Spizman, Robyn Freedman 1953-

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Spizman, Robyn Freedman 1953-

Personal

Born January 28, 1953, in Atlanta, GA; daughter of Jack and Phyllis (a community volunteer) Freedman; married Willy Spizman (a corporate executive in public relations), July 20, 1975; children: Justin, Ali. Ethnicity: "Caucasian." Education: Georgia State University, B.A.; also attended University of Texas at Austin.

Addresses

Home—Atlanta, GA. E-mail—[email protected]

Career

Writer and consumer advocate. Former art teacher; WXIA-TV, Atlanta, GA, presenter of television series Been There Bought That for over twenty-five years; guest on national television programs. Make-a-Wish Foundation, member of national advisory council.

Writings

MIDDLE-GRADE NOVELS

(With Mark Johnston) Secret Agent, Atheneum Books (New York, NY), 2005.

(With Mark Johnston) The Secret Agents Strike Back, Atheneum Books (New York, NY), 2007.

FOR GENERAL READERS

Good Apple and Bulletin Board Bonanza, McGraw-Hill (New York, NY), 1981.

Personalizing with Paint, Plaid Enterprises (Norcross, GA), 1983.

All Aboard with Bulletin Boards, Good Apple (Carthage, IL), 1983.

Bulletin Boards: Monthly Calendars of Learning Fun, Good Apple (Carthage, IL), 1984.

Bulletin Boards: Ideas for Science and Health, Good Apple (Carthage, IL), 1984.

Bulletin Boards: Letters, Borders, and Background Materials, McGraw-Hill (New York, NY), 1984.

Bulletin Boards to Promote Good Study Skills and Positive Self-Concepts, Good Apple (Carthage, IL), 1984.

Bulletin Boards: For Social Studies and Current Events, Good Apple (Carthage, IL), 1984.

Bulletin Boards: For the Whole School to Enjoy, McGraw-Hill (New York, NY), 1984.

Bulletin Boards: For Reading, Spelling, and Language Skills, Good Apple (Carthage, IL), 1984.

(With Evelyn Pesiri) Bulletin Boards: Seasonal Ideas and Activities, Good Apple (Carthage, IL), 1984.

Bulletin Boards: Ideas for Holidays and Special Days, Good Apple (Carthage, IL), 1984.

Bulletin Boards: To Reinforce Basic Math Skills, Good Apple (Carthage, IL), 1984.

Bulletin Boards: For Students to Make and Use, McGraw-Hill (New York, NY), 1985.

Lollipop Grapes and Clothespin Critters: Quick On-the-Spot Remedies for Restless Children 2-10, Addison-Wesley (Reading, MA), 1985.

(With Stephen W. Garber and Marianne Daniels Garber) Good Behavior: Over 1,200 Sensible Solutions to Your Child's Problems from Birth to Age Twelve, Villard Books (New York, NY), 1987.

Bulletin Boards Plus, Good Apple (Carthage, IL), 1989.

(With Stephen W. Garber and Marianne Daniels Garber) If Your Child Is Hyperactive, Inattentive, Impulsive, Distractible: Helping the ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) Hyperactive Child, Villard Books (New York, NY), 1990, published as If Your Child Is Hyperactive, Inattentive, Impulsive, Distractible: Helping the ADD/Hyperactive Child, 1995.

What on Earth Can You Do with Kids?, Good Apple (Carthage, IL), 1991.

Water Intermediate, Good Apple (Carthage, IL), 1992.

(With Marianne Daniels Garber) Air (Primary), Good Apple (Carthage, IL), 1992.

Land (Intermediate), Good Apple (Carthage, IL), 1992.

The Good Apple Big Book of Bulletin Boards, Good Apple (Carthage, IL), 1993.

(With Stephen W. Garber and Marianne Daniels Garber) Monsters under the Bed and Other Childhood Fears: Helping Your Child Overcome Anxieties, Fears, and Phobias, Villard Books (New York, NY), 1993.

(With Marianne Daniels Garber and Janet Ambrust) At-Home Activities for Math and Science: Hundreds of Activities to Increase Children's Love of Learning, Good Apple (Carthage, IL), 1994.

(With Marianne Daniels Garber and Janet Ambrust) At-Home Activities for Reading, Language Arts, and Social Studies: Hundreds of Activities to Increase Children's Love of Learning, Good Apple (Carthage, IL), 1994.

(With Marianne Daniels Garber and Corbin Hillam) Helping Kids Get Organized: Activities That Teach Time Management, Clutter Cleaning, Project Planning, and More, Good Apple (Carthage, IL), 1994.

(With Tracey Green) The Bad Day Book, Longstreet Press (Atlanta, GA), 1994.

