Launching The Potato Chip Champ Blog Tour

Today I'm happy to welcome home-run hitter Maria Dismondy
who's on tour to pitch her new book and 
talk about her journey as an author, 
her life as a teacher, her super power, 
and her most recent line drive. 

What an honor to be Maria's first stop on The Potato Chip Champ Blog Tour. I visited with this grandslam author, mom, wife, volunteer, daughter, teacher, and friend (what am I forgetting?) recently, and here's what I found out:

1.  Many of my readers at the Corner are educators in one capacity or another. What made you want to be a teacher? 

I started out as a psychology major in college. Then I realized it didn't feel like the right path. I switched to social work. I loved one of my classes that dealt with children but I didn't feel it was the right fit either when I shadowed a social worker. One of my advisors suggested education. I volunteered at a daycare that year by my house on campus and bingo, I just knew it was the path for me. I had endless energy with the children and I loved being a part of the children and their "Ah-Ha" moments. I ended up teaching for over a decade.

2.  Which grades and for how long did you teach?

I taught first, second and was a reading specialist. Add up all my years and it was twelve including my year long internship. My favorite grade to teach was looping from first to second with the same group of students!

3.  What do you miss the most about being in the classroom?

I speak at schools regularly now as an author and I get so much out of teaching large groups of children. But it's the families that I influenced and who honestly influenced me at the same time that I miss the most. I keep in touch with families I worked with my first year of teaching and so on. The other day I ran into a mom whose son I had 11 years ago. She teared up when I remembered her name. That's what kind of a teacher I was. It wasn't just about the children but about making that connection between their home and school lives. I also miss seeing growth in my students over the school year. It was such an amazing thing to witness!

4.  When did you start writing?

I started writing in a diary in Kindergarten and I never stopped. I have 19 complete diaries filled with my hopes, dreams, fears, failures and everything in between!

5.  I adore Spaghetti In A Hot Dog Bun, your first book. What inspired it?

It frustrated me as a teacher that there weren't a ton of books that included human characters who overcame bullying situations and that dealt with self-esteem. I experienced being a victim of bullying as a child and after reading about several incidents I recapped in my diaries, I decided to tell my story in a realistic fiction piece, Spaghetti In A Hot Dog Bun. Since we've seen a rise in bullying, there have been some really great books published to help children deal with these situations!

6.  What gave you the idea for your new book?

My own daughter doesn't understand how lucky she has it and is always asking for more. From my study of child development, I know she really is too young to truly understand it all but why not have a fun book for children to learn about kindness, integrity, and empathy? I am passionate about making a difference with my time here on earth and through silly, entertaining and meaningful children's books, I hope to do so!

My favorite page has EMPATHY written all over it!

7.  How did you decide that you'd include an Info For Parents page in your books?

I feel fortunate to have studied child development in college. I also had years of practice in the classroom teaching children about character and problem solving. I think the information for parents came from wanting all parents to have access to teaching their children character. Character is learned. People with character make a difference in the world and make it a brighter place to be. I hope that for every book that is sold, another family is inspired to incorporating character into their modeling and parenting.

8.  How do you decide who writes that page?

You pick someone you believe knows about the topic, an expert! That's why I chose YOU Barbara. After reading your blog for over a year, in my eyes, you ARE the character guru out there!

9.  What's your super power?

I am not afraid of many things. For example, each time a new book comes out, I send copies to Ellen and Oprah. I write letters to the President about what I am doing. I tweet celebrities that I believe share similar beliefs about making a difference as I do. You just never know when someone will like what you are doing and help spread your message to their audience!

10.  What's next?

I am in search of a literary agent. My brand is growing and I need to focus on what I do best, writing and speaking at assemblies for kids. Right now, I am spending a lot of time on the business side of being an author and a small business owner.

Thank you, Maria, for that glimpse into your world. 
You are a role model and an inspiration.

Maria has kindly offered to give away an author-signed copy of this winner to one lucky fan, so here's our game plan: 

For each social media you use to connect with Maria and/or help spread the word, you'll advance a base and earn an entry:

One social media = a single (one entry)
Two social medias = a double (two entries)
Three social medias = a triple (three entries)
Any four = a home run (four entries)
Just a reader? Leave a comment for an entry!

Let us know in the comments below how many bases you earned 
(I blogged about the giveaway for 1 entry OR 
 I tweeted, blogged and liked Maria on FB for 3 entries, etc.) 
between today and January 11th at 5 pm (CST)
for your chance to win. The Gruener Generator will randomly select one winner from all the entries in the comments below, so stop back on Saturday morning 
to see if it's you!

Connect with Maria:

Tomorrow the tour takes Maria to Lori's blog;
click the button below to meet her there.


  1. I have two entries! I began following her blog and I am now following her on twitter! I want to win!!

    1. Yay, our first two entries! Thanks, Jacque, for playing along ... fingers crossed for you.

  2. I don't FB, twitter or have my own blog but if I did I would definitely follow/give a shout out about Maria!!!, but I did subscribe to her blog! So I guess I'm a "single" girl. :)

  3. Wait, wait! I'm a following her on Pinterest!

    1. Yay Tanya! A double hit for you .... good luck!!

  4. I already have this book and love it. The kids really got into it. Also, the teaching guide was very helpful. Great work!

  5. I absolutely love Maria's books and so do my students!

  6. Thank you for the great start Barbara!!! Maria

  7. What a fabulous post! I think Maria is awesome! I recently purchased her Spaghetti in a Hot Dog Bun and the kids loved it. So excited to have a chance at winning her new book! Yay!
    Ms. Marciniak's First Grade Critter Cafe

  8. I'd love this book!


I really enjoy hearing from my readers; thanks for sharing your reflections with us!