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Barbara Diamond Goldin's background as a teacher of students from preschool through adults for 21 years helps her tailor each program for the particular group. She enjoys presenting her own personal story and shares her passion and love of writing in an approachable and informative way, interacting with the audience by eliciting comments and questions. She writes from the heart and her programs touch the listener whether they are about an historical fiction book on the Triangle Factory Fire and the hardships of new immigrants to America, or a retelling in picture book form about wily and crafty coyote who teaches The People how to get Fire from the evil spirits on top of the mountain. Barbara offers presentations for children and adults, teachers, parents and families.
The cost of bringing her is negotiable, depending on location and the number and types of programs. Email her to set up a specific program for your site.

[Read Barbara Goldin's References!]

Speaking Topics
In Barbara's most popular program, she tells about her personal journey along the writing path, covers where she gets her ideas, and how she writes, as well as reading and telling stories from her books. She brings along materials-rejection letters, first drafts, source materials for research, revisions, galleys, page proofs—from all stages of the writing and publishing process. Barbara adjusts this presentation depending on the particular audience, whether it is children, adults, schools, libraries, community centers, etc.

This program features her book Coyote and the Fire Stick: A Pacific Northwest Indian Tale. Barbara focuses on stories from different cultures she has written about, such as Native American, Jewish, Chinese, and Afro-American. (Barbara has written Wright Group/McGraw Hill readers about Oseola McCarty, Louis Armstrong, and Benjamin Banneker. Her book Journeys With Elijah has stories set in places all over the world where Jews have lived. Her title Red Means Good Fortune is about Chinese immigrants to the US.)

These workshops are hands-on and use the writing process. Barbara has led writing workshops with students- from grades 3 and up, including college level, and adults- in school, library, and other settings. These workshops begin with brainstorming, the use of story-starters, and progress through learning about character, setting, plot, beginnings and endings. In the most typical workshop, Barbara presents mini-lessons, provides writing time, and then a sharing time where participants learn how to critique each other's writing in a sensitive way. If participants have a writing time outside the workshop, then workshop time is spent mainly with mini-lessons and the sharing and critiquing of writing. Where to market writing can also be a part of the workshop, for children as well as adults.

This presentation is based on her historical fiction books: Fire: The Beginnings of the Labor Movement and Red Means Good Fortune: A Story of San Francisco's Chinatown. Barbara brings some of the source material she used and tells how facts she finds in the researching influence the shaping of the story in process. She shares her excitement in discovering the past and making it come alive for readers.

Barbara can focus on the same two historical fiction books mentioned in RESEARCHING A BOOK and emphasize the immigration aspects of the two stories. These two books concern the immigration of Jews, Italians and Chinese to New York City and San Francisco. Just a few of the issues that crop up in these stories are prejudice, cramped living and working conditions, adjustments to a new land, the hardships, benefits of, and reasons for immigration. Barbara also shares anecdotes about the research and writing of these books.

Barbara presents the holidays and customs of different traditions around these times of year, telling her own stories and stories from other sources.

Barbara can focus a program on one or several holidays, and shape the program around her books for these holidays, letting story capture the spirit and customs of the particular holiday/s. Barbara can adapt this topic to the particular needs of each site.


Topics for Teachers
In this workshop for teachers, Barbara covers: introducing creative writing to students through modeling (reading excerpts and examples from books and discussing them), presenting mini-lessons on creative writing for students, grading creative writing (if you need to), guidelines for peer group critiquing, the Poetry Café, play writing and putting on plays, and helping students publish their work.
In discussing the mini-lessons Barbara touches on genres of literature and writing (mystery, fantasy, realistic fiction, etc.); techniques such as brainstorming (one of the most important); story starters, beginnings, middles and endings; character and setting sketches, and plot notes. Barbara provides handouts to go with these lessons.
The Poetry Café can be an exciting culmination of a unit on writing and appreciating poetry. Barbara talks about how to put one on in your classroom/school and provides sample materials.
Barbara's workshop is based on her teaching of creative writing for the past 11 years to 5th to 8th graders in a school setting. She has also taught children of different ages in library after-school programs, and adults in workshops and a community college. Besides being a writer herself and developing her own techniques, Barbara has found Nancy Atwell's approach to teaching writing helpful and adapted parts of that approach to her workshops.


Additional Topics for Jewish Audiences
Barbara focuses this talk on her book Creating Angels: Stories of Tzedakah as well as on the many stories about giving in her other books. The book's title is based on rabbinic stories about how doing good deeds in the world creates angels, how doing good deeds can transform our world. Maimonides' eight steps for giving tzedakah is covered in this presentation as well. Barbara can present this topic either to students, family groups or teachers. With teachers, the focus is on doing tzedakah units in the classroom; with families, on emphasizing tzedakah in the home.

This presentation can be structured for children, adults, teacher or family groups. Barbara focuses on what midrash is, tells stories from midrashic sources, and talks about how to incorporate midrash into classrooms and homes, making these age old tales accessible to today's audiences. This program is based on Barbara's book A Family Book of Midrash.

This program centers on Barbara's award winning book Journeys With Elijah: Eight Tales of the Prophet. The stories are set in countries all over the world to show some of the places where Jews have lived. In addition to telling stories from the book, Barbara talks about the Prophet Elijah in the Bible, Jewish history and folklore, and why he is still so much a part of Jewish life today.

For this topic, Barbara focuses on her book Bat Mitzvah: A Jewish Girl's Coming of Age. (The companion volume written by Eric Kimmel is titled Bar Mitzvah: A Jewish Boy's Coming of Age.) Barbara' s research into the evolution of the coming of age ceremony in Jewish history is combined with anecdotes from the many interviews she conducted for this presentation. The first half of her book is about the history of the Jewish woman from Bible times to the present, and this topic can also be part of Barbara's talk.


Using story is a powerful way to convey values and morals. This workshop gives participants, whether teachers or parents, an opportunity to discuss their favorite children's books and how they can be used to emphasize what's really important to us. There are opportunities in this workshop to discuss, and, hopefully realize, what values we are hoping to pass on to children. Barbara brings her own and other children's books she has found useful in presenting values in a non-didactic way in order to open up avenues of thinking and discussion with children, whether the place is the classroom or the home.


Why is it that so many of us are nervous and avoid talking about God with children? This is mainly a sharing workshop where participants talk about their own ideas/feelings about God and their responses to questions asked by children. Barbara brings resource books on the subject, as well as stories from midrash showing how rabbis through the ages answered questions about God, plus many anecdotes, both poignant and humorous.

[Read Barbara Goldin's References!]


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