Former teacher Laura Purdie Salas believes reading small picture books and poems can have a huge impact on your life. She has written more than 130 books for kids, including Lion of the Sky: Haiku for All Seasons (Kirkus Best Books and Parents Magazine Best Books of the Year), the Can Be… series (Bank Street Best Books, IRA Teachers’ Choice), and Bookspeak!: Poems About Books (Minnesota Book Award, NCTE Notable). Laura shares inspiration and practical tips with educators about poetry, nonfiction, and more.
Lisa Lapina is currently teaching first grade in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She attended Bloomsburg University where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood and Elementary Education in 2011. Following BU, Lisa attended the University of Pennsylvania graduating in 2013 with a master’s degree in Reading, Writing, and Literacy. She moved to Maryland in 2013 and taught first grade for five years. She moved back to Pennsylvania in 2018 and taught first grade in Upper Darby, PA before moving to The School District of Philadelphia in 2020. She taught kindergarten in 2020 and looped with her students to first grade in 2021. It’s been a joy for her to spend a second year with this class. Lisa is grateful for all of the ways that the National Writing Project has positively influenced her career as an educator!