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Laura Bates Shakespeare in prison

Laura Bates: The Bard Is Still Saving Lives

Published in the March/April 2015 issue of Books Make a Difference magazine.
Reading Shakespeare in prisons is not new, but doing so in solitary confinement, with those considered to be the most dangerous and hardened inmates, was unheard of—until Laura Bates gave it a try. Laura’s book Shakespeare Saved My Life shares the success of her Supermax program and the transformation of convicted killer Larry Newton. Though he’ll spend his life in prison with no chance of parole, Larry says he’s free. Laura's book has prompted other prisons to set up similar programs. [...]

Andrea Davis Pinkney: Messenger of Hope

Published in the January/February 2015 issue of Books Make a Difference magazine.
In her accomplished career as an editor and the bestselling author of more than thirty books about the African American experience, Andrea Davis Pinkney has become as inspiring as many of the historic figures she writes about. She felt an undeniable pull to write about the Darfur genocide in her latest novel, The Red Pencil. Even through the ugly filter of war, Andrea’s longtime message shines through: Hope and joy are for everyone. [...]

Children’s Book Honors Friendship Nine

Published in the January/February 2015 issue of Books Make a Difference magazine.
Fifty-four years after they went to jail for sitting at a whites-only lunch counter in Rock Hill, South Carolina, the eight surviving members of the Friendship Nine are returning to court to have their convictions vacated. Their new day in court came in no small measure from a children’s book, No Fear For Freedom: The Story of the Friendship 9, and the efforts of its author, Kimberly Johnson. “These men were treated as criminals, but they’re not,” she says. “What they did is really powerful and right.” [...]
Tim O'Brien

Tim O’Brien: Master Storytelling Dad

Published in the May/June 2014 issue of Books Make a Difference magazine.
With more than 3 million copies of his books sold, Tim O’Brien, 67, is known for his thought-provoking stories that use the Vietnam War as a backdrop for exploring the bigger questions in life. Becoming a dad has changed Tim’s view of the world—and his writing. Although Vietnam still invades his stories, even those he tells his boys (Timmy, 10, and Tad, 8), Tim now sees life through soccer games, magic shows, and a tree house window. His current project is a book about being an older dad. [...]

A magazine writer and editor for much of her career, Karen writes for and publishes Books Make a Difference online magazine.

She is often asked to write features or columns for various other publications and web sites as well. In this section, you’ll find links to samples of her work.