Laurie Woodward is a school teacher and the author of the fantasy books: The Artania Chronicles. Her Artania: The Pharaohs’ Cry is the first children’s book in the series. Laurie is also a collaborator on the award-winning Dean and JoJo anti-bullying DVD Resolutions. The European published version of Dean and JoJo for which she was the ghost writer was translated by Jochen Lehner who has also translated books for the Dalai Lama and Deepak Chopra, In addition to writing, Ms. Woodward is an award winning peace consultant who helps other educators teach children how to stop bullying, avoid arguments, and maintain healthy friendships. Laurie writes her novels in the coastal towns of California.
Why do I write? I get to be a kid again. And this time the bully loses while the quiet kid wins. Also, I get to have awesome battles with wings and swords, while riding a skateboard.
Why did I write Artania? Several years ago when education changed to stress test score results over everything else, I began to think of art as a living part of children that was being crushed. But I have watched children create and discover the wonder inside. To me, Shadow Swine represent bullies who subdue that most beautiful part of children.
“Our world will be saved when their art is true,” the Artanian Prophecy says. Every year I tell my students how every sketch, painting, or sculpture instantaneously becomes a living being in Artania. Then I stand back as they hurriedly scribble a creature, hold it up, and ask, “Was this just born?”
“It sure was,” I reply with a smile. “You just made magic.”
And for that cool moment, they believe.
Occupation: Fifth Grade Teacher/Writer/Peace Consultant
Children: Two. Jessica and Nicholas.
Home: Central Coast of California. Two-story because it’s fun to go up and down stairs.
Hobbies: Writing (of course) Playing drums & guitar. Dance. My friends call me a boogie queen. Spending special time with my family. Working out at the gym or the beach. Travel. Italy rocks!
Loves: Mexican food & chocolate. Pushing myself beyond at the gym. Talking in goofy voices to make kids smile.
Hates: Cruelty & bullying. Pollution. Lima beans.
Favorite Place in the World: Howland’s Landing on Catalina Island.
Favorite Local Place: Avila Beach.
Other Special Projects: *Ghost writer of the bestselling Dean and JoJo (JoJo und Ich in Germany).
*Collaborator on Resolutions Anti-Bullying DVD
*Peace consultant creating conflict resolution curriculum. I help other educators teach children how to stop bullying, avoid arguments, and maintain healthy friendships.
My Professional Background: Before becoming an elementary school teacher, I earned a social work degree and worked as a coordinator for a rape crisis agency. I am bilingual in Spanish and English and taught in both languages for seven years. I even used to dream in Spanish!
I have always believed in creating a positive environment in the classroom, but it wasn’t until I teamed up with Dean Bernal that I was able to share my ideas with other teachers. After a featured article in 2010 about my work, I received a Care and Share grant and used the funds to bring the program to all Santa Maria schools. Then I got a second grant and things really took off. With Dean’s worldwide network and Teachers Without Borders I’ve been able to share the Peace Program with other schools around the globe. I’ve got to travel to fascinating places and meet amazing kids. So fun!