A former teacher and children's librarian, Marianne now lives in Florida and writes full-time. She is an active presenter at schools and literacy conferences.
Marianne's programs are interactive. With "Marsh Music" the audience performs a frog chorus. In the "Ocean" and "Rainforest" books, children sing and act out the story. Programs can be geared to a course of study, e.g. wetlands, oceans, seashores, rain forests, the Arctic, The Solar System, Australia, woodland forests, animal analogies, how a tree grows, how fruits and vegetables grow, river animals, diurnal and nocturnal animals, and most recently, alligators and swamps.
Aspiring writers learn how a picture book is made, from the time Marianne gets her idea to when she is holding the finished product in her hands. Q&A's are an important part of her presentations, adjusted to the appropriate grade level. Marianne's goal is to inspire others to write stories, sharing their own thoughts, ideas and feelings.
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The illustrator of Marianne's first three books is watercolorist, Robert Noreika, a representational painter of nature. (www.RobertNoreikaArt.com)
Her next two books, "Over in the Ocean,in Coral Reef" and "Over in the Jungle, a Rainforest Rhyme, published by Dawn Publications, are illustrated by Jeanette Canyon, whose amazing colors and shapes are actually "eye-popping" photographs of reliefs sculpted from polymer clay. (www.jeanetteandchristophercanyon.com)
In 2008 two more books were released: "Going Around The Sun, Some Planetary Fun," cleverly illustrated by Janeen Mason. (www.JaneenMason.com) and "Over in the Arctic, Where The Cold Winds Blow," done in cut paper art by Jill Dubin. (www.JillDubin.com)
"Going Home, the Mystery of Animal Migration" was released in 2010, illustrated in gorgeous realistic double-page spreads by artist Jennifer DiRubbio.
"Over in Australia, Amazing Animals Down Under" again charmingly illustrated by Jill Dubin, was released in 2011 along with "Animalogy" illustrated by digital artist, Cathy Morrison. (http://www.cathymorrison.blogspot.com/) published by Arbordale Publishing..
"Over in the Forest: Come and Take A Peek" (Dawn Publications) was released in 2012, and is the third collaboration with illustrator, Jill Dubin. Also in 2012, "The Tree That Bear Climbed." (Arbordale Publishing) was beautifully illustrated by Kathleen Rietz. (http://www.kathleenrietz.com)
In 2013, three more books were added: "What's in the Garden?" illustrated by Cris Arbo and "Over in a River, Flowing Out to the Sea" (Jill Dubin) as well as "Anybody Home?" illustrated by Rebecca Dickenson.
2014 brought forth two more "informational" picture books both done digitally, "The Swamp Where Gator Hides," illustrated by Roberta Baird, and a second book with Cathy Morrison entitled "Daisylocks."
Marianne feels so fortunate that each illustrator brings a fresh and unique talent, using many different mediums. There are now ten different illustrators that make her words come alive.
What's next? "Over on a Mountain" the fifth collaboration with Jill, to be released in early 2015. Also coming in Fall 2015 is "Tortoise and Hare's Amazing Race (Cathy Morrison) Two others are in the works for 2016.
JUST SOME OF THE WONDERFUL AWARDS
Click on "My Books" to get complete list for each book
The Swamp Where Gator Hides 2014, DawnPublications, FAPA Gold Award, Literary Classics Award
Over in a River, Flowing Out to the Sea 2013, Dawn Publications, Mom's Gold Choice. Fl. Book Award,
What's in the Garden? 2013 - Dawn Pub. Mom's Choice Gold, Indie Book Award, Teachers' Choice Award
The Tree that Bear Climbed 2012. ArbordalePublishing - Kansas State Reading Circle Best Books!
Over in the Forest 2012, Dawn Pub - Mom's Choice Gold , NAPPA Award, Bank Street Best Book List
Animalogy, Animal Analogies 2011, Arbordale Publishing, Teachers Choice Award, Literary Classics Award
Over in the Australia 2011, Mom's Choice Gold Award, Skipping Stones Award, Teacher's Choice, Fl. Book Award.
