Books and Writing . . . Then and Now

Barbara Kupetz grew up in a small town just outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She loved books, stories, and writing from a very early age, but when she began school, learning to read was difficult for her.  In second grade, she had a wonderful teacher who made reading exciting and inviting and since then, never stopped loving books.

When she was six she began writing stories and illustrating them in what she called her “special notebooks”.   Barbara began collecting books early and at age seven, her father built her a wooden bookshelf just for her book collection.  She still has that special bookshelf today and her book collection has grown from about  40 to more than 4,000 children’s books.

The summer she was nine, she created her own library on her family’s front porch.  She made library cards for every book so her friends could check a book out and take it home for one week. A few summers later (between fourth and fifth grade), she challenged herself to read all thirty-seven of the Nancy Drew books that had been written at that time before the new school year started. (Since then 138 more Nancy Drew books have been written but Barbara hasn’t had time to read all of those yet). She liked the books so much that she finished all thirty-seven books in only twelve weeks!

When she was thirteen she won her first writing contest.  Since then she has won a few more.

Her first book was What’s New with Mr. Pizooti? released by Perfection Learning.   Her second was Indiana County A-Z.  She has also written a book for teachers, Using Literature in the Elementary Classroom: Practical Ideas for Teachers.  In addition to books, Barbara has written many book reviews, as well as magazine and journal articles about choosing and using books in elementary classrooms.   She often goes to conferences to talk with teachers about using great books with children and offers ways to make them exciting and inviting for young readers.

She received her B.S. in Elementary Education and an M.Ed. in Early Childhood Education from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.  She then went on to get her and her Ed.D in Elementary Education and Child Development from the University of Pittsburgh.  She was a classroom teacher for 17 years and a college professor preparing future teachers for 17 years.

Today, she and her husband, Greg, live in Indiana, Pennsylvania. She now spends her time traveling, gardening, and, of course, writing. She still loves her special notebooks where she likes to plan all of her new stories.