Author Visit: Virginia native, Henry Cole

I am so excited! Not only is today Halloween but the school I work out is having a Virginia author visit! I work at the same school my children attended… I wish this author visit program had been around for them! Our students are blessed by this opportunity.

Henry Cole was born in 1955 on a dairy farm near Purcellville, VA, and was an adored elementary-school science teacher for 16 years. He has since illustrated over 80 popular picture books. Mr. Cole has always loved art and science, which has made him a keen observer of details in nature. He now lives in both Florida and Virginia.

Cole is the author and illustrator of 12 books himself. He first published Jack’s Garden in 1997. Visit his website at HenryCole.

I am thrilled to have a signed copy his latest book, A Teeny Tiny Halloween! He is the illustrator and Lauren L. Wohl (a native New Yorker) is the author.



Lois Lowry (1937) wrote her first novel drawing upon her own experience of losing a sister at a young age. A Summer to Die was published in 1977. Lowry is the author of several series, including The Giver Quartet, Anastasia series, Sam series, Tates series, and the  Gooney Bird series. Lowry is also the author of Number the Stars, made into a movie in 2014.

I am currently a para-educator, using the Fountas & Pinnell Leveled Literacy Intervention. My 5th graders just finished reading Lowry’s book Switcharound, published in 1985. We had some interesting discussions about some of the dated references like “Leave It To Beaver” and land-line phones.



“I like this book because of all the drama and the revenge. I wanted to know about J.P.’s revenge but it was in his little book to ruin the baseball game.”                                                            Ji’Naria (5th grade)

“What I like about the book is the end and I think that kids should read this book because it’s a good book. So what I learned that you should sometimes switch around. But the title gives too much away! Caroline should be a coach for the Tate Chips and J.P. should work with his dad. And the mom of the twins shouldn’t work and be more at home. I give it 5 stars! If they didn’t care about revenge or have something to learn from, this is a good thing, then the reader would just read and read [without having a purpose] but this is a good book.”                                                                               Shayla (5th grade)

“I recommend this book because there is a big switch! And the book is funny!”
Bilal (5th grade)

“Switcharound is a good book because all of the drama and action. Like where the Tater Chips got in a ginormous fight. This is a good book that I recommend.”                          Elijah (5th grade)


David Shannon (1959) wrote and illustrated How Georgie Radbourn Saved Baseball in 1984. Shannon also writes and illustrates the popular No David series.

No David Shannon



Laura Ingalls Wilder (1867-1957) published Little House in the Big Woods in 1932. There are 8 books in the original series with a 9th book published after her death and was unfinished. There are numerous spin-off series. The television series based on the books, Little House on the Prairie, starred Melissa Gilbert and Michael Landon. It aired for 9 seasons from 1974-1983. There is some speculation that Wilder’s daughter, Rose Wilder Lane, co-authored or wrote entirely the books attributed to Wilder.

Little House Books

I devoured these books as a child. I found them easier to read than Canadian author L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables at the time I attempted both. So much so that it would years later before I would try them again. I of course grew up on the books and the TV series. I was a bit disappointed when my daughters’ attention was not held by these classics. These are a close second to my all-time favorites by Louisa May Alcott.


Stephen Cosgrove (1945) began his Serendipity series in 1973. There are currently 70 different titles in the series, the most recent published in 1995, and all illustrated by Robin James. Each book comes with a moral issue tagline, covering such topics as growing up, disabilities, abuse, fear, friendship, prejudice, gossip, and helping the environment. Both Serendipity and  Little Mouse on the Prairie were made into an anime series and cartoon series respectively. Many titles have been translated into Spanish.

Stephen Cosgrove


My first Serendipity book was Nitter Pitter, written in 1978. The moral of the story is “Vanity can cost you friends.” I loved gorgeous and vibrantly colored illustrations by James. I loved the story of the vain horse. It began a life-long love affair with the whole series. When I had children I made it a mission to obtain copies of as many of the the Serendipity books as possible. I have made a good dent on the 70 titles but sadly some are so rare and so expensive that my collection is incomplete. My children now share my love for these charming tales as well.