Going Home, The Mystery of Animal Migration 2010, Moonbeam Gold Award, Green Book Festival, Mom's Choice
Over in the Arctic 2008, iParenting Media Award, Mom's Choice Gold, ForeWord Magazine Book of Year
Going Around the Sun, Some Planetary Fun '08, NSTA Recommends, iParenting Media .Mom's Choice, FRA Nominee.
Over in the Jungle, a Rainforest Rhyme '07, iParenting Media, IRA Teachers' Choice , NYSRA Charlotte Award
Over in the Ocean, in a Coral Reef Benjamin Franklin, Teacher's Choice, NAPPA Gold, Bank Street Best Book List, FRA Honor
Marsh Morning Lerner Books '03, FRA Award Nominee; Science Books & Films Best Book List
Seashells by the Seashore Dawn Publications '02, Learning Magazine Teacher's Choice
"Marianne Berkes' books sing of nature!"--The Palm Beach Post
"Marsh Music has the visual and verbal pizzazz to make it a read-it-again treat." --School Library Journal
"Seashells by the Seashore is an instructive shell hunt children will enjoy even if they can't feel sun on their backs and sand between their toes."--Booklist
Marsh Morning:"Through rhythmical verse couched in musical terms and luminous watercolor paintings, this book takes young readers through a day in a marsh from dawn to dark..Highly Recommended" --Science Books & Films
Over in the Ocean, in a Coral Reef "Eye-popping artwork is the star of the show in Berkes' lively, oceanic counting book, based on the classic children's song "Over in the Meadow." Canyon uses polymer clay to create arresting visuals..."--Kirkus
Over in the Jungle, a Rainforest Rhyme "This is a handsome book on an important subject, and it can serve as recreational reading as well as an introduction to a basic unit on the rain forest." --School Library Journal
More reviews on each "My Books" page, including books published in 2008 to present. For ISBN's click onto "My Works."
...Just a Few Endorsements from Educators:
"Marianne read her books to our K-4th graders and was awesome. Her program actively involves the students."
"Ms. Berkes is a wonderful and energetic presenter. Her program was lively, fun and educational."
"Marianne thoroughly entertained our students (and teachers) reading her wonderful books. We look forward to having her back again with her next book."
"Mrs. Berkes was a huge hit at our school with children from K-6. She conducted writer's workshops with our older kids, giving them important tips about how to be a good writer. The students really enjoyed being able to share their creations with a "real" author. Our younger students were spellbound by Mrs. Berkes' energy and enthusiasm as she read her wonderful books and explained what goes into making a "picture" book. What a fantastic experience for all."
"Marianne's lively presentation at our library's seminar for writers captured the attention of aspiring authors and fed their hopes. Her wondrous success story is tangible proof of a talent that will take her on even greater adventures."
"I watched my second graders absolutely spellbound by Marianne's quiet and effective reading of her book about shells. How she connected with the children was pure magic. You can tell she loves children and understands them so well. I cannot wait to introduce all of her books this year."
"Marianne Berkes is wonderful with children, truly involving them in her entertaining presentations. We were the Marsh Orchestra with its myriad frog songs, we heard the birds as morning was breaking, and we were the collectors of seashells. Mrs. Berkes makes her books come alive and the children love it. The stories are fun, informative, and very well written; and Mrs. Berkes brings them to life with her puppets, her bucket of shells, and her enchanting delivery."
"Marianne's interactive presentation "Fun, Fact and Fiction" provided literacy, math, music, art and science enrichment. We thoroughly enjoyed her visit and can't wait for her next book."
"I love the way Marianne adapts her presentations to different grade levels so that it is always age appropriate and meaningful and reinforces what the students are learning in the classroom. Her presentations are not only educational but also very entertaining. I have heard so many positive comments from both students and faculty."