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TOGETHER WE RIDE
TOGETHER WE SWIM
Valerie Bolling is the author of the 2021 SCBWI Crystal Kite award-winning and CT Book Award finalist LET’S DANCE! (March 2020). Valerie has been an educator for almost 30 years. When she taught elementary students, it was difficult to find diverse literature for them. Thus, she is passionate about creating stories in which all children can see themselves and feel seen and heard, valued and validated.
A graduate of Tufts University and Columbia University, Teachers College, Valerie currently works as an Instructional Coach for Greenwich Public Schools.
Besides writing picture books, Valerie has written a Monthly Memo for teachers published on Twitter, and articles she’s written have been featured in The National Writing Project’s Quarterly (“The Family Writing Project Builds a Learning Community in Connecticut”), NESCBWI News (“Microaggressions Don’t Feel ‘Micro,’” “Author Visits (Storytimes and More, and “Whew, Debut! What a Ride ...”) During COVID-19”, ILA (“Why Children Need to See Themselves in Books” and "Cultivating Agency in Student Writers,"), NCTE (“Poetry Is the Light: Children Need to Let Their Words Shine”), and We Need Diverse Books ("The Beauty of Intersectionality in Mentorship"). She has also had a poem published in Cricket Media’s November/December 2020 issue of Babybug magazine. Most exciting is that Valerie has two books scheduled for release in 2022 (TOGETHER WE RIDE and CITY FUN), five more slated for 2023, and one for 2024!
Valerie is a member of SCBWI, the Authors Guild, and NCTE. She is also a 2020 WNDB Mentee and 2022 WNDB Mentor as well as a member of Kid Lit in Color, Black Creators HeadQuarters, Soaring 20s PBs, PB Crew 22, 12X12 Picture Book Challenge, and three picture book critique groups. In 2021 Valerie was a spotlight author in The Brown Bookshelf’s “28 Days”, selected to be a member of the inaugural cohort of The Brown Bookshelf and Highlights Foundation’s Amplify Black Stories, and participated in Black Creators HeadQuarters’ nonfiction class with Jill Corcoran (Director, Licensed Publishing at Smithsonian) and a mentored critique group with Karen Boss (Editor at Charlesbridge).
Valerie and her husband live in Stamford, Connecticut and enjoy traveling, hiking, reading, going to the theater, and dancing.
Five Questions with Valerie Bolling
1.) When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I've always been a writer. I never really thought much about it; it’s just one of those qualities at the core of who I am. I decided to explore becoming a published author at the beginning of 2017.
2.) What do you love most about the writing process?
Believe it or not, I love revision. Revision reminds me of Marge Piercy’s poem To Be of Use. When I revise, I “do what has to be done, again and again.” For me, revision is “work that is real.” I get such satisfaction digging into the real work – finding the right words, developing parts of the story that need it, and deleting words and scenes that don’t contribute meaningfully to the story. The critique I receive on my writing is what helps me make significant and (usually) effective revisions. I’m so fortunate to have an amazing critique circle: critique partner, critique group, debut group that offers critique, WNDB mentor, and, most recently, an agent!
3.) What do you love most about teaching writing?
The excitement that students experience when they become more confident writers and are proud of what they’ve written is what brings me joy. When students see their own growth as writers, that’s truly inspiring to them and to me. When they win writing contests and/or have their writing published, as has been the case with many of my students, that’s an added bonus. I look at the teaching of writing as a gift I give to students. I provide tools and instruction to improve their writing, but I also know that the only way they’ll become better writers is to write, so I provide multiple opportunities for them to experiment with writing in a variety of ways.
4.) What are you reading right now?
I’ve been an avid reader my entire life. The past few months, however, my reading of books has declined; it’s had to take a back seat to my writing. I do still read picture books to keep up with recent titles, discover mentor texts, and be able to write reviews for fellow authors.
5.) What's your favorite writing quote?
The first one that comes to mind is “Write on!” One that I used to say to my students is “Writing is power. Seize the power. Go forth, and WRITE!”
Quotes from others that resonate with me are:
“Writing is the only thing that, when I do it, I don’t feel I should be doing something else.” -Gloria Steinem
"Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart." ~ William Wordsworth
"As a writer you are free." ~ Ursula Le Guin