Ten writers for children. All with something to say.


Historical Fiction I'll Never Forget

I won't be reviewing the books I read this summer because the four have four stars from me. I highly recommend them not just for their elegant writing but also because they are well-researched.

Language as beautiful as a falcon made of Murano glass.



Who can ever forget Hattie?

The most honest book I have ever read.



From the Badlands of South Dakota

Greetings from the Badlands of South Dakota where I have been enjoying a late summer vacation. One of the highlights of the trip is that after a day of hiking in the Black Hills with my friend Gary, I've had time in the evening to do some leisure reading, something I've done very little of this summer. I don't have any strong recommendations, I'm afraid, but the current book I'm reading is GETTING INTO GUINNESS; ONE MAN'S LONGEST, FASTEST HIGHEST JOURNEY INSIDE THE WORLD'S MOST FAMOUS RECORD BOOK, by Larry Olmsted. As you can probably guess, it's about the folks who make it into the book of records, including the author. Right now, I've got a shot at the world's hungriest appetite. We are heading into the town of Interior, SD, population 67, to find something for dinner tonight. Your spud, who is picking up  an Internet connection from a motel parking lot, David.


Summer Escape

April 1962
Porto Vergogna, Italy

The dying actress arrived in his village the only way one could come directly—in a boat that motored into the cove, lurched past the rock jetty, and bumped against the end of the pier. She wavered a moment in the boat’s stern, then extended a slender hand to grip the mahogany railing; with the other, she pressed a wide-brimmed hat against her head. All around her, shards of sunlight broke on the flickering waves.

Twenty meters away, Pasquale Tursi watched the arrival of the woman as if in a dream. Or rather, he would think later, a dream’s opposite; a burst of clarity after a lifetime of sleep.

Opening of Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter
I lost myself in this complex, cinematic novel set in Italy, Edinburgh, and Hollywood. The characters and language are marvelous. I enjoyed it so much I immediately read an earlier book by the author, The Financial Lives of the Poets.


Still Summer for Me

i am sorry to be late on the summer posting round, but I wanted to give you a few highlights.

I started the summer off with a trip to Toronto to meet Joe Morse, the fantastic illustrator of HOOP GENIUS: How a Desperate Teacher and a Rowdy Gym Class Invented Basketball. The two of us hit it off immediately and I loved seeing Joe's art and having dinner with him and Lorraine. We had a fun presentation together at the Central Toronto YMCA. It was interesting for me to hear the process Joe went through to create such excellent images.

The next weekend I attended ALA in Chicago and getting to meet Christy was a huge highlight. I'd been connected to her for years since she was the art director for STRONG TO THE HOOP fourteen years ago. I love the illustrations by Leslie Jean-Bart and have been eager to meet Christy since we started the Spuds. We finally got our chance over spectacular desserts at the Macmillan reception. It was a great initial conversation and a taste of what's to come. The next day Stephanie arrived and it was wonderful to be a trio for a brief time.

The rest of my summer was very good time at my desk working on 25,000 words of FOR EXTREME SPORTS-CRAZY BOYS ONLY. It was fascinating research and I feel like I learned a ton. I enjoyed meeting a bunch of new people who are passionate about what they do and an inspiration to all kinds of people. I sent that to my editor on August 30.

September 1, I received the fun news that HOOP GENIUS has been chosen as one of the Top Ten Sports Books of 2013 by Booklist. Some terrific titles are on the list and I'm honored to be among them.

At the beginning of September, I arrived at Anderson Center in Red Wing, Minnesota, which is one of my favorite places in the world. We have an interesting group of five residents, including a photographer from China who speaks no English, but cooks magnificently. I am working on a new picture book and revisions to a YA novel. Here's a picture of my writing studio. From the room in the top, I can see miles down the Mississippi River Valley, which is helping with ideas.

 I am so excited about the prospect of sharing this remarkable place with Spuds in the spring.