I grew up in an apartment in the Bronx, NY, where I spent lots of time jumping rope, playing catch, tag, hide and seek, riding my bicycle, and roller skating on the sidewalk. My friends and I loved creating our imaginary world, often pretending we were the characters in our favorite books. As a young child, I immersed myself in books about friendships and those with strong girl characters. When I was seven, I wrote my first poem, "Storybook Land," which the school's reading teacher read to an audience of reading-avoidant young children to show that books are a journey of the mind. I am a licensed elementary school teacher and reading specialist passionate about helping students recognize their creativity and individuality. Although I treasured the years I taught primary school, I am most proud of most of my career working with adolescents in a children's psychiatric hospital. There, I led a poetry club. I live in Bergen County, NJ, with my child therapist, husband, and dogs, and I relish spending time with our adult children and grandchildren.