Inspired by meeting an author
Smucker was first inspired to write children's books after meeting children's author Cynthia Rylant, who wrote When I Was Young in the Mountains. She was working as a children's librarian at the time and realized that there were no books that reflected her growing up in a steel town (Weirton).
"So many mills were closing. People had to move away to find work. I wanted to remember everything I could," said Smucker. As her father's memory of those days was failing and that way of life was vanishing. Smucker captured a steel town from a young girl's eyes in her book - from the eerie night glow of the mill's smokestacks to the mountainous slag hill they played on.
Smucker's award winning children's book No Star Nights is about her memories of growing up in the steel town of Weirton during the 1950s. The books has won the International Reading Association's Children's Book Award, the ALA's Notable Book Award, and the WV Library Association Literary Merit Award. It also received the Junior Library Guild Section Award in the field of social studies.
Smucker authored A History of West Virginia, which was originally written for beginning adult readers. It was republished in 2004 in a new edition for ages 10 through adult. She also wrote a children's bedtime story, Outside the Window, and has a new historical fiction novel for children called To Keep the South Manitou Light that is set on a Lake Michigan island, which just received an award from the Michigan Historical Society.
If you can't view the image below, click through to this link to see how I worked with the class and about my advice to young and beginning writers. Enjoy!