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VIRGINIA SCHOMP

BIOGRAPHY I BOOKS I PRESENTATIONS I BOOK ORDERING

Virginia Schomp is the author of more than eighty nonfiction titles for young readers and adults. She has created several series for Marshall Cavendish's Benchmark Books division, including *Prehistoric World* (15 books on dinosaurs, grades 2+), *Letters from the Homefront/Letters from the Battle-front* (10 books on America's wars, grades 6+), and *Myths of the World* (12 books on the beliefs and myths of ancient cultures, grades 6+). In addition, she has published curriculum-based titles on ancient civilizations, world communities, New York State, and American biographies. Her titles for adults include guidebooks for investors, consumers, and caregivers.

Her Better Business Bureau A to Z Buying Guide was selected as one of the top ten reference books for 1991 by the New York Public Library. Four of her titles in the *Myths of the World* series -- The Ancient Greeks, The Ancient Egyptians, The Native Americans, and The Norsemen -- are included on Bank Street College's 2008 Best Children's Books of the Year. The Rise of Jim Crow, from the *Drama of African-American History* books, that she wrote with James Haskins and Kathleen Benson, won the 2009 Carter G. Woodson Book Award (middle level).

She lives in Monticello, New York.

  

In Her Own Words:

 

Since the day I sounded out my first words and entered the enchanting world of Dick and Jane, I've known that I wanted to be a writer. As a youngster, I read every book I could get my hands on and experimented with everything from poetry and short stories to plays and opera librettos. After graduating from Penn State with a B.A. in English Literature, I set out to take the publishing world by storm. A year later, I was typing letters and making coffee at a tiny community newspaper, and glad to have the job.

 

It took ten years and three career moves to work my way up the ranks from secretary to marketing manager to managing editor and finally editorial director at a small New York publishing company. My first break as an author came when the company's president asked if I would be interested in ghostwriting a title for a new client. The assignment involved long hours, hard work, and little pay. I loved it.

 

Since that first book, I've worked full-time as a freelance editor and writer, focusing mainly on nonfiction titles for young readers. I can't imagine a better career. Every day I get to learn something new, whether that means exploring the love lives of dinosaurs, the letters of Civil War soldiers, or the development of writing in Mesopotamia. I've found that there is no better way to thoroughly understand a topic than by researching a variety of sources, sifting out the essential information, and striving to present the facts in a manner that will be clear, concise, accurate, and entertaining to young readers.

 

Another benefit of my work is that it brings me in contact with students. Speaking to school groups is a wonderful way to find out what children are learning and what they would like to learn, what bores them and what engages them. From time to time, a boy or girl will ask a remarkably thoughtful question about the mechanics or inspiration behind the writing process. When that happens, I feel I've come full circle -- that I've been given a chance to offer encouragement to a young writer who might well have been enchanted by the world of Dick and Jane.