Welcome, Dear Reader

Writers write. I write all kinds of stuff. Little bits and pieces of stories, musings and observations, occasionally poetry. Welcome to a few of the random scribbles here.

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I'll admit it, right here: I did NOT like nonfiction when I was a kid. Those books were boring! (I went back as an adult and looked; without naming names, the ones that I remembered were indeed awful!)

The good news is that today's children's nonfiction has a much higher standard and the books published these days are usually engaging and interesting and sometimes even hilarious!

I enjoy finding new tickle-my-funny-bone titles and sharing what I've learned about the challenges and rewards of writing and reading humorous children's nonfiction. My colleague Ann Matzke, who has also studied children's nonfiction in-depth, will often join me at presentations. Our presentation bibliography for "What's So Funny About Children's Nonfiction" and an annotation worksheet are attached, if you're curious.

Please let me know of new titles you discover! This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Best Day Ever: Every Author Visit Day!


Recently, I visited St. Croix Falls Elementary School in Wisconsin. I love this school! The energy of the students and teachers hums through the hallways like a happy tune. They’re readers. They’re inquirers (oh! the questions they ask!). They’re listeners. One of the girls there wore a pink shirt that said, “Best Day Ever,” and I couldn’t agree more! Author Visit Day is the BEST, especially when the school or library prepares and promotes it.

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Writing Retreats…Wink, Wink


My husband smiles politely when I say I’m going on a writing retreat, as if there were air quotes around it. “’Writing retreat’?” he says. “Sure. Have fun.” He’s truly supportive of my writing career. But like many other people, he thinks writing retreats are a euphemism for shopping, partying, or sleeping in a hammock near the river at our land in northern Wisconsin (okay, I admit I have thought about the last one). But that’s not what a writing retreat is to me.

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Road Rash And Natalie Goldberg


On a breezy almost-summer day, I walked from the University of Minnesota to the Loft Literary Center to hear Natalie Goldberg speak (author of Writing Down the Bones, The Great Spring, and many other books). I was wearing a new sassy dress and feeling happy to hear one of my writing rock stars.

Then my sandal caught on the sidewalk edge and I could not catch myself. I biffed. Hard. My knee became my brake, using friction like a cheese grater to stop my momentum. The rough concrete sliced my fingers and hands. And if that wasn’t enough mortification, my flouncy dress was up over my butt for all of the Washington Avenue traffic to see.

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