Sandra K. Athans

Claire Charde

Sandra is a fourth-grade teacher and literacy specialist. She is the author of many teacher-practitioner books on literacy instruction and is often invited to share her knowledge and inspiration at national reading and writing conferences. Sandra is also an adjunct professor with the Department of Graduate Education at Le Moyne College. She enjoys writing children’s books, short stories, and theatrical scripts. Moreover, she is passionate about championing her students’ interests in reading and writing. Many of her students have received awards and accolades for their stories, poems, and other written materials.


What was your favorite book when you were a child?

I enjoyed the book Heidi. It featured the adventures of a young girl who went to live with her gruff grandfather in the Alps. I couldn’t believe that Heidi wore her entire wardrobe on her back as she climbed the mountain to her new home. But everything about this book was different and unexpected! Everything! It has since become a classic!

What’s your favorite line from a book?

One of my favorites lines is “Some Pig” from Charlotte’s Web. Even today, I’ll use the expression to exaggerate a thought or idea. It sticks (and it certainly helped save Wilber’s life) because it’s …some line!

Who are your top three favorite authors or illustrators?

I love Grace Lin’s Where the Mountain Meets the Moon. The writing is so simple yet so rich. That’s tricky! I also admire the nonfiction work of Sally Walker. Her books blend science, mystery, and adventure. The combination is brilliant! Russell Freedman also captures big stories in unique ways – through his photographs and words. You feel his stories deeply.

Why did you want to become an author or illustrator?

Although I think writing is hard, it’s magical. Through written words, ideas take shape and come alive. Then, readers react to the ideas and chuckle, dream, think deeply, or learn something new. It’s a magical chain reaction! Also, writing lets my imagination soar.

Do you have any advice for future authors or illustrators?

I always tell my students that they must be passionate about their topic in order for their writing to be good.