The Thank You Book: Hundreds of Clever, Meaningful, and Purposeful Ways to Say Thank You, Longstreet Press (Atlanta, GA), 1994, updated edition, 1997.

(With Stephen W. Garber and Marianne Daniels Garber) Good Behavior Made Easy Handbook, Family Life Productions, 1995.

(With H. Jackson Brown, Jr.) A Hero in Every Heart: Champions from All Walks of Life Share Powerful Messages to Inspire the Hero in Each of Us, Thomas Nelson (Nashville, TN), 1996.

(With H. Jackson Brown, Jr.) A Hero in Every Heart: Messages to Motivate and Inspire the Best in You, Thomas Nelson (Nashville, TN), 1996.

(With Marianne Daniels Garber) Beyond Ritalin: Facts about Medication and Other Strategies for Helping Children, Adolescents, and Adults with Attention Deficit Disorders, Villard Books (New York, NY), 1996.

When Words Matter Most: Thoughtful Deeds and Kind Words for Every Occasion, Crown Publishers (New York, NY), 1996.

Kids on Board: Fun Things to Do While Commuting or Road Tripping with Children, Fairview Press (Minneapolis, MN), 1997.

Kitchen 101: Essential Information for Organizing Your Kitchen and Pantry, Ballantine Books (New York, NY), 1998.

Getting Organized: Wonderful Solutions for Making the Most of Your Living Space, Ballantine Books (New York, NY), 1998.

Supermarket Secrets, Ballantine Books (New York, NY), 1998.

Free and Fabulous, Ballantine Books (New York, NY), 1998.

Quick Tips for Busy People, Ballantine Books (New York, NY), 1998.

Meals in Minutes, Ballantine Books (New York, NY), 1998.

The Perfect Present: The Ultimate Gift Guide for Every Occasion, Crown Publishers (New York, NY), 1998.

Bet You Didn't Know: Smart Answers for Every Aspect of Your Life, Ballantine Books (New York, NY), 2000.

(With Ken Leebow) 300 Incredible Things to Learn on the Internet, 300Incredible.com (Marietta, GA), 2000.

(With Ken Leebow) 300 Incredible Things for Women on the Internet, 300Incredible.com (Marietta, GA), 2000.

(With H. Jackson Brown) Life's Little Instruction Book for Incurable Romantics: A Pulse-quickening Collection for and about People in Love, Rutledge Hill Press (Nashville, TN), 2001.

(With Michael Popkin) Getting Through to Your Kids: Talking to Children about Sex, Drugs and Alcohol, Safety, Violence, Death, Smoking, Self-Esteem, and Other Critical Issues, Perigee (New York, NY), 2002.

(With Tory Johnson and Lindsey Pollack) Women for Hire: The Ultimate Guide to Getting a Job, Perigee (New York, NY), 2002.

The Giftionary: An A-Z Reference Guide for Solving Your Gift-giving Dilemmas … Forever!, St. Martin's Griffin (New York, NY), 2003.

(With Tory Johnson) Women for Hire's Get-Ahead Guide to Career Success, Perigee (New York, NY), 2004.

Make It Memorable: An A-Z Guide to Making Any Event, Gift, or Occasion … Dazzling!, St. Martin's Griffin (New York, NY), 2004.

(With Tory Johnson) Take This Book to Work: How to Ask for (and Get) Money, Fulfillment, and Advancement, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 2006.

(With Stuart Gustafson) Questions to Bring You Closer to Dad: 100-plus Conversation Starters for Fathers and Children of Any Age, Adams Media (New York, NY), 2007.

(With Tory Johnson) Will Work from Home: Earn the Cash—Without the Commute, Berkley Books (New York, NY), 2008.

(With Rick Frishman) Where's Your Wow?: Sixteen Ways to Make Your Competitors Wish They Were You, McGraw-Hill (New York, NY), 2008.

(With Stuart Gustafson) Questions to Bring You Closer to Grandma and Grandpa: 100-plus Conversation Starters for Grandparents of Any Age, Adams Media (New York, NY), 2008.

(With Stuart Gustafson) Questions to Bring You Closer to Mom: 100-plus Conversation Starters for Mothers and Children of Any Age, Adams Media (New York, NY), 2008.

Also contributor to 21-volume "Crafts for Children" series, 1992-97. Author (with Diane Pfifer) of Dear Daughter: With Love from My Kitchen.

"AUTHOR 101" SERIES

(With Rick Frishman and Mark Steisel) Bestselling Book Publicity: The Insider's Guide to Promoting Your Book—and Yourself, Adams Publishing Group (Avon, MA), 2006.

