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Author (a real reporter!)

Ida Siegal, Reporter/Author of kid chapter book series
WNBC New York

Ida Siegal is a real life TV news reporter in New York City. She’s been 'on the air' with NBC's flagship station, WNBC-TV, since 2003. Siegal recently won an Emmy Award for her coverage of Super Storm Sandy. She lives in New York City with her husband and two children – who are also half Dominican and learning Spanish. Siegal was born and raised in the West Village in Manhattan. She's a proud 'city kid' but lately wonders what it would be like to have a garden …

Note From the Author:

Hi there! Thanks for stopping by to check out the Emma series. Writing these books has been a labor of love and an absolute dream come true. Like most mothers, everything I do is for my children. And so, the Emma books are for them. I wanted to take a minute to explain my mission and my inspiration. Thanks for reading!

Ida Siegal, signature

Writing The Modern Girl:

Ida Siegal and family, author of Emma's on the Air chapter book for boys and girls

My 4 year-old daughter lives in a jungle of tutus. As her mother, I have tried just about everything to steer her away from this all-girl world of frill and pink and sparkle. Even as she cooked in my womb, I banned pink from my baby shower. My daughter will be a scholar! I thought. I was naive ... and more importantly I wasn't paying attention. Too often girls are told to be one of two things: either the pink pretty princess or the academic, gender-neutral future physicist. But really, most girls are like my daughter. They live somewhere in the middle. I tried to create a character that lives there too. Her name is Emma Perez. She explores all sides of her personality and she does it with humor and pride.

News Reporter Famous

Ida Siegal, Author Event -- Emma is on the Air, young reader's chapter book mysteriesEmma is a reflection of her time in that she is comically obsessed with fame. That personality trait was inspired by nearly all the children I interact with working as a field reporter. Let me explain.

Kids approach me at work all the time. They see the news van and it's like instant elation. They want to hold the microphone, touch the camera, and see themselves on TV. Boys and Girls. City and Suburbs. Working class and wealthy. Doesn’t matter. I get the same kid questions all time: "Are you famous?" Followed by, "can I be on TV? I wanna be famous!" It’s not because they are shallow – per se. It's because they are kids and they are paying attention. We live in a world that values fame, and it isn't lost on them. I try to explain to them that in the news biz, sure, there's fame and fun clothes and big hair. But there's also story-telling and problem solving and people meeting. We get to witness history and learn new things first hand …from the actual people who are changing the world! Sometimes it gets through, sometimes, blank stares.

Emma's obsession with fame is meant to lure these children in. It's the hook. She is like them. But once they read the story, they'll find so much more. And they'll see Emma start to question the wisdom behind her quest for fame. But she won't do it because a grown-up lectures her or because she spits back a syrupy lesson her parents want to hear. She evolves on her own in an organic way that will feel true to young readers.

Take Away

Ida Siegal, Author Book Read -- Emma is on the Air, series for young readersI hope young readers walk away from each Emma book thoroughly entertained, but also with some swagger. They are now officially news insiders! They know how the biz works. They know it isn't easy – nothing worthwhile is. They know fame is not the goal, but can be the result of a job well done. They know people are flawed and scared and make mistakes. Even the reporter on TV who seems so fabulous, she makes mistakes too. But if you keep going, like Emma does, you can accomplish great things.

© Copyright 2015-2018 by Ida Siegal. All Rights Reserved.
Illustrations by Karla Pena/(c) Scholastic Inc.
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