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  • Writer's pictureLaurel Abell

Introducing...Professor YaYa, the Anti-Critic!

First things first...let me explain the name. When I was in grad school at VCFA earning my MFA in writing for children & young adults, my very first ever grandchild made her very grand entrance into the world, making me her YaYa.


I was in Vermont and she arrived in Michigan, so this is how I first met Hope: as a photo on my phone! I fell in love instantly!

Then, a year later, Layla wiggled into my heart.


And pretty soon my lap will be overflowing when Madeline shows up for stories & hugs!


So, yeah, I've DEFINITELY gone YaYa!


And then, soon after I received my two degrees...


This girl graduated Summa Cum Laude from Towson University!

I'm in the back left, peeking between Ashley and Jiton! PhDs get capped; MFAs get robed.

...I landed a job teaching writing at Stevenson University. The first day I walked into class and introduced myself was the first time anyone ever called me "professor" anything! I literally got chills. It's only a part-time gig because I need creative time and energy to write, but it is the first time I had a legit job with my legit degrees!


So, now I've completely morphed into Professor YaYa.


But why "the Anti-Critic"?


I LOVE to collect, read, talk about, & give away picture books. I truly believe all stories are important and have their very own audience, and I see something wonderful in every single one. I discover all the silver linings and hidden gems, the rainbows and miracles, the sunshine in the shadows. I mean, "no one likes a critic," right? So, rather than talk about the books that don’t resonate with me, I will champion the stories that knock my socks off!


Here are a few that do:


One of my absolute, all-time FAVORITE things is being on Maryland's Black-Eyed Susan Picture Book Award Committee!

This is all to say that Professor YaYa, the Anti-Critic is ready to blog about wonderful & inspiring books as they're launched into the atmosphere. Every now and then, I'll share a classic or a middle grade novel or even a graphic novel. AND, dun dun da dun...


there will be give-aways!


If you love littles or teach littles or just want to bless littles, I'll have some picture books for you! So, stay tuned!






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