(With Rick Frishman and Mark Steisel) Bestselling Secrets from Top Agents: The Insider's Guide to What Agents and Publishers Really Want, Adams Media (Avon, MA), 2006.

(With Rick Frishman and Mark Steisel) Bestselling Book Proposals: The Insider's Guide to Selling Your Work, Adams Media (Avon, MA), 2006.

(With Rick Frishman and Mark Steisel) Bestselling Nonfiction: The Insider's Guide to Making Reality Sell, Adams Media (Avon, MA), 2006.

Sidelights

A former art teacher, Robyn Freedman Spizman became a writer and television consumer advocate almost simultaneously. When she wrote her first book about a painting craft, Spizman appeared on a local television program to promote it and that appearance led to a job as the program's "Super Shopper." Among the many nonfiction titles she has written since are the "Author 101" writer's guides, which are coauthored with Rick Frishman and Mark Steisel. Spizman also teams up with Mark Johnston to enter the children's-book market with the middle-grade novels Secret Agent and The Secret Agent Strikes Back. Praising the "Author 101" installment Bestselling Secrets from Top Agents: The Insider's Guide to What Agents and Publishers Really Want, Chuck Leddy described the book in Writer as a "terrific introduction" to its subject that "lives up to its title."

Spizman once commented about writing her first work of fiction. "Having reported on books, gifts, and topics that relate to children," she explained, "my goal has al-

ways been to write a children's book series. I imagined a character named Kyle Parker, whose dream was to help sell his father's book. His dad was a struggling writer and his mom wanted his father to get a real job. Kyle thought if only he could sell his dad's book, he'd get his parents back together, since they had separated. To that end, Kyle enlists the kids in the neighborhood to become secret agents, and Kyle poses as an actual literary agent, breaking into the book world in New York City."

In Secret Agent, Spizman and Johnston bring Kyle Parker to life in the pages of a story that finds the high-school freshman infiltrating the New York City publishing world with the help of his friends, and stirring up publicity about his father's book and its "mystery author" in the process. In Booklist, Todd Morning praised Spizman and Johnston's fiction debut for containing "resourceful young people and an amusing and elaborate sting operation at its core." According to School Library Journal contributor Mary R. Hofmann, Secret Agent serves up "a strangely compelling adventure in which readers root for Kyle's success." Calling Kyle "ingenious," Claire Rosser wrote in Kliatt that Secret Agent is "light and funny," as well as "easy to read but [also] demanding some sophistication on the part of the reader."

Kyle's adventures continue in The Secret Agents Strike Back as he and good friend Lucinda Wilson attempt to help Lucinda's professor mom put to rest a mystery from her past that could compromise the woman's academic career. Praising the novel as "fast paced" and a good choice for reluctant readers, Donna Atmur added in School Library Journal that The Secret Agents Strike Back "is a lighthearted adventure filled with quirky characters."

"I love book writing …," Spizman also commented. "It is my sincere hope that my works touch readers in the same way that each of them has inspired or entertained me. I feel very fortunate to be a writer and wake up every day bringing books to life, sharing the works of other authors and enjoying every second of it! I look forward to spreading my knowledge and experience."

Biographical and Critical Sources

PERIODICALS

Booklist, April 15, 2005, Todd Morning, review of Secret Agent, p. 1457; August 1, 2008, Barbara Jacobs, review of Will Work from Home: Earn the Cash—Without the Commute, p. 18.

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, September, 2005, Karen Coats, review of Secret Agent, p. 46.

Kirkus Reviews, April 1, 2005, review of Secret Agent, p. 426; April 15, 2007, review of The Secret Agents Strike Back.

Kliatt, May, 2005, review of Secret Agent, p. 18.

Publishers Weekly, August 21, 2006, review of Take This Book to Work: How to Ask for (and Get) Money, Fulfillment, and Advancement, p. 59.

School Library Journal, March, 2005, Mary R. Hofmann, review of Secret Agent, p. 218; June, 2007, Donna Atmur, review of The Secret Agents Strike Back, p. 161.

Voice of Youth Advocates, August, 2005, Kevin Beach, review of Secret Agent, p. 226.

Women's Wear Daily, October 5, 2005, Caperton Gillett, "Luck Be a Lady: A Trio of Successful Atlanta Businesswomen Gather to Discuss Their Trip to the Top," p. 81.

Writer, April, 2006, Chuck Leddy, review of Bestselling Book Proposals: The Insider's Guide to Selling Your Work, p. 47, and Bestselling Secrets from Top Agents, p. 52.

ONLINE

Robyn Freedman Spizman Home Page,http://www.robynspizman.com (October 10, 2008).