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Cathy Castelli

About (Biography)

I was born and raised in La Salle, Illinois, a small town about two-hours away from Chicago. (Right now I'm revising a novel set in the Illinois Valley. I'm pretty charged up about the idea!) I spent a lot of time at the La Salle Public Library and loved their summer reading programs and eagerly participated every year. In eighth grade, I was finally "allowed" to check out books from the main library leaving the children's room behind. My love of children's books never left me though. First as a teacher in both high school and middle school, and then as a high school media specialist, I continued to devour middle grade and young adult novels.

 

As a middle school English teacher, I collaborated with the media specialist to create a lunch discussion for the then newly published Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone novel. Students and teachers dressed in costumes, and the media center was transformed into the dining hall at Hogwarts. Food was served on golden platters (paper plates) as students discussed the novel.

I left the middle school job for a sabbatical in order to become a media specialist. I was fortunate to find a high school media position where my love of young adult literature would thrive. 

Joining a group of other media specialists in Broward County Florida, I helped select books for The Broward Teen Readers Choice Award (BTRCA). Ten books were selected each year for students across the school district to read and discuss. Alex Flinn's Breathing Underwater won the award for the first year in the contest.

Eventually, the BTRCA morphed into a state list which is now called the Florida Teens Read. I am serving my third and final year as a member of that committee. (www.floridamedia.org)

I have been writing for several years and am a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). (www.scbwi.org) and the Florida chapter of SCBWI (www.scbwiflorida.com) I participate in several critique groups in order to improve my craft and have collaborated with writing coach, Joyce Sweeney (www.sweeneywritingcoach.com) to provide the technical assistance while Joyce teaches the classes.  Joyce has helped fifty-three writers make it to traditional publication.

I live in South Florida with my musician husband, Jim Dix, our son, and a Manx cat named Gidget.
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