A short bio:
Melissa Thomson lives in Arlington, Virginia, with her husband, toddler, and skittish beagle mix. She has been an elementary educator for eleven years.
An exceptionally detailed biography by Lindsay de Castrique, Melissa’s sister
Melissa Ann de Castrique Thomson was born and raised in Charlotte, NC. Her creative spirit was evident at an early age.She attempted, at age 5, to develop many kid-friendly television pilots, such as The Helper Twins, in which she and a friend would go around and “help people.” While her parents, Mark and Linda de Castrique, appreciated the extra hand around the house, no one else seemed to recognize the genius behind Melissa’s imaginary television antics, so she quickly moved on to musical recordings and recorded storytelling. Armed with her father’s tape recorder, six-year-old Melissa would passionately retell excerpts from Star Wars while her mother made dinner. She alleviated the suspenseful Darth Vader moments with beautiful renditions of the Great Space Coaster theme song. Yet, she found her future as a television-theme-song-cover-artist looking dim, so she decided to turn her efforts to writing.
Always a fan of reading, Melissa loved the way books could make her laugh, encourage fantastic adventures, teach her new grown-up words, and even delay bedtime just a little bit longer each evening. Her personal favorites were The Baby-Sitters Club series and Beverly Cleary’s books about Ramona Quimby.
Though she won’t admit it, like Keena Ford, Melissa got into her fair share mix-ups and mischief. She passed most of her skills in mischief onto her younger sister, Lindsay, who spent most of her pre-school developmental years in the time-out “Thinking Chair.”
In school, Melissa’s fascination with stories continued all the way through to her years at Davidson College. She loved reading them, writing them, and even telling them (sometimes to explain why she was late to class). English was always her favorite subject and as she delved further into the world of literature and writing, she learned that novels, both new and old, can carry important messages that entertain, inform, provoke, and inspire. Whether it’s Frog and Toad Are Friends or Pride and Prejudice, stories reach out to readers of all ages.
At Davidson, Melissa not only honed her writing skills, but also met an important character to her own story. Pete Thomson, would become the man who would from then on get to listen to all of her new creative ideas, which sometimes still included television theme songs. After graduation, Melissa moved to Washington, DC, where she soon discovered elementary teaching as a profession that could combine her love of reading and learning and her many years of experience as a camp counselor and director. She couldn’t necessarily apply her skills as a talented Darth Vader impersonator, but she was able to indulge her creative tendencies and her love of children.
Melissa began her teaching career at Emery Elementary. She was excited to share her favorite books, encourage a welcoming environment, instill a love learning into young minds, and everything else a fresh idealistic teacher longs to do. However, Melissa quickly learned that every day brought a new challenge and adventure that was not covered in a teacher’s manual, and the most creative and ingenious stories were not told by an enthusiastic twenty-something teacher from Charlotte, but rather by a classroom full of endearingly mischievous seven year olds.Melissa found inspiration in her students and wanted to compile their sincerest, funniest, and most charming qualities into a character to which anyone who ever has been or will be seven years old can relate.
Today, Melissa teaches in Northern Virginia. She plays a mean game of Scrabble, loves cake, and absolutely cannot wink. Melissa is thrilled to share Keena Ford and all of her adventures with her readers.