Inspiration and Bravery and Rewards


I am always looking for writing inspiration. Aren’t you? If you’re a writer–or a teacher–I bet the answer is YES.

I often go to talks and lectures hoping for inspiration, and only sometimes get it. I think that’s because inspiration is so personal. A few weeks ago I went to an event that was inspiring for many reasons.  I wrote about it here for the Highlights Foundation blog.

One moment that I didn’t write about in that post was when Elizabeth Strout said she writes through the panic. She always panics during the writing of a book, and she knows she has to write through that inevitable fear.… Read more

Anne Izard, Gardening, Revising, Apologizing






Mandavilla 2015Back when we lived in Pennsylvania we had a garden that was the bane of my existence. Most of our property was in the woods, in shade, but the people who lived in the house before us put in this large perennial garden right by the road. It was filled with wildflowers, exotic things that looked like weeds. Or were they weeds? I asked every friend who gardened to help me figure out what to pull, what to keep. I had no memory for flowers, a brown thumb, and Jon was no better. We were so busy writing and childrearing that I (we) just couldn’t keep up with that garden.… Read more

Happy Birthday, Charles Darwin


I wrote a love letter to Charles Darwin over here. My title was Happy Birthday, Friend. They had to make it something more edgy.. (and slightly wrong. The term Survival of the Fittest didn’t originate with Charles, but with Herbert Spencer.) But that’s just a quibble. I loved writing this, revisiting the old haunts, and thinking about my beloved Darwins. Of course it was a love letter to Emma, too.

This has been a Darwin week. I went to a great event at the American Museum of Natural History the other night. (Moderated by one Jonathan Weiner.) The occasion was the digitizing of thousands of Darwin’s manuscripts, notebooks and papers.… Read more

My Found Treasure: A Pro and Con List ala Charles Darwin!


Happy Birthday week, Charles Darwin! There’s a lot of excitement in the Darwin world right now because the Cambridge Digital Library has announced the publication online of more Darwiniana. Most importantly (being the child-centric person that I am) is the inclusion of the drawings of his children. When Charles discarded a manuscript draft, the children grabbed the pages and drew on the back of them. Their loving parents saved the pages not for the great man’s words, but for the kids’ drawings. I had known about these doodles when I wrote CHARLES AND EMMA, and do mention them in the book.… Read more

Words of Wisdom, Courtesy of NYPL’s LIBRARY WALK


Last week I was tooling around town with my dearest Laurie Halse Anderson, and we found ourselves in the New York Public Library with our laptops. (OK, we actually planned it.) After writing (with Laurie) I walked to the dentist (without Laurie, who went downtown to protest with thousands of others), I came across this wonderful set of plaques in the sidewalk. Last week I tweeted and Instragrammed one. It was the perfect moment for that one (and always is).  Check it out here.

This week’s is by Emily Dickinson. (It’s always a perfect moment for Emily Dickinson, I believe.)… Read more

Picture Book Month and Authors For Earth Day

I’ve been hiding lately. Hiding is a synonym for working. So that’s a good thing. But I’ve posted two blogs on two really great sites that I would like to share with you. First, I joined a group called Authors For Earth Day. Check it out here. I will be doing a school visit for them in Pennsylania in March and I also wrote a blog last month. Here it is.

And this month is Picture Book Month! Check out my essay on Why Picture Books are Important here. Full disclosure: HUGGING is involved.

See you soon!… Read more

Some Great Books!


In this hiatus between turning in my draft and getting started on revisions, I’ve been purging files and things, and organizing. I still am. But I’ve also been reading a lot, and I thought I’d share some of the books I read this summer. I read mostly adult books (meaning not kids or YA). Here are the ones I either loved or liked a lot. I’d love to know what you’ve read that you’d recommend.

Elena Ferrante: My Brilliant Friend and The Story of a New Name

Carol Shields: Stone Diaries 

Elizabeth Gilbert: Signature of All ThingsAmy Bloom: Lucky Us

Uwem Akpan: Say You’re One of Them

Carol Rifka Brunt: Tell The Wolves I’m Home

Rufi Thorpe: The Girls From Corona del Mar

Oh, and it seems I’ll be talking to my editor next week.… Read more

What I do While I Wait for Comments


I turned in my manuscript end of July and almost immediately went to the beach. That was magical. Since I’ve been back, I’ve been cleaning and organizing and purging and weeding and giving away. If you have ever been in my office, you would probably think someone else lived here now. But it is me. Me, waiting. I am not unhappy waiting. I am happy to have the break, to have time away from the manuscript myself. I am happy to clean and sort and organize. I am also learning how to sharpen knives. To use in COOKING, silly.

I’ve also updated my appearances page, which  you can find here.… Read more