From Our Alumni Authors

By Maura Sullivan Hill

When the Wind Blows
By Linda Booth Sweeney ’86,
Illustrations by Jana Christy
G.P. Putnam’s Sons, an Imprint of Penguin Group (USA)

Inspired after a windy walk with her toddler son, Sweeney wrote this rhyming picture book about how wind affects the world around us. The book follows the adventures of a boy and his grandmother as they fly a kite on a windy day. They see and feel the wind’s presence as they make their way through town with the kite: trees dance, leaves swirl, buoys bob in the water, skirts swish, swings sway and more. Sweeney is an author, speaker and expert on living systems, which are elements and processes that interact to form a whole, and how they shape and surround us.  

What Others Say
“Sweeney makes her children’s book debut with a clipped, poetic ode to the blustery days of spring, tracing a boy’s active day with his grandmother as they fly (and lose) a kite, visit a windswept seashore and romp around a playground before dashing home ahead of a storm. Working in a palette of bright pink, green, blue, and gold, [illustrator]Christy creates mixed-media scenes that manage the neat trick of evoking a cozy small-town atmosphere while giving a tangible sense of the wind’s fearsome power.”
Publishers Weekly.  ■

Party of One:

A Memoir in 21 Songs
By Dave Holmes ’94
Crown Archetype

Music is important to Holmes, a writer, comedian and television personality perhaps best known for his time as an MTV VJ on the music video countdown “Total Request Live,” and his memoir reflects that. Each chapter is named for one of his favorite songs from the ’80s, ’90s or ’00s, as he chronicles his journey from a youth spent idolizing radio legend Casey Kasem to the MTV audition that started his television career. This memoir is perfect for pop culture and music aficionados and tells Holmes’ humorous tale of never fitting in and never giving up, while letting good music guide the way.

What Others Say
“Holmes peppers his narrative with witty asides and pop-culture references, [and] the nostalgia factor is ramped up in the interludes between chapters, in which he provides a soundtrack for the current moment, a list of hunks that defined his adolescence and the top 10 videos that defined MTV’s ‘Total Request Live’ … Holmes is all charm, and his self-deprecating style makes his story relatable and engaging without feeling self-involved. A hilarious and touching coming-of-age story that will strike a particular nerve among Generation Y.” —Kirkus Reviews.  ■

Teaching Tainted Lit: Popular American Fiction in Today’s Classroom

Edited by Janet Casey ’85
University of Iowa Press

This collection of essays, edited by Casey, explores how to teach popular American fiction in the classroom. Some question the merit of teaching popular fiction, but these authors postulate that such stories are nuanced and compelling, and thus worthy of inclusion in the classroom. The authors draw on their experience teaching on popular subjects, from Stephen King and Lady Gaga to 19th-century dime novels and Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Casey is an English professor and director of the First Year Experience at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York.

What Others Say
Teaching Tainted Lit provides practical approaches to teaching popular literature through essays that are concrete, theoretical and personal. It succeeds admirably in this aim; the essays are wide-ranging, interesting and have already given me many ideas to use in my own teaching.”—Jaime Harker, author, America the Middlebrow: Women’s Novels, Progressivism and Middlebrow Authorship Between the Wars.  ■

I Am We: Poems

By Dave Ursillo ’08
Lead Without Followers, LLC

I Am We is a collection of poems inspired by yoga and the union between mind, body and spirit. Ursillo invites the reader to join him on the journey to find harmony by healing wounds, making peace with warring facets of self and discovering love in the world around you. He aims to inspire the reader to live life to the fullest each day. The poems muse on a range of human emotions, from falling in love to brokenness to being present in the current moment. Ursillo is a writer, teacher and yoga instructor in Rhode Island.  ■