What’s New

  • Trouble at School for Marvin and James, the third book in the Masterpiece Adventures series for young readers, is now a One School, One Book selection of the national literacy organization Read to Them! I’ve had so many wonderful school visits based on the One School, One Book program, and I love visiting schools to talk about Masterpiece with readers in grades 3-5 and the Marvin and James books with K-2 students. Please contact me or visit for a list of suggested activities for both books; you can find out more about my experience with the One School, One Book program here in their newsletter.
  • For the past couple of years, I’ve been doing freelance writing and editing for the Scholastic magazines, in particular writing articles and plays for Storyworks. I love hearing from schools that have used the plays in their classrooms. 
  • My newest novel, Duet, is coming out in paperback with a brand new, beautiful cover by the gifted Kelly Murphy.
  • Above is a picture from ALA with my beloved editor and friend, Christy Ottaviano, holding my mystery, The Wolf Keepers.  You can see a short video of me talking about the book here.  
  • I love doing writing workshops with students in elementary school. Since 2018, 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 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,” for adults 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.  

What’s Next

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. 

The first book in my new early chapter book series about a bulldozer in a human family will come out next year. It’s called Bulldozer Makes a Friend and it’s based on the character from my picture book Bedtime for Little Bulldozer.  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.