Navarra, Tova 1948–

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Navarra, Tova 1948–

PERSONAL: Born July 10, 1948, in Newark, NJ; daughter of Joe (a paperhanger and painter) and Rose (a registered nurse) Treihart; married John G. Navarra, Jr., August 26, 1967 (divorced, 1998); children: Yolanda, John G. III. Ethnicity: "Italian/Spanish/Hungarian." Education: Seton Hall University, B.A. (magna cum laude), 1974; Brookdale Community College, A.A.S. (with honors), 1984; graduate study at Fairleigh Dickinson University; also earned R.N. license. Religion: "Don't mind if I do on occasion." Hobbies and other interests: Singing, guitar, piano, Middle Eastern interpretive dance ("oh, okay—belly dancing"), crafts, interior design, photography.

ADDRESSES: Home—Rumson, NJ. Agent—Faith H. Hamlin, Sanford J. Greenburger Associates, 55 5th Ave., New York, NY 10003.

CAREER: Elementary schoolteacher in Jersey City, NJ, 1967–69; Village Times, Long Island, NY, correspondent, 1974–75; Seton Hall Preparatory School, South Orange, NJ, teacher of music, humanities, German, art, and art history, 1975–78; Asbury Park Press, Neptune, NJ, entertainment and feature writer and press correspondent, 1978–85, feature writer, art critic, and family writer, 1985–92; Two River Times, feature writer and art columnist, 1993–94; Courier, associate editor, 1998–99, lifestyle editor, 1999–2000; freelance writer, 2000–. New Jersey Music and Arts, staff writer, illustrator, and photographer, 1978–81; Shore Affinity, founder and publisher, 1979–81; Associated University Presses, book editor, 1981–82; Jersey Shore Medical Center, copywriter and photographer, 1985; Copley News Service, feature writer and columnist, 1988–93. Registered nurse; Witmer House, psychiatric charge nurse, 1985; Visiting Nurse Association of Central Jersey, Red Bank, NJ, supervisor of grant research, 1993–94. State of New Jersey, member of Governor's Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Prevention and co-chair of Later Childhood Subcommittee, 1992–97. Photographer, with solo exhibitions at galleries in NY, NJ, and PA. New Jersey Playwrights Workshop, charter member; lecturer at writing conferences; guest on television and radio programs.


(Illustrator) Drugs and Man, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1973.

The New Jersey Shore: A Vanishing Splendor, Philadelphia Art Alliance Press (Philadelphia, PA), 1985.

Jim Gary: His Life and Art, HFN (New York, NY), 1987.

Through the Kunai Grass with Dad (staged reading), first performed in Red Bank, NJ, at Count Basie Theater, 1988.

Playing It Smart: What to Do When You're on Your Own, Barron's (New York, NY), 1989, published as On My Own: Helping Kids Help Themselves, 1994, updated edition published as The Kids' Guidebook: Great Advice to Help Kids Cope, 2002.

Don't Cry, Pandora (staged reading), first performed in Red Bank, NJ, at Count Basie Theater, 1989.

Your Body: Highlights of Human Anatomy, Asbury Park Press (Asbury Park, NJ), 1990.

(With Myron A. Lipkowitz and John G. Navarra) Therapeutic Communication: A Guide to Effective Interpersonal Skills for Health Care Professionals, Slack (Thorofare, NJ), 1990.

(With Lipkowitz) Allergies A-Z, Facts on File (New York, NY), 1994.

Toward Painless Writing: A Guide for Health Professionals, Slack (Thorofare, NJ), 1995.

An Insider's Guide to Home Health Care, Slack (Thorofare, NJ), 1995.

(With Lipkowitz) Encyclopedia of Vitamins, Minerals, and Supplements, Facts on File (New York, NY), 1995, 2nd edition (sole editor), 2004.

Wisdom for Caregivers, Slack (Thorofare, NJ), 1995.

Images of America: Howell and Farmingdale, a Social and Cultural History, Arcadia (Mount Pleasant, SC), 1996.

Images of America: Levittown, the First Fifty Years, Arcadia (Mount Pleasant, SC), 1997.

Images of America: Staten Island, Arcadia (Mount Pleasant, SC), Volume 1, 1997, Volume II: A Closer Look, 1999.

The American Century Series: Staten Island, Arcadia (Mount Pleasant, SC), 1998.

Images of America: Levittown II, Arcadia (Mount Pleasant, SC), 1999.

Seton Hall University: A Photographic History, Arcadia (Mount Pleasant, SC), 1999.

Encyclopedia of Asthma and Respiratory Disorders, Facts on File (New York, NY), 2001.

Young People/Tough Problems, Barron's (Hauppauge, NY), 2002.

The Encyclopedia of Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Facts on File (New York, NY), 2004.

Contributor of photographs to books. Health trend columnist, Personal Fitness, 1989–90. Contributor of articles and photographs to magazines and newspapers; contributing editor, American Journal of Nursing, 1990–94. Playing It Smart: What to Do When You're on Your Own has been translated into Italian, Portuguese, and Hebrew.

