Mary Vigliante Szydlowski, B.A.’71

Reading, Writing and Research

By Amy Halloran, B.A.’90

Mary Vigliante Szydlowski

Author Mary Vigliante Szydlowski’s book Kia’s Manatee was published last September. The story of a girl who recruits her community to help an injured manatee in a polluted bay, the picture book is part of a nationwide children’s literacy program.

“When they’re done reading the book in class, the children are allowed to take the book home,” says Szydlowski, who also writes fiction for adults.

In all of her writing, research plays an important role. Getting to know a subject is crucial, and Szydlowski enjoys immersing herself in a topic, whether for a novel, a picture book or another project. She works for testing companies, preparing reading comprehension passages for standardized tests.

Kia's Manatee

At the University, Szydlowski was an anthropology major. She says, “I had some really great professors who assigned a lot of papers” and demanded excellent research and good writing skills. “That’s where I learned to write.”

Kia's Manatee is available on