Skip to main content
Select Source:

Franco, Betsy 1947-

Franco, Betsy 1947-

Personal

Born 1947; married; husband's name Douglas; children: James, Thomas, David. Education: Stanford University, B.A.; Lesley College, M.Ed.

Addresses

Office—P.O. Box 60487, Palo Alto, CA 94306. E-mail—francobe@aol.com.

Career

Writer and editor for children and adults; creator of educational materials.

Member

Authors Guild, Authors League.

Writings

Japan, illustrated by Jo Supancich, Evan-Moor, 1993.

Mexico, illustrated by Jo Supancich, Evan-Moor, 1993.

Russia, illustrated by Jo Supancich, Evan-Moor, 1993.

India, illustrated by Jo Supancich, Evan-Moor, 1994.

Nigeria, illustrated by Jo Supancich, Evan-Moor, 1994.

China, illustrated by Jo Supancich, Evan-Moor, 1994.

Brazil, illustrated by Cheryl Kirk Noll, Evan-Moor, 1995.

South Korea, illustrated by Cheryl Kirk Noll, Evan-Moor, 1995.

Italy, illustrated by Susan O'Neill, Evan-Moor, 1995.

Quiet Elegance: Japan through the Eyes of Nine American Artists, Charles E. Tuttle (Boston, MA), 1997.

Sorting All Sorts of Socks, illustrated by Sheila Lucas, Creative Publications (Mountain View, CA), 1997.

Fourscore and Seven, Good Year Books (Glenview, IL), 1999.

Grandpa's Quilt, illustrated by Linda A. Bild, Children's Press (New York, NY), 1999.

Write and Read Math Story Books, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1999.

Unfolding Mathematics with Unit Origami, Key Curriculum, 1999.

Shells, illustrated by Kristin Sorra, Children's Press (New York, NY), 2000.

Why the Frog Has Big Eyes, illustrated by Joung Un Kim, Harcourt, Brace (San Diego, CA), 2000.

Caring, Sharing, and Getting Along, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2000.

Thematic Poetry: On the Farm, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2000.

Twenty Marvelous Math Tales, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2000.

Thematic Poetry: Neighborhoods and Communities, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2000.

Thematic Poetry: Creepy Crawlies, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2000.

201 Thematic Riddle Poems to Build Literacy, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2000.

Thematic Poetry: All about Me!, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2000.

The Tortoise Who Bragged: A Chinese Tale with Trigrams, illustrated by Ann-Marie Perks, Stokes Publishing (Sunnyvale, CA), 2000.

My Pinkie Finger, illustrated by Margeaux Lucas, Children's Press (New York, NY), 2001.

Instant Poetry Frames for Primary Poets, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2001.

Fifteen Wonderful Writing Prompt Mini-Books, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2001.

Clever Calculator Cat, illustrated by Ann-Marie Perks, Stokes Publishing (Sunnyvale, CA), 2001.

Funny Fairy Tale Math, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2001.

Thematic Poetry: Transportation, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2001.

Clever Calculations about Cats and Other Cool Creatures (teacher resource book), Stokes Publishing (Sunnyvale, CA), 2001.

Adding Alligators and Other Easy-to-Read Math Stories, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2001.

Five-Minute Math Problem of the Day for Young Learners, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2001.

Twelve Genre Mini-Books, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2002.

Instant Math Practice Pages for Homework—or Anytime!, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2002.

Six Silly Seals, and Other Read-Aloud Story Skits, Teaching Resources, 2002.

Amazing Animals, illustrated by Jesse Reisch, Children's Press (New York, NY), 2002.

Pocket Poetry Mini-Books, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2002.

Silly Sally, illustrated by Stacey Lamb, Children's Press (New York, NY), 2002.

Jake's Cake Mistake, illustrated by Paul Harvey, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2002.

(With Claudine Jellison and Johanna Kaufman) Subtraction Fun, Pebble Books, 2002.

(With Denise Dauler) Math in Motion: Wiggle, Gallop, and Leap with Numbers, Creative Teaching Press, 2002.

Many Ways to 100, Yellow Umbrella Books (Mankato, MN), 2002.

A Bat Named Pat, illustrated by Bari Weissman, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2002.

Time to Estimate, Yellow Umbrella Books (Mankato, MN), 2002.

Marvelous Math Word Problem Mini-Books, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2002.

What's Zero?, Yellow Umbrella Books (Mankato, MN), 2002.

Going to Grandma's Farm, illustrated by Claudia Rueda, Children's Press (New York, NY), 2003.

Word Families: Guess-Me Poems and Puzzles, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2003.

