We had a great time at our multi-community event March 23!

Click here for the Invite.



About the Program

The Vermont College of Fine Arts (VCFA) Young Writers Network and the Arts Alliance of Northern New Hampshire believe that all children have important stories to tell. This winter and spring we partnered in an exciting new program that brought published authors to North Country schools and communities. Participating Coos County schools include Groveton Elementary and Groveton Middle schools, Pittsburg School, Stewartstown Community School, Stark Village School and Stratford Public School.

Authors visited schools between February and May, engaging students and teachers in discussions of their books and leading workshops that helped students develop and share their own stories.

The project included a multi-town celebration March 23, when we brought students and teachers together to share their stories with peers, other VCFA authors, and their communities. We look forward to more programs in 2017-18!

The authors for 2016-17:

N. Griffin is the author of The Whole Stupid Way We Are (Atheneum: 2013), for which she was named one of Publishers Weekly’s Flying Start Authors of 2013, as well as the first two books in the Smashie McPerter mystery series: Smashie McPerter and the Mystery of Room 11 (Candlewick:2015) and Smashie McPerter and the Mystery of the Missing Goop (Candlewick: 2016). She has taught kindergarten through high school and has been a consultant for educators since 2001. She loves working with kids and teachers and sees writing as a wonderful way of connecting the two. The next book in the Smashie McPerter series is forthcoming, as well as a second young adult novel with Caitlyn Dlouhy's imprint at Atheneum. Ms. Griffin lives outside of Boston. She has a lot of dogs.

Erin E. Moulton is the author of four middle grade and young adult novels: Flutter, Tracing Stars, Chasing the Milky Way and Keepers of the Labyrinth (Philomel/Penguin). She is also editor of the forthcoming anthology Things We Haven’t Said. Her books have been selected and nominated for national and state award lists, including the Amelia Bloomer List, the Kentucky Bluegrass Master List, and the Isinglass Teen Read Award List. Flutter was a 2011 Kid’s Indie Next pick. Erin works as teen librarian at the Derry Public Library, where she maintains a terrific young adult book collection and leads teen programming. She loves fostering new voices, which makes her an active school visitor, workshop leader, and mentor to writers of all ages.

Tamara Ellis Smith’s debut middle grade novel, Another Kind of Hurricane (Schwartz & Wade/Random House), was a Summer 2015 Kids Indies Next List pick, a 2015 Indies Introduces Top Ten Pick, one of Bank Street's Best Books of the Year, an SCBWI Crystal Kite Award finalist and a Vermont Book Award finalist. Tamara helped found an arts-in-education organization in New York City that brought writers and artists into public schools in the East Village and the Bronx to teach creative writing and visual and dramatic arts. As a teaching artist and public speaker she is passionate about inspiring kids to find their own voices and stories. She lives in Vermont with her four kids and husband and loves to run on the river trails with her dog. Tamara is currently working on picture books and another middle grade novel, Rosie’s Shoes. 

Educator & Community Programs

All workshops and events were free!
Questions? Email us or call the Arts Alliance at 603-323-7302. Download a program flyer here
and a Colebrook flyer here.

Using Books to Build Problem Solving Skills: An Educator Workshop with N. Griffin

Thursday, February 2, 3:30 p.m.
Groveton Elementary School, Groveton
Best suited for K-5 educators

Teachers worked on the process of solving problems, using Smashie McPerter and the Mystery of Room 11 as a mentor text (you did not need to have read the book to enjoy and benefit from the workshop). Participants learned how to connect books and their content to the Math Practices in the Common Core Standards. And it was fun, too!

Turning Empathy into Action:
A Professional Development Workshop with Tamara Ellis Smith

Thursday, February 9, 4 p.m.
Colebrook Public Library, 126 Main St., Colebrook
For educators and nonprofit and social-service professionals

This workshop, centered around Tamara's middle grade novel Another Kind of Hurricane, examined the essential ingredients every person must cultivate to do what he or she loves to do. Through writing exercises and discussion, participants explored these things—passion, grit, self-discipline, curiosity and community—and how to best inspire kids to explore them, too.
In the second part of the workshop, Tamara explained her Another Kind of Hurricane Project, designed to bridge the space (and the differences) between students in one culture and region of the country and another and to turn empathy into action. She talked about researching natural disasters, pinpointing communities in need and creating and implementing a drive (food, clothing or other). She also described various writing and art projects, focusing on sharing stories, building empathy and making connections.

