Hi! I'm so glad you stopped by. I hope you enjoy learning more about me and the books I write. In my stories, I like to focus on ordinary kids who do small but remarkable things that change their world in a big way. I believe that kids' voices and opinions matter greatly, and they can truly make a difference.
HELLO FROM RENN LAKE, my new middle grade novel, dives into the world on May 26, 2020. The story is about a 12-year old girl who was abandoned as a baby in a small Wisconsin town and teams up with her friends to save their beloved lake after it's closed due to a harmful algal bloom.
Another effect of climate change, harmful algal blooms—which occur in bodies of water when blue-green algae grow out of control—have been on the rise. The problem is related to warmer temperatures, extreme weather, and runoff—rain or melting snow that carries pollutants into lakes and rivers. Blooms can have many negative and sometimes dire effects on people, plants, fish, and animals, not to mention interdependent ecosystems and aquatic habitats. Some dogs have died after swimming in lakes that had algal blooms.
A heartfelt story of community, youth activism, and fighting for the things you love, HELLO FROM RENN LAKE will not only inspire readers to look at the world in a new way but also remind us of our indelible connection to nature.
ETHAN MARCUS STANDS UP was published in 2017 by Simon & Schuster/Aladdin. The story is told from the perspectives of a brother, sister, and their classmates who all compete in a maker fair type event at their middle school. Ethan Marcus and Brian Kowalski enter their fledgling invention called the desk-evator, which is supposed to alleviate their scoma (school coma) that results from sitting all day in class. But Ethan's sister Erin and her best friend Zoe don't take them seriously. Will anyone? Find out what happens next in the sequel, ETHAN MARCUS MAKES HIS MARK.
THE SUMMER I SAVED THE WORLD...IN 65 DAYS, a novel for ages 10 and up, was published in 2014 by Wendy Lamb Books/Penguin Random House. It's the story of Nina Ross, a 13-year old girl who senses the disconnection of people in her neighborhood. She spends a summer doing anonymous good things, contemplating if doing good...really does any good. People's reactions aren't at all what she expects. You can watch the trailer here. The book was on the 2015-2016 Pennsylvania Young Reader's Choice Award list, and was nominated for a 2017 Nebraska Golden Sower Award, and a 2017 Sunshine State Youth Reading Award in Florida.
CALLI BE GOLD, a novel for middle grade readers, was published in 2011 by Wendy Lamb Books/Random House. A story that applauds the joy in small moments, CALLI BE GOLD is sure to touch your heart with its true to life characters and engaging plot. I'm honored that the book was nominated for a 2014 Bluestem Readers' Choice Award in Illinois, and a 2016 Maud Hart Lovelace Book Award in Minnesota.
Many authors can pinpoint a time in their lives when they knew they wanted to be a writer, and for me, that realization came in fifth grade, when a crayon and construction paper "book" I wrote was one of the winners in a school contest. The book's title was "The Chair That Knew How to Dance," and my prize was reading my book to the kindergarten classes. What a thrill to see their captivated young faces as I sat in front of the room and read my story aloud. It's probably no coincidence that the main character in my first book is in fifth grade.
Read my blog posts, and those of my fellow middle grade authors, at Smack Dab in the Middle.