Welcome to my Blog!

This is where I put my musings that don’t make it into my paper journal. I try to write about things that might interest other writers and readers, including reviews of MG books I’ve been reading.

Travel Inside a Book

One of the first clues that A Tangle of Knots by Lisa Graff (Philomel Books) was going to be an unusual story was the revelation in the first pages that some people are Talented, with a capital “T.”...

The Boy Who Grew Dragons

Here is my latest book review for the Champaign-Urbana News-Gazette. “The Boy Who Grew Dragons,” by Andy Shepherd, has all the elements of a classic middle grade story: plenty silly and full of...

Show v Tell Redux

Show V Tell has been my struggle since I started writing kidlit. Strong verbs come naturally to me. Organization? No problemo. But over and over and over again, in critique after critique, I hear...

September Thoughts

September Thoughts

Happy September (even though it is mid-October..) To me, September feels more like the beginning of the year than January does. And I think my September got my year off to a good start. School...

Dragon Charmer is … Charming!!

Dragon Charmer is … Charming!!

I have said before in this column that we have an incredibly talented community of writers here in central Illinois. One case in point is Ruth Siburt, who used to write this column. Her...

A Perfect Summer Story

A Perfect Summer Story

Caterpillar Summer, a debut novel by Gillian McDunn, is a perfect summer read, in large part because of the setting. The reader is transported to a small island in North Carolina, and a lovely...

Styx Malone and the Power of Personality

Styx Malone and the Power of Personality

I could not put down the Season of Styx Malone, by Kekla Magoon (Wendy Lamb Books). What grabbed me? First, the opening: “Styx Malone didn’t believe in miracles, but he was one. Until he came...

Sign Up For My Newsletter

Thank you for signing up for my newsletter! Every month I’ll send a new post sharing my thoughts on writing — especially children’s non-fiction —  and creativity, posting writing prompts, discussing my favorite middle grade authors and more.