Mathematickles!, illustrated by Steven Salerno, Margaret K. McElderry Books (New York, NY), 2003.

Amoeba Hop, illustrated by Christine Lavin, Puddle Jump Press, 2003.

Alphabet: Guess-Me Poems and Puzzles, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2003.

Counting Our Way to the 100th Day!: 100 Poems and 100 Pictures to Celebrate the 100th Day of School, illustrated by Steven Salerno, Margaret K. McElderry Books (New York, NY), 2004.

Conversations with a Poet: Inviting Poetry into K-12 Classrooms, Richard C. Owen (Katonah, NY), 2005.

Birdsongs: A Backwards Counting Book, illustrated by Steve Jenkins, Margaret K. McElderry (New York, NY), 2006.

Math Poetry: Linking Language and Math in a Fresh Way, Good Year Books (Tucson, AZ), 2006.

Summer Beat, illustrated by Charlotte Middleton, Margaret K. McElderry Books (New York, NY), 2007.

Bees, Snails, and Peacock Tails: Shapes—Naturally, illustrated by Steve Jenkins, Margaret K. McElderry Books (New York, NY), 2008.

Author of numerous workbooks, easy-level readers, easy mathematics resource books, and science resource books.

EDITOR

You Hear Me?: Poems and Writing by Teenage Boys, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2000.

Things I Have to Tell You: Poems and Writing by Teenage Girls, photographs by Nina Nickles, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2001.

(With Annette Ochoa and Traci Gourdine) Night Is Gone, Day Is Still Coming: Stories and Poems by American Indian Teenagers and Young Adults, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2003.

Falling Hard: Teenagers in Love, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2008.

Sidelights

Betsy Franco's many projects for children range widely across the educational and entertainment spectrums, from easy-level readers and books that use games and projects to teach basic skills to picture books to edited anthologies of poetry by teens. The poetry she collects in You Hear Me?: Poems and Writing by Teenage Boys, Things I Have to Tell You: Poems and Writing by Teenage Girls, Night Is Gone, Day Is Still Coming: Stories and Poems by American Indian Teenagers and Young Adults, and Falling Hard: Teenagers in Love reveal the authentic voices of contemporary Americans wrestling with typical issues, feelings, and challenges and share with readers what it feels like to come of age in a challenging and uncertain time.

Although she has gained prominence as an author, Franco initially studied to be a fine artist, and she still loves to paint. When her children were born, however, she realized that she could not spare the time needed for her visual art, so she channeled her creativity into writing. In her books for younger children, one of her first—and favorite—challenges was finding ways to make learning math fun; as she noted on her home page, "I particularly love to show how exciting, sassy, and creative math can be." In books such as Clever Calculator Cat, and Many Ways to 100, students can sharpen math skills through activities and riddles, while Marvelous Math Word Problem Mini-Books takes the challenge factor up a notch. With its lighthearted approach, Franco's Mathematickles! incorporates common math signs such as plus, minus, and parentheses in word poems about the seasons and the outdoor world. Noting Steven Salerno's colorful art, a Publishers Weekly critic praised Mathematickles! as a "nimble brain teaser" that "elevates basic mathematical concepts plus wordplay to the level of inspiration."

Franco and Salerno team up again for Counting Our Way to the 100th Day!: 100 Poems and 100 Pictures to Celebrate the 100th Day of School. Ranging from what Booklist contributor Gillian Engberg described as "whimsical arithmetic exercises" to "reassuring" verses designed to quell the fears of new students, the book is enhanced by Salerno's "stylish, cheerful gouache paintings." A more popular part of a child's year is the focus of Summer Beat, in which Franco uses alliteration and rhyme to chronicle the many activities that fill up summer vacation. Enhanced by Charlotte Middleton's digitally enhanced art, the poet's verses serve up "an energetic tribute to the sensations of summer," according to a Kirkus Reviews contributor.

In Birdsongs, a picture book featuring cut-paper collages by award-winning artist Steve Jenkins, Franco "spins a nature lesson in lucid language," according to Booklist contributor GraceAnne A. DeCandido. "The writing is lyrical and engaging," wrote Teresa Pfeifer in School Library Journal, the critic concluding that the "lavishly illustrated" Birdsongs "will engender a love for birds and an awareness of their unique music."

Franco's first edited anthology was inspired by her own teenage sons. When she decided to solicit poetry written by young men, some worried that she would not receive enough submissions to fill an entire book. Surprisingly, Franco received more manuscripts than she could use, and in You Hear Me? she assembles frank and honest verses on topics of importance to these teen poets, from homosexuality and dating to self-image, family and neighborhood issues, aspirations, and creativity. Sharon Korbeck, reviewing You Hear Me? for School Library Journal, cited the book's "fresh approach to hearing what today's youths have to say." In Booklist Hazel Rochman wrote that the poems have "more urgency than many YA novels," and concluded: "Many teens will recognize their search for themselves."

