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Lisa Funari Willever

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Lisa Funari Willever - Author
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  • Lisa Funari Willever - Author


    Picture Books

    • There's a Kid Under My Bed, Franklin Mason Press, 2008
    • A Glove of Their Own, Franklin Mason Press, 2008
    • You Can't Walk a Fish, Franklin Mason Press, 2003
    • Where Do Snowmen Go, Franklin Mason Press, 2002
    • Everybody Moos at Cows, Franklin Mason Press, 2001
    • Chumpkin, Franklin Mason Press, 2001
    • The Easter Chicken, Franklin Mason Press, 2001
    • Maximilian the Great, Franklin Mason Press, 2000
    • Miracle on Theodore's Street, Angel Publications, 1998
    • The Culprit Was a Fly, Angel Publications, 1998

    Chapter Books

    • Nicky Fifth Explores New Jersey's Great Outdoors, Franklin Mason Press, 2013
    • Nicky Fifth Says Vote For T-Bone, Franklin Mason Press, 2012
    • Nicky Fifth's New Jersey, Franklin Mason Press, 2011
    • Nicky Fifth At The Jersey Shore, Franklin Mason Press, 2011
    • Nicky Fifth's Passport to the Garden State, Franklin Mason Press, 2009
    • Nicky Fifth for Hire, Franklin Mason Press, 2007
    • Nicky Fifth's Garden State Adventure, Franklin Mason Press, 2004
    • Nicky Fifth on 32 Dandelion Court, Franklin Mason Press, 2003

    Activity Books

    • Nicky Fifth's Mission: New Jersey's Great Outdoors, Franklin Mason Press, 2013

    Reference Books

    • Exciting Writing: A Handbook for Kids, Franklin Mason Press, 2004
    • On Your Mark, Get Set, Teach! The Must Have Guide for New Teachers, Franklin Mason Press, 2002


    A Glove of Their Own
    • The hilarious Garden State Adventure named to the 2013-2014 and 2005-2006 New Jersey Battle of the Book List for Grades 3 and 4.
    • A Glove of Their Own won the 2009 Benjamin Franklin Award for Children's Picture Book.
    • A Glove of Their Own finalist for Foreword Magazine's 2009 Book of the Year Award.
    • There's A Kid Under My Bed finalist for 2009 Benjamin Franklin Award, Foreword Magazine's 2009 Book of the Year Award and Hollywood Book Festival Honorable Mention.
    • Nicky Fifth on 32 Dandelion Court named to the 2009-2010 and 2007-2008 New Jersey Battle of the Book List for Grades 3-4.
    • Chumpkin selected as one of Laura Bush's favorite children's books and displayed at the White House during the 2003 Holiday Season. Also a Fall Favorite by Learning Magazine.
    • Everybody Moos at Cows featured on The Rosie O'Donnell Show, 2002.


    • K-8: Assemblies
    • 3-8: Writing workshops
    • Parent/Teacher Workshops


    Assembly length varies from:

    • 15-20 minutes for Pre-K and Special Education
    • 20-30 minutes for Kindergarten
    • 45-60 minutes for Grades 1-8

    Writing Workshops are generally held in a classroom, with 1-2 classes, and run from 1-2 class periods. Program length is always adjusted to accommodate a school's needs.



    As a professional speaker and former teacher, Lisa accommodates audiences of all sizes (30-1, 000+) for School Author Visits. Writing Workshops are geared to 1-2 classes per session, however large sessions are available. She adjusts presentations for the age and size of groups and coming from a large Italian family... she enjoys all size groups.


    There are several presentations available, however, Lisa recommends the assembly below for first visits. Additional lively and informative assemblies are available for follow up and annual visits.

    A dynamic and fun assembly begins with the true story of how Lisa and her mother, Lorraine, wrote their first joint book, The Easter Chicken, at local restaurant, Friendly's. Next, the students participate in a role play introducing them to four of the many people involved in publishing a book: author, illustrator, editor, and publisher. The beauty of this segment is when the editor repeatedly tells the author and illustrator to "Go back and fix it!" reinforcing what teachers tell their own students.

    Once the group has a basic understanding of how books are made, Lisa shares the absolutely hilarious, true stories behind many of her books, including Everybody Moos at Cows, declared a "Great New Kids Book" by Rosie O'Donnell and/or You Can't Walk a Fish. Following the true stories is a power point presentation with real pictures of Lisa from her childhood, as well as current pictures of her husband, firefighter Captain Todd Willever and her young children, Jessica, Patrick, and Timothy, the source of many new ideas. This segment is designed to show kids that authors are regular people and that this is something they, too, can achieve. To bring the concept full-circle, one or two of the stories are read to demonstrate how real-life experiences can translate into stories and books. The end of the presentation is called "Ask the Author". It is a quick-fire way for the author to answer any questions the students may still have.