Another Kind of Hurricane:
A Reading & Discussion with Tamara Ellis Smith

Thursday, February 9, 6:30 p.m.
Colebrook Public Library, 126 Main St., Colebrook
For adults (parents, grandparents, writers and readers)

Tamara presented a reading from Another Kind of Hurricane and facilitated a conversation about her journey as a children’s book writer and the ways adults can use children’s literature to foster empathy, offer windows into geographies and cultures beyond home and engage their children in discussions about empathy, connection and social responsibility. She focused on her experiences writing her novel, specifically her own experience with Tropical Storm Irene and the ways she's connected with kids from both New Orleans and Baton Rouge who have also experienced a hurricane and subsequent flooding.

Smashie McPerter Public Reading & Discussion with N. Griffin

Thursday, February 23, 6:30 p.m.
Lancaster Town Auditorium, 25 Main St., Lancaster
Open to adults (parents and grandparents, writers, etc.) plus interested kids (best suited to ages 6-11)

N. Griffin read from the second book in the Smashie McPerter Series, Smashie McPerter and the Mystery of the Missing Goop, and talk about her writing process, making connections to the process kids go through in their own writing. T

Magic Marbles: A Hands-on Community Art Workshop with Tamara Ellis Smith
Rescheduled for Wednesday, March 22, 6 p.m.
Gorham Public Library, 35 Railroad St., Gorham NH (466-2525)
For adults and children (recommended for children 9 & older, but all are welcome with appropriate supervision)

For the three 10-year-old boys in Another Kind of Hurricane, the marble that passes between them is imbued with luck and possibly magic. For Henry it also stands for all that is left of his friendship with Wayne. For Zavion, who has lost everything, the marble is something concrete to hold, to own, to build upon. The marble also manages to bring Henry and Zavion together to connect and ultimately to heal. It is also a symbol of the boys’ perseverance. In this hands-on art workshop, Tamara engaged participants in her Magic Marble art project, which is a spin-off from the novel. Participants first generated words that describe their passions, grit, self-discipline, and curiosity. Each of these words was—literally and symbolically—glued together with Community to make Perseverance. That exploration in words and ideas was collaged inside a plastic ball to create personal Magic Marbles. Tamara read excerpts from some of the magic marble sections of her novel during the workshop.

The Landscape of Our Lives:
A Hands-on Community Writing Workshop with Tamara Ellis Smith

Rescheduled for Wednesday, March 22, 7:30 p.m.
Gorham Public LIbrary, 35 Railroad St., Gorham NH . 466-2525
Teens and adults interested in writing, at all levels of experience. Especially recommended for those engaged in service work -- in schools, health-care facilities, social-service agencies and homes

Sometimes our good work—taking care of other people, listening to their needs and their stories—leaves us feeling either depleted and almost distant from ourselves, or protective of our own lives. In this hands-on writing workshop, Tamara engaged participants in a series of writing exercises aimed at creatively mapping people's lives (focusing on landscape and landmarks that are meaningful to them), and then finding defining (i.e., important, affirming, grounding) moments, memories and details from which to build stories about themselves. Part of the workshop was collaborative and part  individual. All of the workshop was meant to celebrate who we all are, and the work we do.        


Partners, Funders & Supporters

The VCFA Young Writers Network

Authors from VCFA's renowned MFA program deliver powerful learning experiences that inspire diverse young writers to discover their voices, develop their craft, and explore future careers in writing.  

New England Foundation for the Arts

These programs are funded in part by a New England States Touring Grant, with support from the National Endowment for the Arts and the six New England State Arts Agencies, including the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts.

In-KInd Donors include:

Candlewick Press
Penguin Random House

These generous publishers provided more than 250 books to participating schools.

The Authors

N. Griffin


Erin E. Moulton

Tamara Ellis Smith