“I am always thrilled to see the poems that the children create under her tutelage.”—Karen Hoge, fourth-grade teacher

LAURA SHOVAN’s debut middle-grade novel, The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary, was a NCTE Notable Verse Novel and a Bank Street College of Education Best Children’s Book of the Year, and won a Cybils Award for poetry, as well a Nerdy Book Club award. Her son’s experiences as a member of a travel wrestling team were the inspiration for Takedown, which is now on multiple state award reading lists. Her newest book, A Place at the Table written with author/activist Saadia Faruqi, was called “a solid story of unexpected friends coming together to break bread” by School Library Journal.

Laura and her family live in Maryland, where she is a longtime poet-in-the-schools for the Maryland State Arts Council.


About the Visit

As a former classroom teacher and a longtime poet-in-the-schools, Laura excels at working with young readers and writers. Here a few of her offerings, and she can also craft customized presentations for different audiences:

  • K-12 Assembly Presentations on “Characters and Conflict” with The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary or Takedown as the mentor text
  • Classroom Writing Workshops on “Choreographing an Action Scene” and “Persona Poems”
  • Social Emotional Learning Workshops with Welcome to Monsterville
  • Poetry Lessons and Residencies: Introduction to Poetry, Poetic Form, Literary Devices, Wordplay/Zany Poems, Generating Ideas
  • Bullet Journal for Writers Workshop for Adults

Laura’s presentations also model for educators how to run a poetry workshop.


“For more than a decade, I have had the pleasure of working with and learning from Laura Shovan as our poet in residence. Her love of poetry shines through every lesson. She is truly a master and introduces the students to such a wonderful variety of poems. Each time I work with her, my love of poetry deepens.”—Karen Hoge, fourth-grade teacher, Howard County Public Schools, Maryland

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