    New Jersey Schools may also request the Nicky Fifth's New Jersey Assembly for grades 3 and up or have it combined with the main presentation.

    In addition, Lisa shares information regarding the Franklin Mason Press Young Authors and Illustrators Contests and how children can have their work published in one of her books.

    Garden State Adventures

    For 2012-2013, several different presentations will be available to accommodate annual visits and a special presentation is available for Pre-K and or Kindergarten and also Special Education.

    Middle Schools

    Middle School presentations focus on the writing process and the events that lead to the completion of a chapter book. These presentations can be as a general assembly or by grade level or small group.


    In addition to the General Assemblies of a School Author Visit, schools may also opt for in-class Writing Workshops or Writer-in-Residence Programs. These can be one period or one period/week for a specified number of weeks or customized to meet a school's needs.

    Writing Workshops

    Writing Workshops are a powerful tool for inspiring and educating children on the writing process from someone whose career depends upon it! Schools may select specific areas to be discussed, such as revision, organizing ideas, or publication, or a combination!

    Family Programs

    Family Programs are available in the evening and several engaging programs are also available for teachers, including Teachers Make Great Authors and Teach These Kids to Write, Please!!

    Keynote Speaker

    Lisa has given the Keynote Address to many organizations including The College of New Jersey, Rider University National Writing project, and the South Dakota Reading Association.


    Everybody Moos at Cows

    "Teachers and parents always ask me where my passion comes from and I answer with a question; 'How lucky am I to have realized my childhood dream and then be able to speak to children about it?' As an author, former teacher, and parent, I believe that it is as wonderful for authors and illustrators to interact with children as it is for children to interact with authors and illustrators! They become so familiar with our work and often know very little about us. During the presentations, I share stories and pictures of my own family my three young children-ages 5, 11, and 12, my firefighter husband, parents and siblings, so students can relate to their own lives and see that becoming an author is not out of reach. I appreciate the tremendously lovely feedback I receive from schools and I believe that it is the direct result of truly loving what I do. I knew when I was 8 years old that I wanted to become an author, yet I never realized how amazing it would be. By sharing my enthusiasm for writing, I hope to inspire the next generation of great authors.

    "The explosion of interest in the Nicky Fifth chapter books has been so gratifying. As an author, my goal is to write books kids enjoy reading. As a former teacher, my goal is to have my readers learn something as they read. By using real NJ locations as the setting, they learn about NJ as they laugh. But as a mom, my ultimate goal is to motivate kids and families to explore NJ together. Having schools adopt the Nicky Fifth books as part of their curriculum and having families follow my characters' day trip itineraries, getting their Passports stamped along the way, has been amazing. Promoting reading, New Jersey, and family time is the realization of a lifelong dream. The Nicky Fifth books have become THE NJ Tour Guide for families and I am anxious for the Fall 2012 release of book seven, Nicky Fifth Says Vote ror T-Bone."


    $1195 1-3 shows, $350 for additional shows, $500 for additional evening programs. If booked in an area for 3 or more days, travel expenses reduced. Upon booking, a set of available books are donated to school. Cow costume available!

    Schools can have a portion of the Book Sale donated back to the school to help defray the cost.


    Passport to the Garden State

    All very simple, really... For the assemblies, Lisa brings her own laptop and projector, therefore the only items needed would be:

    • A laptop (I will bring a memory stick)
    • An LCD projector (no sound necessary)
    • A screen
    • A table
    • A chair
    • A microhpone
    • An extension cord if necessary for laptop and LCD

    After seeing a news report of outrageous celebrity requirements, I once joked that I require blue M&Ms and arrived at a school only to find a huge bowl of... blue M&Ms! So fear not, there are no ridiculous demands! If the laptop or projector are not available, please let me know prior to the visit.

    For the interactive Writing Workshops, students do not need to bring notebooks or pencils. Lisa simply needs a chalkboard and chalk or a whiteboard and dry erase markers.


    To make the Book sale as easy as possible for everyone involved, Lisa handles book sales in the following manner:

    Pre-orders: Lisa sends schools order forms that have the cover of each available title, a brief summary, and a place for inscriptions. Order forms should be distributed 2-3 weeks prior to the visit. Schools may keep all returned order slips in an envelope and mail the slips (Priority Mail) directly to Lisa, 6-7 days before the visit. All books will be personalized, signed, and delivered on the day of the visit.

    Post Visit Orders: It never fails, once students and teachers see the assemblies, they realize they forgot to order books or need more! No problem! Schools have a post-visit book sale for 1 week after the visit. All order slips are sent together and Lisa will personalize, autograph, and ship, freight-free, to the school.



    Lisa Funari Willever
    415 Route 68
    Columbus, New Jersey 08022
    Telephone: 609-209-9202
    Fax: 609-291-7807


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