Laura Krauss Melmed

   Laura Krauss Melmed wrote her first book just a little over a decade ago. Her warm poetic texts resonate with young and adult readers. Laura fell in love with books at an early age and feels that her parents had a lot to do with that. They provided her with books from the weekly walks to the public library in New York as well as instilling in her a love of reading. Throughout her childhood she wrote poems, stories and plays that she and her friends would perform on the roof of their apartment house. She majored in sociology in college and attended graduate school in New Orleans. Currently Laura lives with her husband in Washington DC. They have three grown children. She wrote her first picture book to answer her son, Jonathan’s, question, “What was the first song ever sung?” His question became the title and the refrain. Laura has gone on to publish many picture books, both fiction and non-fiction. She feels fortunate to have worked with many gifted artists over the years, whose illustrations have helped bring her stories to life.

Selected Reviews of Laura’s Books

Capital!: Washington D.C. From A to Z
Laura Krauss Melmed
Illustrated by Frané Lessac
   Melmed welcomes readers to the city she now considers home through a series of poetic verses about major spots in our nation’s capital. It runs alphabetically from “A” to introduce the Air and Space Museum to “Z,” where in addition to meeting plants such as the Xanthosoma and creatures like the Yellow-spotted sidenecked turtle, we come right back to “A:” because “It’s Amazonia, at the Zoo!” A clever touch that brings everything full-circle. In between, the pages are packed with information about the places that tourists and certainly kids would be interested in visiting. The Capitol of course, Federal Bureau of Investigation and White House are among those. The little factoids on each page add to the fun, and trivia buffs will revel in picking up a few more gems to dazzle friends and family. Frane Lessac’s primitive style is a perfect match for this picture book. Her map that makes up the end papers is a real treat, because it lays out all of the places mentioned in the text and helps put the city in perspective. Melmed sums it up very neatly in her introduction: “If you have been to Washington, you can use this book as a remembrance of what you saw and did. If not, I hope that one day you will have the chance to visit or live here, so that you can explore for yourself, from A to Z, your very special capital, Washington, D.C.” 2003, HarperCollins, $15.99. Ages 6 up. Reviewer: Marilyn Courtot (Children’s Literature).

Heart of Texas: A Lone Star ABC
Laura Krauss Melmed
Illustrated by Frané Lessac
   This alphabetic tour of Texas is chock full of fun facts and highlights of the state –it would be great fun to read for research or in preparation for a trip to the Lone Star State. The colorful paintings add to the whimsy and complement the text well. Unlike many alphabet books, the entries aren’t painfully stretched to fit the theme. There is a lot more in this book than its slim profile implies. As a resident of Texas, I was sure I could find some little error and thought I found it when the author mentions “bluebells” growing on a hill. However, a quick internet search revealed that there are indeed bluebells in Texas, and her later inclusion of the state flower, bluebonnets, convinced me the text was well researched. The mention of the rebirth after the 1900 storm in Galveston is a bit ironic, since the book was likely in press while Hurricane Ike swept over the island and once again devastated the downtown. A helpful map at the end indicates where all of the entries are located within the state. 2009, HarperCollins, Ages 6 to 10, $17.99. Reviewer: Dr. Judy Rowen (Children’s Literature).

My Love Will Be With You
Laura Krauss Melmed
Illustrated by Henri Sorensen
   Many of us have read and reread I Love You As Much… by this same duo. Now they have collaborated to produce a book that highlights fathers. The fathers range from an eagle in the snow capped mountains who tells his child that “Someday you’ll soar through a high mountain pass” to a daddy lion tending its cub and a father otter explaining to his child that he will fish in a clear stream. Even the common pigeon and the more exotic badger and monkey are part of this paean to fatherhood. The little ones are shown on one side of the spread with their nurturing parent while on the other side the infant is all grown up. However, it is usually the mother and not the father who tends to raise young in the wild. So while the message is warm and reassuring, the pictures of the animals are so realistic that they may reinforce the belief that all of these animals take an active role in parenting which they do not. Pigeons and eagles certainly participate in raising their young, and monkeys tend to be quite social with males and females in the same troop. But then again, this is not a nature book, it is a story about love and Laura and Henri have used their combination of poetry and paintings to translate the feelings, hopes and dreams that fathers have about their offspring into something that all of us can understand. 2009, HarperCollins, Ages 2 to 7, $17.99. Reviewer: Marilyn Courtot (Children’s Literature).

Program Details

Laura’s presentations are very interactive. She prefers to work with groups of 60 or less. She will make 4 presentations in a day. Her program focuses on the making of a picture book from conception to completion. She uses a lot of visuals and props. Her audiences are usually preK-grade 3. She will conduct poetry workshops with 4th and 5th graders.

Fees: In the Washington metro area, $700 for up to 2 sessions and $325 for each additional session up to four in one school day. Out of town: $1200 per day. Transportation and lodging costs to be paid by sponsoring organization.

Additional Information

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