Hello teachers!


Where to buy the books

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About the

The Books of Umber:
-Happenstance Found
-Dragon Games

-The End of Time

The Thief and
the Beanstalk

The Brave

The Eye of 
the Warlock

The Mirror's Tale

The Riddle
of the Gnome

And more:

Author's sketchpad

About the

and answers

Just for teachers


Contact the author at pwcatanese@aol.com

One of the best things about becoming an author is the chance to talk with teachers and kids who've embraced my work, and to make classroom visits. If you're on Facebook, please become a fan and say hello!

School visits. 
I have visited schools all over the country, in Connecticut, Florida, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Nevada and other states. The results have been great. My visits range from individual classes to large assemblies. I talk about where inspiration comes from, the critical importance of rewriting, and important elements of adventure novels (and all novels, for that matter. 
Here are some printable pages, if you'd like to share some information about my presentations:

If you're interested in a visit, contact me.  I can send you a pdf with more information. And if a visit isn't possible, try this: read one of my books aloud in class, and put together a list of questions about the book and writing. Email me the questions, and I'll respond to every one. (I promise!) It's a fun and easy way for readers and this author to make a connection.

Looking for an exciting read-aloud for your class?
Try one of my titles. Considering the great feedback I've gotten from teachers who have used my books in their classrooms, it's safe to say that these titles -- especially The Thief and the Beanstalk -- are a read-aloud sensation. Also, they have frequently inspired reluctant readers to get excited about reading. Here are just a few reactions:

"I wanted to send you a note to compliment you on your books.  My kids were doing a book project on whether or not their character was a hero about 4 years ago.  I found "Thief and the Beanstalk" at a Scholastic Book fair and I read it myself (because I do the projects with the kids).  I couldn't put it down!  I forgot at some point that I was reading a "kid's book."  The story has so many teachable moments, we now read this book as a grade level - all classes.  We use it to discuss what a hero really is; we use it to practice our own writing; we use it to teach figurative language and sensory details; we keep finding more and more every time we read it!  Most exciting of all is that the kids are disappointed when class is over - I always leave them at a cliffhanger moment  :)  Thank you for your writing!  Books like yours make teaching reading fun again!
 - Cheryl Goggins, Hastings Middle School, Hastings, MI 

I am a 4th grade teacher in Indiana and I just wanted to thank you for writing such an outstanding book.  I just read The Thief and the Beanstalk aloud to my class and I can honestly say that Iíve never had a class more mesmerized in my 11 years of teaching.  I have numerous pages marked in the book of examples of good writing that we will refer back to throughout the year in Writing Workshop.  I have had kids begging for your other books and will probably read the other ones throughout the year.  This week was our week to give Indianaís standardized test, so kids have been drained from hours quiet working time.  What kept them going and motivated this week was that we were going to finish your book.  I just wanted to let you know the impact that your book has had on one class and that you are our new literary hero.  Thanks again.
- Andy Ogle, 4th grade teacher, North Side Elementary, Kendallville, Indiana

Someone found this comment on a blog and passed it on to me - it's from a teacher in Fort Wayne, Indiana. I'd love to hear from this teacher, and hope she doesn't mind that I reproduced her comments here:
If you want a great book to do accountable talk with, The Thief and the Beanstalk by P.W. Catanese is the book FOR YOU. The students come to the plate with so many prior connections because it is a spin off of Jack and the Beanstalk. I have never had a group of students so engaged in deep discussions as with this book. We started our discussion by asking each other if a thief can be a hero too? The conversations just grew from there. The book is on numerous middle school book lists, but my fourth graders did an EXCELLENT JOB! The author has a follow up book called, The Brave Apprentice. I am reading it right now.

Here's a note from Stacy, a fifth-grade teacher in New Jersey - from her review on Amazon:
"I was asked to review a book for a book fair at school and handed The Thief and the Beanstalk. I kind of groaned when I looked at the length of it, but I needed a read aloud for my fifth grade class in May, so I figured go for it. I am so glad I did. Every day I would read the adventures of Nick and Jack and all the other characters and my kids LOVED it. When I would stop at the end of the chapter, groans could be heard. I was even asked by students in another class if they could come and listen to me read during sustained silent reading time! Now my students are great readers and tough on books, but they LOVED this book right from the get go. And so did I. Not only did they then buy every copy of the book at the book fair, their writing also became better. By listening to the words of P.W. Catanese, I saw their writing improve by great use of vocabulary and imagery. If you're looking for book to read to your fourth-sixth graders at night time this summer or one for them to read on their own, check out this book. You'll be glad you did."

A lesson plan for The Thief and the Beanstalk.
It was a nice surprise when I found this lesson plan for elementary school students on the Scholastic site. It includes discussion questions, recommended activities and a vocabulary exercise. (Note: If you haven't read the book yet, keep in mind that reading the lesson plan might spoil a couple of surprises in the story.)

Art teachers: See what this teacher is doing.
At Mt. Tabor in North Carolina, this is part of the curriculum for the high school honors art students: "Included in the 4th quarter assignment will be the reading of The Thief and the Beanstalk. This final piece of art should reflect technical and conceptual growth that the student is able to defend intelligently." That's exciting. That book is packed with variety of fantastic scenes that are rich in imagery and would make fascinating subjects for works of art. If anyone else would like to try that, please do! And let me know -- I'd love to see what students do. Such a project could be coordinated with an author visit as well.