Things I Have to Tell You collects the poetry of teenage girls. A Horn Book reviewer wrote of the book that, "varying in tone, style, and degree of polish," the verses collected in Things I Have to Tell You "convey moments of strength and weakness, of anger, fear, and joy, commanding our attention from beginning to end."

Voices of both young men and young women are represented in Franco's Night Is Gone, Day Is Still Coming and Falling Hard, the first a collection of Native-American voices and the second a reflection of the ups and downs of first love. In her School Library Journal review of Night Is Gone, Day Is Still Coming, Sharon Korbek observed of the book's contributors: "Whether they feel oppressed, cheated, or inspired, these young people write from the depths of their souls."

In an online interview for Teenreads, Franco had some advice for aspiring authors. "You have things to say that no one else can say," she commented. "Just don't give up. Half of being a writer is being stubborn and believing in yourself, not so much in a self-esteem way, but knowing you have something to say…. In my case, I found I had to write all kinds of different types of books to make a living, from poetry to nonfiction, from adults to young children. Work very hard."

Biographical and Critical Sources

PERIODICALS

Booklist, October 1, 2000, Hazel Rochman, review of You Hear Me?: Poems and Writing by Teenage Boys, p. 330; August, 2004, Gillian Engberg, review of Counting Our Way to the 100th Day!: 100 Poems and 100 Picture to Celebrate the 100th Day of School, p. 1947; January 1, 2007, GraceAnne A. DeCandido, review of Birdsongs: A Backwards Counting Book, p. 114; May 15, 2007, Carolyn Phelan, review of Summer Beat, p. 53.

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, May, 2007, Deborah Stevenson, review of Birdsongs, p. 366; September, 2007, Hope Morrison, review of Summer Beat, p. 22.

Horn Book, May, 2001, review of Things I Have to Tell You: Poems and Writing by Teenage Girls, p. 343; July-August, 2003, Susan Dove Lempke, review of Mathematickles!, p. 472.

Kirkus Reviews, June 1, 2003, Betsy Franco, review of Mathematickles!, p. 803; July 1, 2003, review of Night Is Gone, Day Is Still Coming: Stories and Poems by American Indian Teens and Young Adults, p. 912; June 15, 2004, review of Counting Our Way to the 100th Day!, p. 576; December 1, 2006, review of Birdsongs, p. 1220; May 1, 2007, review of Summer Beat.

Publishers Weekly, June 16, 2003, review of Mathematickles!, p. 70; December 11, 2006, review of Birdsongs, p. 68.

School Library Journal, October, 2000, Sharon Korbeck, review of You Hear Me?, p. 183; May, 2001, Sharon Korbeck, review of Things I Have to Tell You, p. 164; August, 2003, Sharon Korbeck, review of Night Is Gone, Day Is Still Coming, p. 184; July, 2004, Lisa Gangemi Kropp, review of Counting Our Way to the 100th Day!, p. 93; September, 2006, Cris Reidel, review of Conversations with a Poet: Inviting Poetry into K-12 Classrooms, p. 252; January, 2007, Teresa Pfeifer, review of Birdsongs, p. 94; May, 2007, Gloria Koster, review of Summer Beat, p. 91.

Voice of Youth Advocates, October, 2001, review of Things I Have to Tell You, p. 308.

ONLINE

Betsy Franco Home Page,http://www.betsyfranco.com (March 10, 2008).

Candlewick Press Web site,http://www.candlewick.com/ (December 12, 2003), "Betsy Franco."

Teenreads.com,http://www.teenreads.com/ (December 12, 2003), interview with Franco.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Franco, Betsy 1947-." Something About the Author. . Encyclopedia.com. 19 Oct. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Franco, Betsy 1947-." Something About the Author. . Encyclopedia.com. (October 19, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/children/scholarly-magazines/franco-betsy-1947

"Franco, Betsy 1947-." Something About the Author. . Retrieved October 19, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/children/scholarly-magazines/franco-betsy-1947

Franco, Betsy

FRANCO, Betsy

Personal

Married; husband's name, Douglas; children: James, Thomas, David. Education: Stanford University, B.A.; Lesley College, M.Ed.

Addresses

Office P.O. Box 60487, Palo Alto, CA 94306. E-mail francobe@aol.com.

Career

Writer and editor for children and adults; creator of educational materials.

Writings

Japan, illustrated by Jo Supancich, Evan-Moor, 1993.

