What’s New

  • My new mystery, Duet, about a bird, a boy, and a valuable, long-lost piano that might once have belonged to Frédéric Chopin, comes out on May 10th!  I’ll be talking about Duet at bookstores in the Chicago area (Anderson’s Bookshop), Washington DC (Politics and Prose), and Massachusetts (Odyssey Books) during the month of May, and I would love to see you in person or virtually.
  • On the right is a picture from ALA with my beloved editor and friend, Christy Ottaviano, holding my last mystery, The Wolf Keepers.  You can see a short video of me talking about the book here.  
  • My Masterpiece Adventures series has finally come to an end, with the fifth volume of Marvin and James stories, A Trip to the Country for Marvin and James, published in April of 2020.  I’ve loved writing about this beetle and boy duo and am sad to say goodbye to them, but this final book was very fun to write, since the country setting reminded me of childhood visits to my grandparents’ farm.  
  • For the past few years, I’ve been teaching a creative writing seminar to undergraduates at Yale called “Coming of Age: Writing about Childhood Turning Points.” It has made me so happy to introduce my students to some of the authors who have had an enormous influence on my own reading and writing life – Alice Munro, An Na, Toni Morrison, and wonderful poets like Rita Dove, Stanley Kunitz, and Sharon Olds.
  • I also teach a 3-day class, “Creating Picture Books with Humor and Heart,” at the Highlights Foundation in Milanville, Pennsylvania nearly every year with my friends Emily Jenkins, author of many award-winning picture books, and Sunita Apte, Executive Editor at Reycraft Books.  Highlights is a terrific place to learn the ins-and-outs of writing for children–and to immerse yourself in a nurturing  creative community with farmland vistas and amazing food.  
  • My middle-grade mystery, Masterpiece, was chosen by the literacy organization Read to Them as a “One School, One Book” selection for school-wide reads and I’ve visited many schools as a result of this incredible program.  I’m constantly impressed by the imaginative ways teachers use Masterpiece in the classroom, not to mention the art room. One of my goals with The Masterpiece Adventures early-reader series was to allow younger students to encounter the characters and themes of Masterpiece at their own reading level during these school-wide reads. Please visit for a list of suggested activities; you can find out more about my experience with the program here in their newsletter.
  • I hope you’ve all stayed well during the strangeness of the last two years, and have found new solace in quiet pleasures, like books.  I know I have.

What’s Next

Duet, my middle-grade mystery about a musically gifted bird, a piano-playing boy, and a long-lost piano that might be worth millions, comes out May 10th!  

I’m working on a new novel called The Book that Could Never Be Read.  It’s about a mysterious, real-life manuscript from Renaissance Italy that is written in a language nobody has ever been able to de-code. 

I’m also just starting a new early chapter book series. I love writing for the youngest readers, and early chapter books have a special place in my heart.  I reviewed some of my favorites here:

What I’m Reading

Picture book: The Orange Horse by Hsu-Kung Liu. This quirky, soulful tale of a horse searching for his long-lost brother is full of humor, surprises, and tender moments. It’s a lovely, child-friendly reminder that, as The Rolling Stones put it, “You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you just might find, you get what you need.” 

Early chapter book: Boris on the Move, by Andrew Joyner.  This charming Australian series about an adventurous warthog has the perfect combination of fast-paced story-line and appealing art to engage new readers.  

Adult: Oh, too many good ones to list!  I’ve read several nonfiction books recently that I would highly recommend; terrific writing in all of them.  Ann Patchett’s new collection of essays, These Precious Days, is purely wonderful–thoughtful, affectionate, and poignant about friendship, marriage, and family.  Nora Ephron’s funny essay collection, I Remember Nothing, is a vivid tribute to New York and to her writing life.  I just finished Amy Bloom’s memoir,  In Love, about the death of her husband. I’m a big fan of Bloom’s short stories and essays, and this book, while heart-breaking, shows her psychological acuity and grace even under the most terrible circumstances.