Ten writers for children. All with something to say.


work space

This is the room in which I work and this is the maple tree I look out on.
October glows gold here even when it snows, of which we've had four so far.
I also sometimes rent a studio downtown at the Loft Literary Center, particularly when I'm working on a first draft.
I feel fortunate to do the hard work I love in this place.


Studio Views and Inter Views

I am so lucky to live in a huge old Victorian house with a family that is fine with the activity of mess. I think we would all enjoy having a full-time cook and someone to clean every week, but since that is not an option, we make creative messes in the kitchen, the living room, our bedrooms, and studios.

My studio used to be the master bedroom when the house was living its grand old glory 100 years ago, but since then it became a dining room, living room, and whatever room when the house was turned into a triplex in the 70's. Now it is my studio with a writing chair facing the window and bookshelves nearby. It houses a drafting table for drawing and writing. And I paint on my studio wall with my palette that holds paints and brushes of all sizes and shapes for my needs. I am most comfortable in my studio-- it is the place where I can be myself and shut the door if necessary, only to open doors on creating words and pictures.

I have just returned to my studio after a whirlwind trip to Mumbai, India where I presented and led workshops with students at the American School of Bombay. It was an extraordinary experience that I am still taking in. I was able to talk with Heeru, the elementary school librarian about children's books in India. The stories of her childhood were the folktales and traditional Hindu tales of India. There were books, but most important were the stories she grew up with told to her by her grandmother. Her sons grew up with picture books which taught them about many things in the world, but she knew they did not have the same "family roots" to their stories that she grew up with and feels this is changing the way families stay together in India today. There are more small nuclear families in India, rather than the extended families with grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins all living under one roof. The result is less oral sharing of stories and more books. Most of the Indian picture books Heeru showed me were traditional stories turned into picture books for educational venues rather than trade markets. I was most taken with Tara Publishing, www.tarabooks.com, a very impressive Indian book publisher. It seems they contact indigenous Indian artists and commission them to write and illustrate Picture books. The two examples below are by Gond Artists who live in the state of Madhya Pradesh in Central India. For these artists, "art is a form of prayer, and they believe that good fortune befalls those whose eyes meet a good image." Their are is traditionally painted on mud floors and the walls of their homes-- how lovely that this publisher is creating a way for their incredible art and stories to come into our homes!


The Shack

I built my writing shack in the woods on our property, within sight of our house but a world away in terms of privacy since the standing rule around these parts is: “Don’t bug Daddy when he’s in the shack!” In this “world within the world,” I escape the demands and routines of my life and just focus on writing, or stare out the window and watch the weather, awaiting inspiration . . .


What a joy to see what my fellow potatoes' work spaces look like. I no longer feel guilty for all the inspirations/distractions that surround my writing area, which is in an extra bedroom of our house. It is also where the cats sleep, thus I sometimes find my stories chewed apart in the morning. They are my fiercest critics!!

I did neaten it up a bit for the photo. Usually I have piles of paper surrounding the computer, which means that I'm being productive. It is actually way too clean for my taste right now.

Favorite stories sit on the bookshelves, as well as family photos, a ceramic dragon who protects my work (obviously not from wild cats), and my own books sit up there as well reminding me that I have had some success in the past and hopefully will have some success in the future. Below the bookshelves are a poster from Pike's Place in Seattle, a framed newspaper article about my six year old neighbor, who stars in my latest book, and a photo of my son's graduation from college. Every once in awhile I take everything off the wall and shelves and keep the space sparse and open, then I have the joy of filling it up again.

So I guess I better get busy creating a new mess. Happy writing!