For Immediate Release                      Contact:   Deborah Gilleran         or             Tara Strickland
                                                                       732.987.2266                             732.987.2291
                                                                       dgilleran@georgian.edu                       tstrickland@georgian.edu

Children’s Author Toni DePalma Reads from Her Latest Novel at GCU

Lakewood, N.J., Apr. 20, 2009—Toni DePalma, young adult literature author, will read from her novel Under the Banyan Tree on Wednesday, April 22, at 6:30 p.m. in the Little Theatre in the Arts and Science Center on the campus of Georgian Court University located at 900 Lakewood Avenue, Lakewood. This lecture is sponsored by the De LaSalle Education Club at GCU and is open to the public at no charge.

Toni De Palma holds an M.F.A. in writing for children and young adults from Vermont College. Born in Brooklyn, she grew up in New Jersey and divided her summers between the Jersey Shore and Italy. A love for new places inspires much of Toni’s writing. She still remembers the first time she saw a banyan tree during a family car trip to Florida. To this day, whenever she sees a banyan, she can’t resist sitting under it and looking up into its vast canopy of leaves. This is her first book for young adults.

Toni De Palma’s debut young adult novel Under the Banyan Tree, published by Holiday House, is a New Voices Pick by the Association of Booksellers for Children.

Book Summary
Irena’s not sure where she’s headed when she runs away from home; she just want to leave the trailer she shared with her mamma and daddy far behind. When she stumbles upon the Banyan Tree Motel, something tells her it’s exactly where she’s meant to be. The elderly owner, Carlotta, welcomes Irena, and the Banyan soon begins to feel like home. But trouble follows Irena wherever she goes, and the Banyan is no different: a mysterious guest, money problems, and secrets from her past soon threaten the stability of her new life. This moving story from a talented new voice revels in life’s joys and pains, and uncovers just what it really means to be a family.

Founded in 1908 and sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, Georgian Court University is a comprehensive university with a strong liberal arts core and a special concern for women. A forward-thinking university that supports diversity and academic excellence, Georgian Court serves over 3,000 students of all faiths and backgrounds in a residential Women's College and a coeducational University College with undergraduate and graduate programs. Georgian Court's main campus is located at 900 Lakewood Avenue, Lakewood, N.J., on the picturesque former George Jay Gould estate, now named a National Historic Landmark. Georgian Court also offers classes at its site at 90 Woodbridge Center Drive in Woodbridge, at Coastal Communiversity in Wall, and at Cumberland County College in Vineland.

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