Erica S. Perl has been writing from a young age. Her first published poem appeared in the children’s literary magazine Cricket at the age of eight. In high school, she won local, state and national writing awards and was selected to attend the New England Young Writers’ Conference at Breadloaf. As an adult she has brought her talent for writing to the world of children's literature, receiving fantastic reviews for her first two books, one of which was chosen as a Book Sense Pick, and being named a "writer to watch" by Washingtonian Magazine.
Erica's books are written in bouncy and infectious rhyming verse that keeps kids engaged even while they're learning something new. Chicken Bedtime is Really Early keenly incorporates time-telling into its rhymes, and Ninety-Three in My Family brings math into an engaging, beautifully-rhymed story of a child and his huge family.
One of Erica's favorite things about being an author is getting together with kids and sharing with the world the wonderful personality that made her books such a success. She has a variety of workshops and presentations available, and a remarkable ability to engage the children-- while reading Chicken Bedtime is Really Early, she is apt to put on a chicken hat and lead the kids in chicken songs!
Erica S. Perl
Veronica is a self described fifteen-year-old, fat fashionista. She works at a quirky consignment store, sorting clothing, and selecting the vintage from the simply old. Veronica much prefers clothes to people, so when the strange, skinny co-worker she has nicknamed "The Nail" starts hanging around, Veronica is suspicious. But it turns out The Nail is really a nice guy named Len who sees Veronica in a wholly different light than she is used to. Not so nice are the two girls who work downstairs on the retail floor of the consignment shop. Both Zoe and Ginger are mean girls pretending to like Veronica in order to play mean tricks on The Nail. Veronica and The Nail start seeing each other secretly, while Veronica is drawn deeper into Zoe and Ginger's nasty games. Eventually, Veronica's involvement with the girls hurts her relationship with Len, and she grows strong enough to stand up for herself and realize that she can make her own choices. This novel is different from the usual formulaic teen fare of misfit heroine meets misfit boy, runs into some problems, but all is well in the end, which makes it both more realistic and somehow less satisfying than most young adult fiction. Not all is well in the end: Len is sick, his pets have been taken away, and he is ambivalent about his relationship with Veronica. The two mean girls are still mean, and while Veronica has changed, she is still insecure and vaguely unhappy. Veronica is a complicated character: she is self-confident enough not to obsess about her weight and wears attention-grabbing fashions, but she is also so easily bullied by Zoe and Ginger that the juxtaposition does not quite ring true. The strongest aspect of the novel is the setting: the store in which all the characters work is so strongly portrayed that it is almost a character in itself and is certainly the most appealing character in the book. This is a book for young adults: drug use, sex, and mature language abound. 2010, Alfred A. Knopf/Random House, $16.99. Ages 14 up. Reviewer: Lauri Berkenkamp (Children's Literature).
Ninety-Three in My Family
Erica S. Perl
Holidays bring family together, and this title reminds us how funny that experience can be. In rollicking rhyming verse, a little boy dutifully recites for his teacher all the denizens of his home, including 27 owls, 10 cats, a gerbil named Ed, and a pygmy hippo rejoicing in the moniker Bernice. Lester’s exuberant illustrations ratchet up the humor with depictions of pop-eyed pizza-eating dogs, pajama-wearing frogs, shampoo-guzzling cats and, my favorite, Ed with his name emblazoned on a gerbil-sized T-shirt. Kids will have a great time finding and counting all the critters on each page, especially when the list grows to include two tigers, three armadillos, five gophers and six goldfish. The book ends on a delightful surprise note: Bernice presenting the family with its 94th member. 2006, Abrams, $15.95. Ages 3 to 7. Reviewer: Mary Quattlebaum (Children's Literature).
Chicken Bedtime is Really Early
Erica S. Perl
From chickens to hamsters, from rabbits to sheep, sooner or later we all need to sleep.” In their debut picture book, Perl and Bates take a succession of appealing barnyard animals through their bedtime rituals. First, it is maternal pecks on the head for the freshly bathed chicks, then delaying tactics for the lambs and calves, footy pajamas for the young bunnies, tooth-brushing for those fishes that have teeth (gargling for the others), lullabies for the froggies in their lily-pad beds, and rollicking nocturnal fun for the hamsters. Perl’s graceful rhyming text captures familiar bedtime activities with lots of humorous touches: “The fish dads are stern. ‘No more carping, I said! You’ve got school in the morning. Come on. Off to bed!’” Bates’s cheerful, whimsical acrylic paintings add to the fun. Just as the young bunnies here “roar” for a story they have already heard “eighteen times before,” the children enjoying this winsome offering should be equally clamorous for repeat readings. 2005, Harry N. Abrams, $14.95. Ages 3 to 6. Reviewer: Claudia Mills, Ph.D. (Children's Literature).
Erica offers the following presentations:
Poetry Bop! Rhythm and Rhyme:
An introduction to concepts like rhyme and meter, which helps kids make connections between music and poetry. Kids love this presentation, which encourages them to feel the beat of a story told in rhyme (like my rhyming books Chicken Bedtime Is Really Early and Ninety-Three In My Family). It is a fun, lively presentation that has received rave reviews from K-2 students and teachers.
You WROTE that Book?:
See my original pages of scribbles! Marvel at the never-before-seen sketches! Find out what a “dummy” really is! Thrill to see it all transformed into a real book! In this presentation, I offer a rare behind-the-scenes tour of the process of creating one of my books. Topics covered include getting ideas, brainstorming, editing, trial and error, combining illustrations with text, printing, and the final product: a book you can find on shelves all over the world (cool!). This presentation is suitable for all ages.
Write On! Writing Workshop:
In this small group presentation, I lead writing games and exercises to spark creativity and empower kids to invent and tell their own stories. I have done this workshop with a wide range of age groups, from kindergarteners through sixth graders (tailoring writing games and projects appropriately). Kids learn the major elements of story-telling while having fun and getting excited about writing. Maximum 25 students per group.
Custom Presentations and Workshops:
I can easily develop a program that is thematically based on specific curriculum areas being covered by your class or related to my books. I can also do an after-school presentation for teachers, either on kids and writing or on children's books, or an evening session for a parent or community group. There is an additional charge for additional programs beyond a standard full or half day program (and there may or may not be an additional charge for custom programs, depending on the needs of the group).
- Full Day, local (within a 2-hour drive of Washington, DC): $600.
- Half Day, local: $300
- Full day, non-local: $500-800, plus travel expenses (depending on location and scheduling, so please inquire).
For more detailed information about her author visits, please visit this link.
To learn more about Erica and her publications please visit www.ericaperl.com.
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