About David

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David Gifaldi is a Portland writer and teacher. His eight published books for young readers include picture books, a tall tale, middle-grade novels, and a collection of young adult short stories. His newest novel, Listening for Crickets, is published by Holt. David's short stories have appeared in Cricket, Highlights for Children, Read, 'Teen, Children's Digest, and Jack and Jill magazines. He has lectured widely to both children and adult writers. He has taught high school English for the Vancouver School District and has served on the faculty of the MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults program at the Vermont College of Fine Arts.

I grew up in Holley, New York, a small town near Lake Ontario. Besides my parents and two brothers, my family was made up of grandparents, aunts, uncles, and a host of cousins to make mischief with. Summers in Holley were filled with baseball, band concerts, carnivals, and playing Tarzan off the rope swings at various swimming holes. Winters were for ice skating and sledding. The town had an outdoor rink, really just a scooped-out pond that the firemen would fill when the cold came down from Canada. There was a little shed for changing and taking a breather after playing hockey or trying out some of the figure skating moves we kids saw on TV. The best was skating at night with the floodlights on and the stars shivering in the dark overhead. I recall the sound of skate blades on ice, the cries of children and adults at play, and the warm feeling inside knowing that Christmas was just a week away.

It was my third-grade teacher who opened up the magic of books for me. I'd come in hot and sweaty after recess, put my head down on my desk, and be taken away by her voice into the world of Tom Sawyer. Tom and Becky, Huck and Injun Joe---these became friends I looked forward to meeting day after day. It was almost more than I could bear when, at the height of a scene, the teacher would eye the clock and say, "That's enough for today, please take out your math books." Groan!

I have been a teacher for over 25 years, working with children of all ages and grades. My students have provided me with plenty of ideas…weird, wacky, and wonderful. I like writing for children because I enjoy looking at the world through the eyes of a 10- or 12- or 16-year-old. Things always seem fresher that way. Growing up is hard. But it's also a time of wonder and discovery. Writing keeps me on my toes, wondering and discovering.