Mary Peace FinleyAward-winning author of books for young people
(cont. from previous page) The following article first appeared on November 20, 2005 in the Forum section of the Greeley Tribune A-13; by Vicki Heisler, 5th Grade Teacher at Meeker Elementary School, Greeley, CO. "She is real. She works hard at her craft. She is demanding of herself. She wonders. She lives surrounded by the “what” of her writing---taking on the persona of a Mexican woman at Bent’s Fort just before war breaks out with Mexico. She has explored the Southwest to be able to truly describe it. She gives new meaning to the word “research.” Somehow, copying the words from an encyclopedia article seems small and unworthy now.Mrs. Finley autographs our classroom copies of her trilogy. The children cradle the books like treasures. They wistfully request that I purchase her next book for our classroom library, even thought it has not been published yet, and they know that they will not be here when it takes its place on our shelves.When she is gone and the room is put back to its usual configuration, we muse upon our meeting. I tell my students that birders keep a life list of the species they have observed in the wild, but that I keep a life list of authors and illustrators whom I have met in person. I tell them, “You have made your first entry on your own life list. Don’t you wonder what fascinating person will be your next entry?” There is an audible sigh. And then I say, “Maybe someday one of you will be an entry on my life list. I will feel so proud.” Shining eyes look toward the future---and they smile." --Vicki Heisler is a fifth-grade teacher at Meeker Elementary School.John Evans School, Greeley, CO."After seeing Mary Peace Finley's presentation at John Evans Middle School, several aspects of her visit had students longing for more. Students entered the library and after a brief introduction, Ms. Finley captivated the audience as she played her flute and read chapter one from Soaring Eagle. (cont. on next page).