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

YA Books with Religious Themes

Francisco Stork and I had a panel discussion at ALAN/NCTE 2012 about YA books with religious themes. We handed out this list and promised to post it online. Herewith the post, just a little later than I would have liked. Sorry!

Please know that the list is not meant to be comprehensive, nor have we read every book, though we have read many of them, of course, and have even written a few (two each to be exact).  Most are fiction, but a few are nonfiction. We compiled it based on recommendations by other writers, teachers and librarians. Please email me ( with additions or corrections.

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Look At My New Shoes!!!

Aren’t they gorgeous? But wait, there’s more. Check out the back: 

Right? Right!

These beauties were conceived of, designed and painted by Anna Fleischer, who is the daughter of my husband’s cousin Neil and his wife Paula. So that makes her my first-cousin- once-removed-in-law, which means we are not related (by blood) and I figure that means I am allowed to brag about her! 

If you go to her web site (link above, and what the heck, here, too) you’ll see she not only paints beautiful shoes, she also writes and sings beautiful music.  

Not only that but she also cooks and blogs about it here at The Allergic Hedonist

I am very, very, very proud of her.

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One of these days I’m going to learn from my friend Laurie Halse Anderson how to write quick blog posts more often. I have a lot to learn from her. Like, for example, how to dress to go to see your publisher: 

Granted she was going to take the hat off after we walked down to S & S, but doesn’t she look so cute? Underneath she has on a shirt suitable for being filmed in. Which I’m sure she’ll blog about. So enough about her. But speaking of filming, I had the great good fortune to be filmed last Friday for a Scholastic Book Fair video in which they are featuring my baby, Cool Dog, School Dog!
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An Unfair Fight

In this corner: Jeff Bezos and Amazon, trying to control prices for all electronic books from all publishers. (His warm-up robe is mink.) In that corner: John Sargent, trying to retain the right for Macmillan  (and other publishers) to set their own prices for electronic books the way they do for “regular” books. (His robe silk, but worn.) Bezos and Sargent have trainers, funding, padded boxing gloves. It may or may not be a fair fight. Bezos wears mink, but Sargent has guts. He is not known to back down.


It’s a pretty big crowd watching: 


Other publishers (some in the high-priced seats, some sitting on laps), Barnes and Noble (in the box seats), Borders (in the medium-priced seats, which they got from scalpers), Independent Booksellers (in the cheap seats, or standing room only, or at a local bar, way in the back, wishing they could have a beer while they watch).Read more


I would like to wish all of my Christmas-celebrating friends a joyous and peaceful and love-filled Christmas. And to all my non-Christmas celebrating friends, may you also enjoy these beautiful snowy and sunny days with family and friends.

I wrote a piece for School Library Journal about my holiday memories. For some reason the link is no longer working, but I’ll put it here in hopes that the holiday memory elves get it working again.

This year has been amazing. I have so much to be grateful for. I am always grateful for my family and my friends, and this year has shown me how wonderful it is to celebrate good news with people you love.… Read more

Grateful, Happy, Flying: It’s Been an Amazing Couple of Days

Have you ever seen five such happy authors? (If you did, it was probably last year’s photo of the NBA finalists in Young People’s Literature.) Rocco Staino, of SLJ, took this photo at yesterday’s teen press conference, which he also wrote about today. It’s a great article. Thank you, Rocco! That’s Phillip Hoose, Laini Taylor, me, Rita Williams-Garcia, and David Small. We were (are!) actually that happy. Rocco also took this photo of me with a student named Marjana Chodhury, whom he quotes in his article. Marjana and I had a wonderful talk as I signed her book.

Monday night at Books of Wonder was wonderful, too.
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Revision: Wide Angle, Tight Angle and Marble Vs. Clay

I’ve been thinking a lot about writing and revision lately because I recently sent a draft of a new book to my agent. It’s a novel, and I’ve never written one before, unless you count very short easy to reads as novels, and I don’t. When I sat down with a draft of it to read through, I called my friend Laurie Halse Anderson for advice. O.K., I know that’s like saying I called God, but Laurie has been my friend since before she was LHA.  Anyway, Laurie gave me some great words of wisdom and she’s also given me permission to share them with you.Read more

Ketchup in My Hair, Princeton Book Festival, and Other Rewards Of Writing for Kids

I had a great weekend. Saturday I participated in the Princeton Children’s Book Festival. I rode the train down with two great children’s book authors, Rebecca Stead and Michelle Knudsen. I had never met either one before, and I would say that by the time we got to Princeton, I had two new friends. We talked and talked (and talked) and agreed about so many things–including the fact that children’s book authors are the nicest people in the world.

The festival was fantastic! I hadn’t been to this one since the very first year and I was thrilled by how well organized it was and how many people attended.… Read more

First ever staged reading of CHARLES AND EMMA

Thanks to Tracy Day and Brian Greene for giving me the opportunity to talk about my CHARLES AND EMMA to a great audience at THE WORLD SCIENCE FESTIVAL.

And a special thanks to Jessica Benko, who organized it all, and who got  three terrific teens to do the reading.
This is us rehearsing. In this photo are, from left, Ghavin Deonarain, who was a fantastic CHARLES DARWIN (and also Dr. Robert Darwin), Janille Jumalon, who was a perfect EMMA DARWIN, Victor, who was sitting in during rehearsal and helped us pronounce quod erat demonstradum, and Diana Cheung, our fearless leader and narrator.
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