Mexico, illustrated by Jo Supancich, Evan-Moor, 1993.

Russia, illustrated by Jo Supancich, Evan-Moor, 1993.

India, illustrated by Jo Supancich, Evan-Moor, 1994.

Nigeria, illustrated by Jo Supancich, Evan-Moor, 1994.

China, illustrated by Jo Supancich, Evan-Moor, 1994.

Brazil, illustrated by Cheryl Kirk Noll, Evan-Moor, 1995.

South Korea, illustrated by Cheryl Kirk Noll, Evan-Moor, 1995.

Italy, illustrated by Susan O'Neill, Evan-Moor, 1995.

Quiet Elegance: Japan through the Eyes of Nine American Artists, Charles E. Tuttle (Boston, MA), 1997.

Sorting All Sorts of Socks, illustrated by Sheila Lucas, Creative Publications (Mountain View, CA), 1997.

Fourscore and Seven, Good Year Books (Glenview, IL), 1999.

Grandpa's Quilt, illustrated by Linda A. Bild, Children's Press (New York, NY), 1999.

Write and Read Math Story Books, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1999.

Unfolding Mathematics with Unit Origami, Key Curriculum, 1999.

Shells, illustrated by Kristin Sorra, Children's Press (New York, NY), 2000.

Why the Frog Has Big Eyes, illustrated by Joung Un Kim, Harcourt, Brace (San Diego, CA), 2000.

Caring, Sharing, and Getting Along, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2000.

Thematic Poetry: On the Farm, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2000.

Twenty Marvelous Math Tales, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2000.

Thematic Poetry: Neighborhoods and Communities, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2000.

Thematic Poetry: Creepy Crawlies, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2000.

201 Thematic Riddle Poems to Build Literacy, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2000.

Thematic Poetry: All About Me!, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2000.

The Tortoise Who Bragged: A Chinese Tale with Trigrams, illustrated by Ann-Marie Perks, Stokes Publishing (Sunnyvale, CA), 2000.

My Pinkie Finger, illustrated by Margeaux Lucas, Children's Press (New York, NY), 2001.

Instant Poetry Frames for Primary Poets, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2001.

Fifteen Wonderful Writing Prompt Mini-Books, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2001.

Clever Calculator Cat, illustrated by Ann-Marie Perks, Stokes Publishing (Sunnyvale, CA), 2001.

Funny Fairy Tale Math, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2001.

Thematic Poetry: Transportation, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2001.

Clever Calculations about Cats and Other Cool Creatures (teacher resource book), Stokes Publishing (Sunnyvale, CA), 2001.

Adding Alligators and Other Easy-to-Read Math Stories, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2001.

Five-Minute Math Problem of the Day for Young Learners, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2001.

Twelve Genre Mini-Books, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2002.

Instant Math Practice Pages for Homeworkor Anytime!, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2002.

Six Silly Seals and Other Read-Aloud Story Skits, Teaching Resources, 2002.

Amazing Animals, illustrated by Jesse Reisch, Children's Press (New York, NY), 2002.

Pocket Poetry Mini-Books, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2002.

Silly Sally, illustrated by Stacey Lamb, Children's Press (New York, NY), 2002.

Jake's Cake Mistake, illustrated by Paul Harvey, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2002.

(With Claudine Jellison and Johanna Kaufman) Subtraction Fun, Pebble Books, 2002.

(With Denise Dauler) Math in Motion: Wiggle, Gallop, and Leap with Numbers, Creative Teaching Press, 2002.

Many Ways to 100, Yellow Umbrella Books (Mankato, MN), 2002.

A Bat Named Pat, illustrated by Bari Weissman, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2002.

Subtraction Fun, Yellow Umbrella Books (Mankato, MN), 2002.

Time to Estimate, Yellow Umbrella Books (Mankato, MN), 2002.

Marvelous Math Word Problem Mini-Books, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2002.

What's Zero?, Yellow Umbrella Books (Mankato, MN), 2002.

Going to Grandma's Farm, illustrated by Claudia Rueda, Children's Press (New York, NY), 2003.

Word Families: Guess-Me Poems and Puzzles, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2003.

Mathematickles!, illustrated by Steven Salerno, Margaret K. McElderry Books (New York, NY), 2003.

Amoeba Hop, illustrated by Christine Lavin, Puddle Jump Press, 2003.

Alphabet: Guess-Me Poems and Puzzles, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2003.

Counting Our Way to the 100th Day!: 100 Poems and 100 Pictures to Celebrate the 100th Day of School, illustrated by Steven Salerno, Margaret K. McElderry Books (New York, NY), 2004.

editor

You Hear Me?: Poems and Writing by Teenage Boys, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2000.

