Earlier in her career Barbara received an undergraduate degree
from Loyola University and studied art at Rockford College and
Northern Illinois University. For eight years she taught elementary and
preschool and also worked as a librarian.
After intensive work at the Vermont College of Fine Arts in Montpelier, Vermont, Barbara graduated in 2006 with a Master of Fine Arts in Writing for Children and Young Adults.
In July 2009, Barbara served as part of the prestigious faculty for the Highlights Foundation Writers Workshop at Chautauqua, New York.