Marilyn Taylor McDowell

Author, Storyteller, Literacy Advocate, Librarian

THERE ARE LOTS OF WAYS TO ADVOCATE LITERACY.

Currently, I am the librarian at a small village library in Vermont. Part of my outreach is Storytime "On the Road," visiting area preschools and day care facilities.

I also coordinate a literacy program called Everybody Wins! Vermont. Mentors from the community visit the local elementary school to read with a "mentee." One mentor, one mentee, one hour a week. I see relationships grow as these reading pairs continue on year after year, encouraging a love of reading in the simplest way. Being there.

Writing books and seeing them published is a thrill. Yet, the process of writing remains the most important. I take up my pen and create stories. It's what I do.

Storytime; Making Sugar on Ice

Halloween Stories at the Salisbury Free Public Library, Salisbury, Vermont

Literacy Event in Cape Elizabeth, Maine

World Book Night: Boys & Girls Club, Brandon, Vermont

Grandma silliness

Selected Works

Children's Middle Grade Fiction
Click here to read an excerpt from the book. I hope you enjoy the preview.

Quick Links

My Story So Far

Presentation and Storytelling - Waits River Valley School, E. Corinth, Vermont

IT IS MY PASSION AND DELIGHT to write, to create story, to tell stories in the oral tradition and to promote literacy in young readers. Indeed, I have been doing so in one way or another for more than thirty years. As a young mom, I volunteered to serve as the librarian at my children's elementary school, I worked to bring cultural arts into the middle school, I served as the children's librarian at my local public library when the need arose, and as the proprietor of a children’s bookshop, I became a storyteller, taught writing to elementary school age children and served on the board at a community college helping to develop initiatives in the Early Childhood Education Department.

Happily living in the "brave little state" of Vermont, I am the librarian at the Salisbury Free Public Library, a small rural village library. Since I began it has been my focus to build and grow a relationship with the local elementary school, begin a weekly Storytime and bring young readers into the library with youth book clubs, art workshops for the after-school bunch and I created a Summer Reading Program. I applied for and received a grant from the Children's Literacy Foundation (CLiF) which resulted in over $2,000 worth of brand new books for our library shelves. In addition, I coordinate a literacy program called Everybody Wins! Vermont in two local elementary school. Books and kids. Kids and books.

My mother always said, "If you can read, and read well, you can do anything."
Encouraging children to read is a worthy endeavor. A love of reading opens a child's world; instilling confidence and courage to try new things. Reading inspires. Reading is good for a curious mind.

One of seven children, I was raised by my Scots-Irish father who had been a farmer for most of his life and my Scottish mother who was a homemaker as well as my favorite storyteller. I am grateful for the blessings of growing up in a large family in a rural farming community and I enjoy the simple pleasures that come with country living. My love of the natural world began with the freedom I had as a child; exploring woods and fields and ponds for whole days.

When I write stories, I know I am influenced by my parents’ strong sensibilities and high values and I have a curiosity and desire to understand what makes us human and what connects us to one another. I create characters who are believable, characters who must rise up from adversity by finding their courage, characters who are guided by their heart. I write for children and I understand how stories influence a person and so I strive to write the very best that I can.

I credit libraries for offering me opportunities of learning. I remember the excitement of receiving my first library card; entering the children’s room filled with picture books. I think libraries could be called The University for the People for it is the library that lets anyone proceed forward in self-directed studies. I feed my curiosity in everything from botany to cooking, and when conducting research for my own writing, I go to the library to read. The internet is full of false information but I figure the books in the library have gone through the vetting process. It's amazing what one can learn simply by reading.

In addition to Carolina Harmony, I have completed another mid-grade novel, the first book in a trilogy for young adult readers and numerous picture book manuscripts. One day, I hope to be published again. For now, I am dedicated to the process. Tenacious and hard-working, my motto is Never Give Up.