Stephanie S. Tolan

Stephanie S. Tolan
Author's Notes
Books and Plays
Gifted Articles +
Is It a Cheetah?

Stephanie S. Tolan

"...that joy in reading made me want to be a writer, and from the time that I was nine years old, I never doubted that I would be one." -- Stephanie S. Tolan


Great new interview with Stephanie! Writing to the beat of her own heart: Stephanie Tolan, an advocate for gifted kids, weaves their tales into her fiction "The author, who has lived in Charlotte since 1999, isn’t afraid to blow off steam, especially on behalf of gifted children who haven’t been encouraged to live up to their potentials..."

Don't miss Tolan's newest non-fiction, Out of Sync, Essays in Giftedness. Stephanie's powerful essays, collected for the first time. Read her compelling metapor, "Is It A Cheetah?" and many other great essays on giftedness. As Joy tells us, "These are valuable gems in the canon of giftedness. Treasure them."  – Joy L. Navan, Ph.D.

Applewhites at Wit's EndComing next fall (2017), Applewhites Coast to Coast, Tolan's finale to Applewhites at Wit's End, her excellent sequel to her award-winning Surviving the Applewhites leads us on more great adventures with Jack Semple and E.D. Applewhite... don't miss it!

Learn more from Stephanie herself in this great YouTube video Applewhites At Wit's End! It makes you wonder... are the Applewhites really based on the Tolan family?

"It was a dark and stormy night..."

Welcome to the Deep End For those who visit this website because of an interest in my work with and for the gifted, consider checking out my blog.  --S.S.T.

Change Your Story, Change Your Life, the book that has been (and still is) available as a free, downloadable PDF on my other website: StoryHealer is now also a real book whose pages you can flip and which you can share with others, available here: CreateSpace and through Amazon.  It is also available as a Kindle e-book.


Don't miss An Open Letter to Parents, Teachers and Others: From Parents of an Exceptionally Gifted Child, the original letter from Guiding the Gifted Child.


First presented in 1949, the Christopher Awards salute writers, illustrators, directors, producers and executive producers who remind audiences and readers, of all ages and faiths and of no particular faith, of their worth, individuality and power to positively impact and shape our world.

Read Tolan's Christopher Award winning tale for all ages, Listen!. This dog is wild at heart. How can Charley reach him? And is it worth the risk?  Tolan weaves together themes of nature, family, and love into a complex and powerful portrait of recovery...  Read the first chapter on-line!

"Well-written and engaging...Touching and heartwarming." -- Kirkus "This gentle tale features Tolan's graceful way with words and her acute observations of the natural world, dogs in particular." -- Horn Book
Surviving the Applewhites Tolan's critically acclaimed novel, a 2003 Newbery Honor book, and now a play.  Don't miss it!  Read the first chapters on-line!

“In this laugh-out-loud novel, a young teen on the fast track to the juvenile detention center suddenly finds himself living in rural North Carolina with the outrageously eccentric Applewhite clan. Jake Semple, 13, has been expelled from a long line of schools before coming to the Applewhites to be home-schooled. This extended family forms what a visiting reporter christens an “artistic dynasty,” with various creative endeavors absorbing the adults’ time and attention. Jake is left largely to his own devices, since the family doesn’t believe in telling their charges what or when to study. He develops a loyal following consisting of an active four-year-old and an overweight basset hound, and his transformation is complete once he becomes enmeshed in the family’s production of The Sound of Music. Quirky characters, from the cub reporter to the visiting guru, add to the offbeat humor. The Applewhites’ over-the-top personalities mark them as literary kin of Helen Cresswell’s Bagthorpes. Running beneath the narrative that gently pokes fun at everything from sculpture to TV documentaries, though, is also the story of a boy allowing himself to belong and begin to discover his own potential. This has terrific booktalk and read-aloud potential, and will help fill the need for humorous contemporary fiction.” -- Starred review, School Library Journal

Stephanie S. Tolan is the well known author of young adult and children's fiction, as well as an author and speaker on her topic of passion: exceptionally gifted children.  Is It a Cheetah? has become a metaphor for gifted children everywhere.  Her appearances at conferences on parenting and educating the gifted child are much sought after. 

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Last modified: August 31, 2019