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Rachelle is a writer of fiction, nonfiction, & poetry for children, and regular contributing writer for Scholastic Science World classroom magazine. She is available for affordable SCHOOL AUTHOR VISITS and MANUSCRIPT CRITIQUES. Rachelle, a native of New Orleans, lives in central New Jersey with her husband and daughters.

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This is a book cover for Tree House In A Storm.

My first children's book, TREE HOUSE IN A STORM (illustrated by Rex Schneider), was released by Stemmer House Publishers in September 2009. Set in my hometown of New Orleans, two children build a tree house where they play and imagine all summer long. But then Hurricane Betsy blows into New Orleans in 1965, and their beloved tree house becomes one of its victims.  This story of loss, hope, and resiliency was inspired by actual events from my childhood. It explores universal themes of natural disaster and rebuilding. In the classroom, this book serves as an effective discussion tool. A free Teacher's Guide and book related activities are available through a link on this site. I am available for School Author Visit programs!

New manuscript complete! Children's biography of a blind painter

After 2 years of research, interviews, writing and revising, I have completed my children's biography about a remarkable blind painter. I am currently in the process of seeking a publisher.

Who is Esref Armagan?

Esref Armagan (born 1953) is a contemporary Turkish painter who has been completely blind since birth. He grew up poor and uneducated, and never had an art lesson, yet he paints detailed pictures in bright colors and 3-point perspective without assistance. For decades, Armagan was the subject of curiosity, awe, and skepticism in his native Turkey. Then in 2004, he became the subject of scientific brain studies in the United States. The astonishing results have been published in science journals, magazines, and newspapers around the globe. In 2008 the DISCOVERY CHANNEL aired a documentary which featured Armagan (and three others with extraordinary abilities) called The Real Superhumans. Click here to view the Discovery Channel documentary on Esref Armagan.

The HISTORY CHANNEL is scheduled to begin filming a documentary about Armagan in the summer of 2010.

I discovered Esref Armagan quite by accident three years ago when an article about him popped up in an unrelated google search. It caught my eye, and I was immediately hooked. I knew I had to write a book and share his inspiring story with kids everywhere. After 18 months of research, interviews, and writing, I have finally completed my children's biography about this remarkable painter. The manuscript, Painting in the Dark: The Esref Armagan Story, has been favorably reviewed by members of the Arts and Disabilities organizations, as well as national and international organizations for the blind. (Click here to read reviews). I am currently seeking a publisher.

I know that Armagan's fascinating story would be a valuable addition to both science and art curricula, and an inspiration to children with disabilities and those who care for them.

I am excited to now be a part of a wonderful kids' newspaper, which is distributed free to elementary schools throughout NJ.  I write an interactive column called "The Write Stuff." The monthly themes and prompts encourage kids to write creatively and see their work published. The newspaper is a FREE, quality alternative to classroom mags such as Weekly Reader or Scholastic. Check it out!