Toni Depalma

Toni Depalma received her B.A. in Psychology from Douglass College. She then went on to receive her Masters in Social Work from the Rutgers School of Social Work. After years of working as a School Social Worker on a Child Study Team, Toni finally gave into her passion for storytelling, specifically for a young audience. Her love for children’s literature led her to the Vermont College of Fine Arts where she earned her Masters in Writing for Children and Young Adults. Her first novel, Under the Banyan Tree, was honored by the Voice for Youth Advocates as well as the Association for Children’s Books. Under the Banyan Tree was a Kirkus Review New Voices award recipient and was also selected as a Book for the Teen Age by the New York Public Library System. Toni’s first book was followed by two more middle grade novels: Jeremy Owl and Miracle Meggie, as well as the young adult books, The Devil’s Triangle and The Devil’s Temptation. Miracle Meggie was recently selected for the One Book One School selection for the Mill Pond School in Lacey Township, NJ. In 2008, Toni was a recipient of a New Jersey Arts Fellowship in the category of prose.

In addition to her writing, Toni volunteers for the annual Ocean County Young Authors Conference. She conducts school visits where her aim is to encourage the students to pursue their own writing and creative pursuits. She is also a family life merit badge counselor for the Boy Scouts of America.

In 2013, Toni took an acting class at the Barrow Group in New York City. It was there that she discovered that, while she is a terrible actress, she adores working with actors and writing plays. Unlike her previous work, Toni’s plays focus on more adult themes. Toni is a member of the Dramatist Guild and her short plays have been read in New York City.

Publications

PLAYS

 

Martin Scorsese is Calling:

When Michael’s well-meaning Italian grandmother takes to Twitter to convince Martin Scorsese that her grandson deserves a job in the film industry, a clash of generations ensues. Love and a good recipe for escarole and beans are celebrated as Michael discovers that smarts has no expiration date.

 

Blackout:

A young author positioned to be the next great literary talent meets a veteran bestselling author in his hotel room. Flirtation turns dark and egos trump all when the lights go out and the city is pitched into darkness.

 

Good Kind of Crazy:

While working at an inpatient psychiatric hospital, a young social work intern strikes up a flirtation with a charismatic patient, leaving us to ask, What is Crazy?

 

Beans:

A can of beans is not just a can of beans when a Have encounters a Have-Not at a local food pantry.

 

Have a Nice Day:

What is our society telling us about who we should be as we age? And isn’t it time we tell our society to shut up?

 

Long Way Down:

Sandra St. James has spent her life climbing the ladder of success. But in a flurry of fast paced phone calls, the intricacies of her well-managed life quickly unravels leading this multitasking career woman to discover that sometimes the best remedy to not always getting your way is to just eat the Ho Ho.

 

BOOKS

 

Under the Banyan Tree: Middle grade novel

Irena’s not sure where she’s headed when she runs away from home–she just wants 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. But trouble follows Irena wherever she goes, and the Banyan is no different in this story about what it means to be a family.

 

Miracle Meggie: Middle grade novel

When 10 year old Meggie hears Wanda announce that she’s setting up a summer business selling miracles, Meggie thinks Wanda’s finally gone off the deep end. But that’s before Meggie’s sister is born way too early. Now, the doctors aren’t sure if the baby will live and mom and dad are spending all their time at the hospital. Suddenly, Wanda’s miracles don’t look so crazy anymore. But Wanda doesn’t just sell Meggie a Miracle. She wants an assistant. If Meggie wants to save her sister, she’ll have to first help Wanda transform an elderly neighbor into Madame Butterfly and get her a gig singing at Carnegie Hall. Coordinating a concert at Carnegie Hall isn’t as simple as it sounds, but if Meggie can’t pull it off, she’ll never learn the secret to saving her little sister or making miracles.

 

Jeremy Owl: Middle grade novel

Jeremy is a 10 year old science geek who’s just trying to get by. When the two bullies grab the owl pellets Jeremy’s found in the woods, he loses all hope of studying them under his teacher’s microscope. But when Lorelei Eversole, the school cuckoo, steps in, she wins the pellets back. When Jeremy discovers a mysterious, glittering bone inside one of the pellets – a discovery that even a braniac like him can’t figure out – he must admit that Lorelei might not be as dopey as she seems. A flying pig, enchanted pies, and a wild adventure all show Jeremy that science has its limits. And that sometimes magic turns up in the most unusual places.

 

The Devil’s Triangle: Young Adult novel

When 17 year-old Cooper dies in an attempt to burn down his school, he finds himself in the afterlife. Lucy, the Devil’s sister who has crossed party lines, decides to give Cooper another shot at heaven. The deal? Cooper returns to Earth and has to find a girl named Grace. The rest is up to him. While Cooper figures out his mission, he’s thrown into the life he’s always wanted. Great parents, a spot on the Varsity football team and a real future are all within reach. But what he really wants is Grace, a feisty girl with an abusive boyfriend that can pound Cooper into pulp if he doesn’t watch out. While Lucy plays demonic-puppeteer, clues to an unknown past between Cooper and Grace start to unravel. Cooper discovers that what’s keeping he and Grace apart is far more sinister than anything this bad boy could have ever imagined.

 

The Devil’s Temptation: Young Adult novel

Fighting the Devil brought Cooper and Grace together. But without a little evil to spice things up, the everyday life of a normal teenager is pretty dull. A summer job crewing on a billionaire’s yacht in sunny Italy might be just the ticket to rekindle passion. While the setting is perfect, the winding, sinister back streets of Naples are also the perfect playground for a scorned Lucifer to wreak havoc. And if evil doesn’t rip them apart, the sultry billionaire’s daughter and the sexy First Officer might be what it takes to finally destroy Cooper and Grace’s love forever.

Project Description

Beans and Ficus: Six Ten Minute Plays about What We Think It Means to Be Human.

These plays delve into the hearts and minds of characters from different backgrounds, cultures, genders and generations. Poor, rich, old, young, the labels and trappings of these individuals are often times just that, traps. Upon closer look we see that, though our surfaces may look different, we all want the same things: love, validation, a voice and a place in our society where we know are voices are heard.