Paul Volponi

Paul Volponi is a writer, journalist and teacher living in New York City. For six years he taught incarcerated teens on Rikers Island to read and write, and for six years he taught teens in drug day-treatment centers. These experiences have influenced many of his novels. He is the author of Black and White (winner of the IRA Children's Book Award for YA Fiction), Rooftop, Rucker Park Setup and, most recently, Hurricane Song.

In his new book, Response, Paul Volponi uses alternating perspective and a range of narrative styles to give readers a fascinating and chilling insight into the timeline of a hate crime, from the first shocking blow to the jury's final decision. Visit his website at

If you are interested in having Paul Volponi make an appearance at your school, library, or conference, please use the online request form or email the Author Appearance Coordinator at authorvisits[at] with possible dates, your school name, location, details about the day, and your contact information.

Paul Volponi Virtual Visits

Are your classes reading one of award-winning author Paul Volponi's novels—Black and White, Rooftop, Rucker Park Setup, Hurricane Song, or Response? If so, contact Paul through his website to inquire about a virtual visit to your classroom via video-conferencing (Skype) or a speaker-phone conference. It's a great opportunity for your students to question the author about his work, learn about the writing process, and receive encouragement in their own writing.

Author Appearance Q&A with Paul Volponi:

Penguin: What is a typical appearance like with you? What do you do differently with audiences of varying sizes, ages, and interests?

Paul Volponi: I bring along a great Power-point presentation, which I use to inspire conversation between myself and the audience. I hope to speak with each member of the audience at least once during my visit, no matter the size of the audience. I ask about their lives, their own writing, and relate it all back to the world and my work. I also stick around afterwards to speak with students who did not want to ask a particular question in front of an audience.

Penguin: What makes your author appearances unique?

Paul Volponi: It's participation between me and the audience, giving opinions, talking about our lives, looking at the world, and playing fun and relevant games. It is not a straight lecture. It is a sharing.

Penguin: Do you enjoy making appearances for adult audiences? What do you do when presenting to adults?

Paul Volponi: Yes, I do a very similar show for educators, with a little different emphasis on helping and connecting to students.

Penguin: Do you enjoy traveling to other parts of the country for appearances?

Paul Volponi: I've been impressed with students and educators everywhere.

Penguin: Do you ever make appearances at more than one school in an area? Could schools and libraries from one area join together to bring you to their institution?

Paul Volponi: I think that's a great idea, and I have done that several times. I enjoy seeing as many students and educators as I can during a trip.

Penguin:What do you hope your audience will come away with from your presentation?

Paul Volponi: That reading and writing is part of life. That's it's the same as listening and speaking. That we are all in this life together, and novels, like music, TV and film, are just one way to share the experience.

Penguin: What was your most memorable appearance experience?

Paul Volponi: I will never forget reading parts of Rucker Park Setup, along with a student, over a loudspeaker to adolescents in a Michigan jail, as they were locked in their different areas, preparing for lights out and bedtime. It was really a different kind of good-night story experience.


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Do you have questions about an author visit or comments about this page? Please contact the author appearance coordinator.