Things I Have to Tell You: Poems and Writing by Teenage Girls, photographs by Nina Nickles, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2001.

(With Annette Ochoa and Traci Gourdine) Night Is Gone, Day Is Still Coming: Stories and Poems by American Indian Teenagers and Young Adults, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2003.

Author of numerous workbooks, easy level readers, easy mathematics resource books, and science resource books.

Sidelights

Betsy Franco's many projects for children range widely across the educational and entertainment spectrums. Franco has written easy level readers for use in schools, mathematics books that rely on games and projects to teach basic skills, and picture books for reading out loud. She has also become known as the editor of three important anthologies of poetry by teenagers: You Hear Me?: Poems and Writing by Teenage Boys; Things I have to Tell You: Poems and Writing by Teenage Girls; and Night Is Gone, Day Is Still Coming: Stories and Poems by American Indian Teenagers and Young Adults. In these books, the authentic voices of American teens describe what it feels like to be young today.

Franco studied to be a fine artist, and she still loves to paint. When her children were born, however, she realized that she could not spare the time for her visual art, so she decided to try creative writing. One of her favorite challenges is making math fun for children. In books such as Clever Calculator Cat and Many Ways to 100, students sharpen math skills through activities and riddles. Mathematickles! uses the common math signs such as plus, minus, and parentheses in word poems about the seasons and the outdoor world. A Publishers Weekly critic praised Mathematickles! as a "nimble brain teaser" that "elevates basic mathematical concepts plus wordplay to the level of inspiration."

Inspired by her own teenage sons, Franco decided to solicit poetry from young men for inclusion in an anthology. Skeptics warned that she would not receive enough submissions from teenage boys to fill a book, but she soon had attracted more manuscripts than she could use. You Hear Me?: Poems and Writings by Teenage Boys contains frank and honest poetry on every subject of importance to young men, from homosexuality and dating to self-image, family and neighborhood issues, aspirations, and creativityall written by teenagers. Sharon Korbeck in School Library Journal called the book "a fresh approach to hearing what today's youths have to say." Booklist correspondent Hazel Rochman found the poems to have "more urgency than many YA novels." She concluded: "Many teens will recognize their search for themselves."

Things I Have to Tell You and Night Is Gone, Day Is Still Coming collect the poetry of teenage girls and teenage Native Americans respectively. Both books have received the same warm reviews that greeted You Hear Me? A Horn Book reviewer wrote of Things I Have to Tell You: "Varying in tone, style, and degree of polish, the entries convey moments of strength and weakness, of anger, fear, and joy, commanding our attention from beginning to end." In her School Library Journal review of Night Is Gone, Day Is Still Coming, Sharon Korbek observed: "Whether they feel oppressed, cheated, or inspired, these young people write from the depths of their souls."

In an interview with Teenreads, Franco had some advice for aspiring authors. "You have things to say that no one else can say," she commented. "Just don't give up. Half of being a writer is being stubborn and believing in yourself, not so much in a self-esteem way, but knowing you have something to say. In my case, I found I had to write all kinds of different types of books to make a living, from poetry to nonfiction, from adults to young children. Work very hard."

Biographical and Critical Sources

periodicals

Booklist, October 1, 2000, Hazel Rochman, review of You Hear Me?: Poems and Writings by Teenage Boys, p. 330.

Horn Book, May, 2001, review of Things I Have to Tell You: Poems and Writing by Teenage Girls, p. 343; July-August, 2003, Susan Dove Lempke, review of Mathematickles!, p. 472.

Publishers Weekly, June 16, 2003, review of Mathematickles!, p. 70.

School Library Journal, October, 2000, Sharon Korbeck, review of You Hear Me?, p. 183; May, 2001, Sharon Korbeck, review of Things I Have to Tell You: Poems and Writing by Teenage Girls, p. 164; August, 2003, Sharon Korbeck, review of Night Is Gone, Day Is Still Coming: Stories and Poems by American Indian Teens and Young Adults, p. 184.

online

Betsy Franco Home Page, http://www.betsyfranco.com/ (December 12, 2003), author's home page.

Candlewick Press, http://www.candlewick.com/ (December 12, 2003), "Betsy Franco."

Teenreads, http://www.teenreads.com/ (December 12, 2003), interviews with Franco.*

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Franco, Betsy." Something About the Author. . Encyclopedia.com. 19 Oct. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Franco, Betsy." Something About the Author. . Encyclopedia.com. (October 19, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/children/scholarly-magazines/franco-betsy

"Franco, Betsy." Something About the Author. . Retrieved October 19, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/children/scholarly-magazines/franco-betsy