Friday, November 27, 2009

Interview with Moira Donahue

An ex-lawyer, playwright, children’s author and a self-proclaimed “punctuation and grammar geek,” Moira Donahue puts the pun back in punctuation.

Both Moira’s books make learning grammar fun and memorable. She says, “My first book, Alfie and the Apostrophe (Albert Whitman, 2006), is the story of an apostrophe who is afraid to try out for the annual talent show - Alfie's talent? Magic, because he can make letters disappear.

My second book, a companion to "Alfie," is Penny and the Punctuation Bee (Albert Whitman, 2008), was inspired by the spelling bee. I modified it to work with punctuation marks and gave it a spunky heroine - Penny, a period who is also a safety patrol.”

Moira’s unique take on punctuation is fun and fabulous. She says, “Did you know punctuation marks have their own secret personalities? Question marks love riddles, jokes and, well, any kind of question. And exclamation points? Cheerleaders!”

Moira’s books are both educational and memorable. The proof is evident at Moira’s school visits. She explains, “If no one tells you that punctuation is boring, then you don't think it is. I also try to make it extra fun by talking about what kind of punctuation mark you would be based on your personality.”

What punctuation mark does Moira consider herself? “The asterisk- its name comes from the Greek word meaning "star" and it's sparkly and twinkly, which is how I like to think of myself!”

Moira continues, “I really love school visits. When I present my "Alfie the Apostrophe" program, we end with a magic trick (taught to me by a teacher friend) where we make letters disappear and an apostrophe appear. It's a lot of fun! When I talk about "Penny and the Apostrophe Bee," I have a mini punctuation bee with the students. And there's never any predicting how that will turn out!”

Moira finishes by saying, “Most importantly, I have had children tell me they sleep with "Alfie" under their pillows. And that's really why I write!”

To read more about Moira or Alfie the Apostrophe and Penny and the Punctuation Bee, visit her web site at; or her blog at;

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