SIDELIGHTS: Tova Navarra has used her experience as a school teacher and a registered nurse in writing nonfiction books about medical subjects aimed at a general audience. As a journalist she has written on health topics for many news publications, including the New York Times and the Asbury Park Press. Additionally, she is a Reiki master and has written extensively about alternative medicine in an era that has seen a burgeoning interest on such topics. Her other far-ranging topics include therapeutic communication, home health care, art, and photographic publications about Levittown and Staten Island.

Navarra's reference works Encyclopedia of Vitamins, Minerals, and Supplements and The Encyclopedia of Complementary and Alternative Medicine both provide hundreds of topic entries for readers seeking an unbiased source of information on substances and practices comprising a largely unregulated multi-billion dollar industry. She explores subjects variously hailed and reviled in the mainstream media, such as Fen-phen, Reishi mushrooms, Stevia leaf powder, and practices such as yoga and Ayurveda, noting that some nontraditional medical practices are becoming mainstream. Navarra explains how each substance or treatment affects the body, and how they interact with other substances and treatments. The Encyclopedia of Vitamins, Minerals, and Supplements "provides nonjudgmental coverage of nutritional options without advocating any particular ones," wrote Carole Deily in Booklist, and The Encyclopedia of Complementary and Alternative Medicine "provides a starting point for further exploration," according to a Booklist reviewer.

Navarra has written several books on allergies and asthma, including Allergies A-Z, which she cowrote with Myron A. Lipkowitz. The book presents easy-to-understand information for a general audience, including a history of immunology and allergies, various drugs used to treat asthma and allergies, explanations of different trees and weeds that cause hay fever and animals that commonly cause allergic reactions, as well as discussions of illnesses that can be related or exacerbated by allergies, including lupus, diabetes, and AIDS. The book "is an excellent introduction to a complex subject," wrote a reviewer for Booklist, and Martha E. Stone, writing in RQ, called it "a highly readable and welcome text."

Another of Navarra's frequent topics is safety for children, which she wrote about in Playing It Smart: What to Do When You're On Your Own, which was updated fifteen years later as The Kids' Guidebook: Great Advice to Help Kids Cope, which is aimed at helping children become more independent by giving them the tools to deal with unforeseen circumstances, like what to do when the electricity goes out if they are home alone. For both parents and their children, the book is "a great tool," wrote Krista Tokarz in a review for the School Library Journal.

Navarra once told CA: "I started writing weird poems when I was a child, not only to express myself creatively, but to spook my parents. I spent hours alone in my room, making drawings and writing poems and short stories, and binding them with decorated cardboard and yarn. It seems I always wrote, as if I were expelled from the womb on account of all the graffiti.

"As a registered nurse, former elementary and high school teacher, and journalist, and to date the author of several diverse books, I think writing is breathing. Some breaths are shallow, some deep and transforming. A lot of my early prose was purple and short of breath as hell.

"Perhaps the deepest, most transforming book is one I never dreamed I would write: Playing It Smart: What to Do When You're on Your Own, a self-help book for children dealing with health, safety, and emotional and ethical issues. It was endorsed by Dr. Norman Vincent Peale and translated into Italian, Portuguese, and Hebrew. I consider Playing It Smart my tour de force because children and adults all over tell me they like it, learn from it, and need it.

"Other work, such as my yet unpublished novels and plays, leaves me panting like a marathon runner determined to win, and soon. I have never lost the joy of finally holding the published book that required a long, difficult gestation period.

"When I stop breathing altogether, I believe my spirit will continue to guide somebody else's pen. I hope so, because I have had undeniable experiences with muses from another dimension, muses who gave me countless ideas, words, and a mighty, idiotic courage to hang in there, no matter what.

"Am I a good writer, you ask? To be honest, when I'm good, I am 'very, very good, and when I am bad, I am horrid.'"

Navarra later added: "My life's quest is to be creative, to offer valuable and reliable information to readers, to work toward advocacy for all those who need to develop self-respect, positive experiences, and the wherewithal to make positive contributions to humanity. I believe wholeheartedly that everything I have learned and continue to learn as a writer, artist, teacher, and health care professional shapes my desire to contribute, and consistently affords me a more open mind and a pool of experience and knowledge from which to draw no matter what my designated tasks."



Booklist, November 15, 1994, review of Allergies A-Z, p. 621; May 1, 1996, review of The Encyclopedia of Vitamins, Minerals and Supplements, p. 1524; February 15, 2002, Mary Ellen Quinn, review of The Encyclopedia of Allergies, p. 1043; June 1, 2003, review of The Encyclopedia of Asthma and Respiratory Disorders, p. 1828; May 15, 2004, review of The Encyclopedia of Complementary and Alternative Medicine, p. 1654; December 15, 2004, Carole Deily, review of The Encyclopedia of Vitamins, Minerals, and Supplements, p. 757.

RQ, spring, 1995, Martha E. Stone, review of Allergies A-Z, p. 385.

School Library Journal, March, 2003, Krista Tokarz, review of The Kids' Guidebook: Great Advice to Help Kids Cope, p. 254; October, 2003, review of The Kids' Guidebook, p. S51.