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Local Author Informs and Inspires Parkland 7th Graders

Parkland School welcomed local author Sarah Natale (Mondello) into the Learning Media Center on April 15, 2019 to speak to the seventh grade about writing, editing, and publishing as a career. Natale spoke to all 10 classes on “Book Publishing 101.”

“Sarah’s presentation was thoughtful, insightful, and held a room full of seventh graders’ attention!” said social studies teacher Amanda Manta. “She went over the steps it takes to become a writer and shared her experiences in doing so. Students were very much engaged and were excited to hear her story. She had fun prompts and a great PowerPoint to follow her talking points. What a great way to ignite young readers and writers to continue their dreams!”

Natale, age 22, is a McHenry County resident and recent graduate of Drake University. When she’s not writing, she works as a book publishing professional for a publisher in the area. Her literary career began as a teenager when a short story assignment in her high school creative writing class, written at age 17, took on a life of its own. The resulting short novel, The Kiss of Death, is a survival story set during the deadly plague in medieval London, with a hint of romance. At age 18, the story received a fine arts literary award and book deal with Kellan Publishing.

The seventh grade teachers found the historical component of the novel useful for teaching history units.

“Students were engaged with the story,” Manta said. “It kept them analyzing and critically thinking in a way that tied in History perfectly.”

“The students were so stunned about how the story ended,” language arts and social studies teacher Kate Metzler added. “They immediately got into groups on their own and began discussing various theories on what they think happened to Elizabeth and what will happen to Matthias.”

To learn more about Natale or to download the book’s supplementary Educator Guide, visit