Margaret Nevinski


"Elena stood knee deep in the water. She clenched her teeth and tried to stop her body from shaking."

When Elena's friend Angie convinces her to take swimming lessons, Elena would rather be anywhere else than the pool. As the other "Pollywogs" shout and splash, Elena stands rigid in the water. She thinks back to the time at Lake Nina when her Uncle Roy, not knowing she couldn't swim, pushed her off the dock. Elena vowed then she'd never forgive him. Now, as Ms. Waters gently encourages Elena to float, Elena finds a way to triumph and discovers friendship, trust, and forgiveness.

Floating (Wright Group/​McGraw-Hill) tells the story of a girl's determination to overcome fear and past events. The book is used in classrooms (Grades 2-5) across the country. Floating won 2nd Prize in the category of Inspirational Fiction Story in the Children's Writer Contest.

An excerpt from Floating:

"All right, Pollywogs," said Ms. Waters. "Everyone line up here along the edge."

Elena admired Ms. Waters, whom she had seen jump from the high dive. Her dark-chocolate skin contrasted with her yellow suit. Her voice was low and reassuring.

"Elena, why don't you start us out?"

Elena opened her mouth, but only a tiny squeak escaped.

From Margaret Nevinski:

When I was growing up, I didn't know how to swim. I was afraid to go in water deeper than my knees. Once when I was with my family at a lake, an uncle assumed I could swim and tossed me into the water. Luckily my mom saw what happened and rescued me! I finally took swimming lessons when I was 19, and now I love to swim. Elena's story isn't my story exactly, but as I wrote it I remembered my fears and my sense of triumph when I could float! And like Elena, I've forgiven my uncle.

Here's Some of My Work

When sixth-grader Becca gets a school assignment to visit the local senior care facility, she's miffed. Why her? But when she meets Olivia Browne, a painter who sees life her own way, Becca begins to see things differently, too.
Seventeen-year-old Courtney dreams about her future husband on January 20th, the Eve of St. Agnes. One problem: he's the geekiest guy at her school. Can St. Agnes help?
Elena discovers friendship, trust, and forgiveness as she learns to float.
Irisónot your typical Greek goddessódreams of flying to the sun.
Nine-year-old Lily must move to an internment camp with her family during World War II.
Whimsical poems about a salamander, squirrel, coyote, snake, and more!
In 1960, first-grader Ruby Bridges faces an angry mob when she starts school.

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