Bonsignore, Joan 1959-
BONSIGNORE, Joan 1959-
PERSONAL: Born March 17, 1959, in Chicago, IL; daughter of John (a university professor) and Fenna Lee (a pharmacist; maiden name, Fisher) Bonsignore; children: Catherine. Ethnicity: "European descent." Education: University of Massachusetts—Amherst, B.A. (English; cum laude), 1982, M.B.A., 1984, Post-B.A., 1989. Politics: Democrat. Religion: Catholic.
Hobbies and other interests: "Quilting (with focus on design), cooking, baking, crafts of all kinds."
ADDRESSES: Home—6B Graves St., South Deerfield, MA 01373. Offıce—White Brook Middle School, 200 Park St., Easthampton, MA 01027. E-mail— bonsignorejEeasthampton.k12.ma.us.
CAREER: Teacher, beginning 1984. Center for Human Resources Development, Northhampton, MA, case manager for adults with developmental disabilities, 1994-99.
Stick out Your Tongue!: Fantastic Facts, Features, andFunctions of Animal and Human Tongues, illustrated by John T. Ward, Peachtree Publishers (Atlanta, GA), 2001.
WORK IN PROGRESS: Sequels to Stick out Your Tongue! on a variety of topics.
SIDELIGHTS: After teaching for around fifteen years, Joan Bonsignore began a new career; she put her experience in the classroom to a new use as a writer of books for children, making her debut in 2001 with the nonfiction Stick out Your Tongue!: Fantastic Facts, Features, and Functions of Animal and Human Tongues. Like many children who later become writers and teachers, Bonsignore explored these activities as a child. As she recalled to CA, "Teaching and writing are the two endeavors that piqued my enthusiasm from a very young age." The second child in a family of seven, she often taught her younger sisters, using the playroom as a school. "I translated everything to which I was exposed into a simpler format and language suitable for younger minds." So too with writing. "Writing stories for children became a focus from the moment I knew how to read. Creative writing was not encouraged so much in school, but it was something I took great pleasure in at home."
Along with such other creative endeavors as quilting, crafts, and cooking, writing remained a way for Bonsignore to express herself as an adult. While working as a teacher, she enjoyed writing, but she did not attempt to publish her work until after she retired from teaching. Bonsignore explained the genesis of Stick out Your Tongue! to CA: "The attempt at getting published was really just on a whim. The manuscript then titled Tongues Aren't Just for Licking Lollypops had been filed away for years with other stories I had written. I had put the original story in a readable format with my own watercolor sketches of the animals, so that I could read the book to children. It proved to have a wide age appeal, and so I decided eight years after its creation to send it out to a select number of publishers. I was both pleased and surprised when Peachtree Publishers accepted my manuscript." In Stick out Your Tongue!, as it ended up being titled, Bonsignore presents examples of how various creatures, such as mammals, reptiles, birds, insects, and fish use their tongues.
Reflecting on her writing plans, Bonsignore told CA: "I will continue to write children's stories on a wide variety of topics, and perhaps only a few will ever be sent out to publishers for consideration. It is wonderful to see my name officially in print, but I expect, as before, that the joy of writing will remain a personal pleasure regardless of its acceptance on any wider scale. To write a story for children is for one moment in time to see through the eyes of a child and to regain, if only for that moment, that wonderful innocence belonging only to the young."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, August, 2001, Catherine Andronik, review of Stick out Your Tongue!: Fantastic Facts, Features, and Functions of Animal and Human Tongues, p. 2124.
Kirkus Reviews, September 1, 2001, review of Stick out Your Tongue!, p. 1286.
School Library Journal, November, 2001, Margaret C. Howell, review of Stick out Your Tongue!, p. 140.