Meet the authors and illustrators of our Pauline Kids editions. Sometimes quirky and always fun, these are the people whose passion inspires us to see things from a fresh and creative point of view.

Meet Maryann Macdonald!
Meet Maryann Macdonald!
Posted by Brittany on February 03, 2012 08:58 Article Rating

Today we hear from Maryann Macdonald, author of Starring Francie O'Leary and No Room for Francie. As a second grader at a Catholic school, Francie O’Leary learns faith comes not from books, but expression of self – which is good, seeing as she’s the middle child in a big family!

1. Where did you get the idea to write stories about Francie and her family?

The idea to write about Francie and her family came from an editor I worked with at Hyperion Books for Children.  When she learned that I had grown up in a family of ten, she said, "Why don't you write about that?"  So I used my own personal experience, along with lots of imagination, to create Francie and her family.

2. Francie and many of your other books are for younger readers. What about this age group and voice appeals to you?

I love the innocence and unguarded honesty of young children.  I have always enjoyed spending my life in their world.

3. Sr. Ursula Agnes guides Francie to make choices based in the Catholic faith without getting too theological. How can educators help young students develop faith-based characters?

I would guess the very best teachers exemplify the virtues they would like to pass on to children.  As Ghandi said, "Be the change you want to see in the world."

4. In both books, Francie stands out in the crowd. How can we encourage children to shine in healthy ways?

 I'm going to use another quote to answer this question, one from Oscar Wilde.  "Be yourself.  Everyone else is already taken."  I'd like to think Francie moves in that direction in both books.

5a. When have you felt like a star?

A star...well, I've never exactly felt like a star.  But once I did have my photograph on the cover of the New York Times!  I was ice skating (something I love to do) in Central Park on a frozen pond and a photographer snapped my photo.  The next day, my neighbor showed me his paper, and there I was, above the fold!  It was nice to be appreciated publicly for just being myself.

5b. What is your ideal room of your own?

In the best of all possible worlds, I'd have a small study all my own looking out onto Central Park, with my computer and a really comfy chair or even a chaise lounge and perfect lighting and bookshelves big enough to hold all my favorite books! It would come with a magic fairy who would silently organize files and bookshelves, tidy my desk, and clear away cookie crumbs, coffee cups and dust bunnies.  

As it is, I'm typing the answers to these questions in a room that triples in purpose as TV room, study and guest room, but it does have good lighting, a really comfy chair, and it looks out onto the roofs of old brownstones and a church spire.  Not bad!

6.  What is a funny memory from your time in elementary school?

When I was in grade school, we had to eat our lunch in our classroom and show our teacher our empty lunch boxes before we could go outside to play.  One day my mother made me a sandwich I hated and I knew my teacher wouldn't let me go out to play before I finished it, so I hid it under my clothes.  I had to spend the rest of the day wearing a meat loaf sandwich!

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