSIONATE WARRIOR, OLIVE TREE), October 25, 2014 at Indianapolis Public Library.

IBBY 34th Congress (International Board of Books for Young People), Mexico City, September 10-13, 2014; speaking on "Arab Youth in Literature--No Longer on the Sidelines!"

Public Libraries Association conference, Indianapolis, with my publisher, March 2014

Panel on "Religion in YA Literature," Texas Library Association annual conference, San Antonio, April 9, 2014

New Albany High School, New Albany, Ohio, May 8-9, 2014

Holiday Author Fair, Indiana Historical Society, Indianapolis, December 7, 2013

National Council for the Social Studies conference, St. Louis, with my publisher, Wisdom Tales Press, November 23, 2013

Presentation on "Muslims in YA Literature," USBBY (Board of Books for Young People) conference, St. Louis, October 18-20, 2013.

Signings and talks, "Santa Claus in Baghdad" now in Arabic, various sites in the West Bank, Palestine, November 2012.

Ethics in Children's Literature conference, presentation on Santa Claus in Baghdad stories, Depauw University, Greencastle, IN, September 13-15, 2012

Radius of Arab Writers (RAWI) conference, Dearborn, Michigan; workshop on writing for children, and nonfiction panel, May 31-June 2, 2012

Canterbury School Book Fair and Ivy Tech, Fort Wayne, April 18-19, 2012

Indy Author Fair, Central Library, Indianapolis, October 29, 2011

Presentation, Abdelkader Project Festival, Elkader, Iowa, May 14, 2011

"Writers Rock the Boat" panel, Indiana Library Federation annual conference, Indianapolis, November 16, 2010

Author-in-residence, Tamer Institute for Children's Literature, Ramallah, Palestine, October 28 - November 12, 2010

Talk on children's literature about the Middle East, Indiana Council on Foreign Affairs, October 25, 2010

Workshop on writing for young people, Arab-American Writers conference, Ann Arbor, MI, June 5, 2010

Fiction, young adult
An adventure in ancient Egypt
poems inspired by animals depicted in Southwestern rock art
history, political science
a look at the variety of women's lives in the Middle East and North Africa
Stories in Y-A collections

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What about visits to schools and libraries?

I love to meet young people and to look for ways we can connect. I hope my books and stories will entertain young readers, open their eyes to "something new," and maybe help them understand both themselves and the world a little better. If I can also help them have an idea of what goes into the creation of a book--not just "how you get it published," but the patience and determination needed--that's great!

Since I write for all ages except the very young, I can give presentations from first grade through high school, as well as talks and instructional workshops about writing, for adults. Wherever possible, I tailor my topics to fit curriculum or other special interests. For instance, I can speak on many topics about ancient Egypt, a perennial favorite with kids; and for social studies units about the Middle East or gender studies, I can discuss the status of women in the Arab/​Muslim world. Another subject I like to talk about is American archaeology--such as the Moundbuilders, Mesa Verde, and southwestern rock art.

I have spoken to schools and libraries in several states--Indiana, Massachusetts, California, Minnesota, Illinois, Texas, Iowa, Louisiana, Rhode Island--and overseas: Germany, Tunisia, Egypt, Lebanon, and Palestine.

Interested in a possible visit to your school or library? I am now represented by Jean Dayton of Dayton Bookings. Contact information (also on the Links page) is: www.daytonbookings.com, phone 812-824-5017.

I occasionally work with publicist Kirsten Cappy, who is experienced in promoting multicultural literature. She has started a new website for recommended books about immigrant American communities and the countries of their backgrounds, called "I'm Your Neighbor" (www.imyourneighborbooks.org). Her website is www.curiouscity.net, and she can be reached at kirsten@​curiouscity.net.

Some suggestions for talks I can give...

What's it like to be a writer?
--How I got started, and why I write for children
--Where my ideas come from
--Highlights and low points

Hatching a Plot (can be done interactively)
--What makes a story sparkle
--Targets and pitfalls
--How to get it right the first time (!)

Imagination: what it really means
--Monsters and mermaids, and...
--Every child's right
--How it can change you--and the world

Mummies and More!
--Life and death in ancient Egypt
--What the ancient Egyptians believed
--Strange tales from the search for ancient Egypt

Veils and Hi-Tech: Women in the Middle East today
--Survey of what women's lives are really like
--Why women "veil"
--What the rise of religious fervor means for women

Writing nonfiction
--How it can be as exciting as a story
--Twists and turns of research
--Where my books have taken me

Children's literature about the Middle East
--A lot more than The Arabian Nights!
--What do we need to know?
--How stories can open windows on the world