Martineau, Diane 1940-

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Martineau, Diane 1940-

PERSONAL:

Born September 27, 1940, in Manchester, NH; daughter of Paul (a librarian) and Katherine (an elementary school teacher) Martineau; married Robert S. Leathers, 1962 (divorced, 1980); married Frank Ray (a professor) May 7, 1983; children: Katrina, Sonya, Marc, Amelia. Education: Rhode Island School of Design, B.A., 1962; State University of New York, M.A. Religion: Baha'i. Hobbies and other interests: Mosaic-making, silk painting, gardening.

ADDRESSES:

Home and office—McLean, NY. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Educator and author. Elementary-grade art teacher for thirty years.

MEMBER:

Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators.

WRITINGS:

The Wall on 7th Street, Llewellyn (Saint Paul, MN), 2005.

SIDELIGHTS:

After retiring from a thirty-year career as an elementary school art teacher, Diane Martineau turned to writing. Her first novel, The Wall on 7th Street, inspired by an old Iroquois tribe story. Twelve-year-old Toby attempts to cope with a move to a less-affluent section of Syracuse, New York, after his parents get divorced and he moves in with his mom. While he was first sold on the move because his mom grew up in the area, mother and son quickly realize that things have changed over time; their new home is on a street—the 7th Street of the novel's title—ruled by the Strafer gang. Determined to make the best of his new situation, Toby makes new friends, among them a homeless man named Moe, developing empathy for those closest to him while also dealing with his own conflicting feelings and loyalties. A School Library Journal reviewer wrote that The Wall on 7th Street "will appeal to readers who enjoy realistic fiction with a touch of fantasy and legend thrown in."

Martineau once commented: "When I retired after many years as an art teacher, I knew I wanted to write a novel for kids.

"I live in the heart of the what was once all Iroquois land, and it didn't take me long to decide that Syracuse, New York was the right setting for my story. According to the Iroquois, a remarkable event actually did take place on the shores of the Onondaga Lake centuries ago. Iroquois history and legend tell us that a visionary American Indian struggled against powerful forces and finally united the warring tribes of upstate New York. I wanted to introduce the Iroquois Peacemaker to young readers in a way that would be relevant today.

"Naturally, I wanted my story to be exciting, fun, and suspenseful, with a present-day hero that kids could really care about. I interwove Toby's problems—his parents' divorce, the pain of being uprooted from his father and friends, dealing with teen bullies, and his awakening concern for the homeless—with the legendary elements of the story. Community-building and my love for painting, especially painting murals, found their way into the novel. After working with children for many years, I knew that when young minds and hands work together on an art project, something magical and exciting can happen. I wanted to convey that magic in the book. One of my favorite comments from readers is: ‘I felt like I was painting the wall.’"

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

School Library Journal, January, 2006, review of The Wall on 7th Street, p. 138.

ONLINE

Allbook Reviews Online,http://www.allbookreviews.com/ (April 15, 2007), Shirley Roe, review of The Wall on 7th Street.

Llewellyn Publications Web site,http://www.llewellyn.com/ (April 15, 2007), "Diane Martineau."