Phil Bildner, 39, grew up in the New York City suburb of Jericho, Long Island. He attended the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, where he received his undergraduate degree in political science. Phil then attended the New York University School of Law (J.D. â€™90) and was admitted to the bar in both New York and New Jersey.
Phil went to work for a large Manhattan law firm; however, after working there for about a year, Phil realized a career in the field of law was not for him. Philâ€™s first love was always teaching and working with children, so he decided to pursue a career in education. Phil went back to school and earned a masterâ€™s degree in elementary education from Long Island University.
At the same time, Phil also began teaching in the New York City Public Schools. For his first five years as a teacher, he taught fifth and sixth grade in the Tremont section of the South Bronx. Because of the poor conditions at the school, Phil often had to teach without classroom basics â€“ paper, pencils or chalk for the blackboard. As a result, he had to devise creative and innovative ways to conduct his class. He incorporated music and song lyrics into his language arts curriculum, and his inspired approach brought musical groups such as the Dave Matthews Band, Barenaked Ladies, Blues Traveler, and Lauryn Hill and Wyclef Jean of The Fugees to his classroom. Philâ€™s class was also featured on the CBS television program, Coast to Coast.
In 1998, Phil transferred schools, to P.S. 333, the Manhattan School for Children, located in Upper Manhattan. For six years, Phil taught English and American History to the sixth, seventh and eighth grades. Of course, at MSC, his classroom continued to be a playground for creativity. As a published author, Phil shared his experiences as a writer with his students. Using his picture books as models, many of his students created their own picture books. As a year-end project, the students picked a topic in history or an historical figure, researched it, and shaped it into their own book to be shared with the class.
Last year, 2006, was another transitional one for Phil. It marked his first full year away from teaching and the classroom. Early in the year, Phil celebrated the release of his first teen novel, Playing the Field, and then in the fall, his latest picture book, The Greatest Game Ever Played, a football story hit store shelves. In addition, Phil made appearances all over the nation -- Dallas, Lake Tahoe, New Hampshire, College Station and Katy, Texas.
2007 looks to be equally exciting! Phil and New York Times #1 bestselling illustrator Loren Long launch their highly anticipated middle grade chapter series, Barnstormers: Tales of the Travelinâ€™ Nine. Book I comes out in February and Book II is due out late summer.
Of course, it should almost go without saying that there is so much more to Phil than simply his writing career. Phil has many other interests. For one thing, he loves sports. He plays tennis and softball in the spring and summer, and he snowboards in the winter. Phil is a huge New York Mets fan, and he is supremely confident that this year is finally going to be the year for the Amazinsâ€™. Phil also enjoys video games and exploring the neighborhoods of Brooklyn.
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Books:Barnstormers: Game 1, March 2007