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INTERVIEWS:

My Teacher Can Teach…Anyone!

By W. Nikola-Lisa
Illustrations by Felipe Galindo

W. Nikola Lisa

With more than fifteen children's books under his belt, W. Nikola-Lisa always has a story to tell children. The author says his ideas for stories come from many different places. "One source of ideas is my past, my days as a child. Most of my books that are set in a rural environment, such as Summer Sun Risin', reflect my childhood growing up in southern Texas," remarks Nikola-Lisa. "But sometimes I just see things. I look around and something grabs my attention." As a result, he continues to grab the attention of young readers everywhere with his picture books. In 2004, My Teacher Can Teach…Anyone! was released.
My Teacher Can Teach
Anyone
My Teacher Can Teach…Anyone! is one boy's alphabetical account of all the things he and his classmates will learn in school that year, taught by his favorite teacher. So was this book based on a real live experience? "The inspiration came from visiting an elementary classroom several years ago," says Nikola-Lisa. "When I walked into the classroom, the teacher was beaming, as were her students. They wanted to show me all of the wonderful writing and images they had done as a result of reading one of my books, Can You Top That?. As the teacher and students shared their work, I could just see the love and respect these children had for their teacher. Bingo! That was the beginning of this story."

Since the author also has an educational background, he has some strong feelings about teachers and what they bring to children's lives. "Teaching is in my blood," Nikola-Lisa says. "My wife always says that out of everything I do, teaching is what inspires me the most, gives me the most energy. So My Teacher Can Teach…Anyone! is a celebration of both teachers and kids, but also a tribute to all the teachers in the world who have devoted themselves to public service, because that's what teaching is."

W. Nikola-Lisa may write picture books for children, but he doesn't stop there. The author spends a great deal of time on the road, visiting classrooms and doing readings and even presentations with storytelling, puppetry; and music. "I'm really untrained in music, theater, and storytelling, but they have been strains in my creative life for years, " remarks Nikola-Lisa. "I did a lot of summer stock theater in my twenties, and got the role of Renfield, Dracula's sidekick, one summer in a strange way. The director had us audition by going behind a curtain and giving our best blood-curdling scream. I guess mine was the best, so I got the part!" Nikola-Lisa laughs and continues. "The rhythms I bring to my writing come from these interests in theater and storytelling, but since I'm untrained, most of the rhythm in my books is syncopated. It's not a standard meter, but I think that's the jazz lover in me coming through."

Nikola-Lisa is also a professor of education at National-Louis University in Evanston, Illinois. He lives in Chicago, Illinois, with his wife.

About This Title

Guided Reading:

I

Lexile:

AD280L

Interest Level:

Grades PreK - 2

Reading Level:

Grades 1 - 2

Themes

Classroom Activities, Occupations, Multiethnic interest, Imagination, Friendship, Education, Dreams & Aspirations, Cultural Diversity, Childhood Experiences and Memories, Optimism/Enthusiasm, Identity/Self Esteem/Confidence, Mentors

Collections

Emergent English, English Fiction Grades PreK-2, Bebop English Guided Reading Level I, Appendix B Diverse Collection Grades K-2, Back to School Collection Grades PreK-2, Emergent Dual Language, Reading Recovery Bebop Books collection

Diverse Backgrounds Collection English 6PK

More Info

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