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Developing Storytellers: A Conversation with Acclaimed Authors and Filmmaker from Judy Blume Forever

Monday, March 13, 2023 @ 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm EDT

Developing Storytellers: A Conversation with a Filmmaker and Acclaimed Author from Judy Blume Forever

Presented by Leah Wolchok, Co-Director, Judy Blume Forever; Pat R. Scales, Author, Advocate, & Retired Librarian; and #1 New York Times Bestselling Author Cecily von Ziegesar of the Gossip Girl Series
Moderated by Darri Stephens, Learning Experience Designer

Sponsored by Prime Video

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In honor of National Reading Month and National Write Your Story Day, Prime Video is excited to bring together award-winning authors to share their best advice with educators in cultivating young writers’ storytelling skills. Join us on March 13th for Developing Storytellers: A Conversation with Acclaimed Authors and Filmmaker from Judy Blume Forever. Launching on April 21st, the documentary Judy Blume Forever highlights one of the most renowned and influential authors of our time, Judy Blume. Known for her candid and authentic voice that resonates with children and adults alike, Judy Blume Forever captures and celebrates the need for authors of all ages to own their voices and tell their stories. Come hear from featured film participants Co-Director Leah Wolchok, celebrated author Pat Scales, and #1 New York Times bestselling author Cecily von Ziegesar to discover ways to build strong writers and to promote artistic creative expression in your classrooms. Join us for an inspiring conversation about creative writing, storytelling, and a love for all books.

Leah WolchokAbout the Presenters

Leah Wolchok is a writer and director who won an Emmy for her first feature documentary, Very Semi-Serious, which was broadcast on HBO. The film was a NY Times Critics Pick, won the Golden Gate Award at the San Francisco Film Festival, and received the inaugural HBO/Tribeca Film Institute Documentary Fund grant. She co-produced the Independent Lens documentary Ask Not and directed four award-winning short films. Wolchok received a bachelor’s degree in English from Yale and a master’s in documentary production from Stanford, and her highest honor is being the mom of two awesome kids.

Pat R. ScalesPat R. Scales is a retired school librarian whose programs have been featured on the Today Show. She has served as an adjunct instructor of young adult literature at Furman University and has been a guest lecturer at various universities. A First Amendment advocate, she was chair of ALA’s Intellectual Freedom Committee and serves on the Board of Advisors of the National Coalition Against Censorship. She is a past president of the Association of Library Service for Children and chaired the 1992 Newbery Award Committee, the 2003 Caldecott Award Committee, and the 2001 Laura Ingalls Wilder Award Committee. She writes a bimonthly column for School Library Journal. Her books include Books Under Fire: A Hit List of Banned and Challenged Children’s Books, Second Edition, Teaching Banned Books: 32 Guides for Children and Teens, Second Edition, and Protecting Intellectual Freedom in Your School Library.

Cecily von ZiegesarCecily von Ziegesar is the author of the worldwide #1 bestselling Gossip Girl book series and the original creator of Blair Waldorf, Serena van der Woodsen, Chuck Bass, Nate Archibald, Jenny and Dan Humphrey and all the other much-loved Gossip Girl characters who became household names. Her notorious satires of life on the Upper East Side have been translated into thirty-three languages and were adapted for television by Warner Bros. Studios. She is also the author of Cum Laude (Hyperion) and Dark Horses (Soho Press). Her most recent novel, Cobble Hill (Atria/Simon & Schuster) was published in 2021 to much acclaim. Cecily and her family live in Brooklyn, New York.


Darri StephensAbout the Moderator

Darri Stephens is a dedicated LX (learning experience) designer, passionate about creating quality content and programs for kids, families, and educators. Her combined background of teaching in the classroom plus working in research, development, and marketing for the wonderful world of children’s media and educational technology, has given her a wide breadth of skills to help engage all ages in the pursuit of lifelong learning. With MAs in Education from both Harvard and Stanford, and work experience at best-in-class ed tech organizations, she has created multi-award-winning educational programs and products. Additionally, she’s the co-author of Spooning and an ardent fan of children’s literature.

Learn more about viewing the live presentation and the recording, earning your CE certificate, and using our new accessibility features.

Join the Be a Literacy Hero community to network with educators, participate in online discussions, receive invitations to upcoming edWebinars, and view recordings of previous programs to earn CE certificates.

Judy Blume Forever

Generations of readers have found themselves in a Judy Blume book. Her name alone launches a flood of memories for anyone who’s gripped one of her many paperbacks. For decades, Blume’s radical honesty has comforted and captivated readers – and landed her at the center of controversy for her frankness about puberty and sex. Now the beloved American author candidly shares her own coming-of-age story. Emmy-winning filmmakers Davina Pardo and Leah Wolchok trace Blume’s journey from a fearful, imaginative child to a storytelling pioneer who elevated the physical and emotional lives of kids and teens, to a banned writer who continues to fight back against censorship today. Playful and poignant animations celebrate the magic and awkwardness of being young, while intimate conversations with acclaimed authors and artists reveal Blume’s profound impact on readers. Long-standing fans share open-hearted letters they wrote to Blume over decades. With humor, sensitivity, and a healthy dose of adolescent cringe, Judy Blume Forever tells the story of the woman whose trail-blazing books changed the way millions of readers understand themselves, their sexuality, and what it means to grow up. Stream Judy Blume Forever on Prime Video on April 21.


Monday, March 13, 2023
5:00 pm - 6:00 pm EDT
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