A Bedtime Story

A few years ago, I challenged myself to write a bedtime story. But where to start? The answer was obvious: where most good stories start… at home. In the summer of 1974, my father was diagnosed with cancer and my twelve-year old world flipped. Summer days became sick days. I found relief at my friend… Read More


NEW BOOK: Giant Squid

Eric Rohmann and I have just completed a nonfiction picture book for Neal Porter Books/Roaring Brook (Summer, 2016) titled Giant Squid. I confess I came on board late in this project. Eric had already sketched out the illustrations. In fact, he had an entire wordless dummy when he invited me to write some accompanying text.… Read More


Working Together

  I’ve been working a lot with my partner, Eric Rohmann, lately. A few years ago, we came out with our first collaboration, Oh, No! Truth be told, we were a little worried about working together at first. Would we squabble? Try to impose our artistic vision? As it turned out, it wasn’t terribly different… Read More


Working Together

I’ve been working a lot with my partner, Eric Rohmann, lately. A few years ago, we came out with our first collaboration, Oh, No! Truth be told, we were a little worried about working together at first. Would we squabble? Try to impose our artistic vision? As it turned out, it wasn’t terribly different from… Read More


More About That Historic Flight

Here’s a story I didn’t tell about that first attempt at flying around the world: When the Electra splashed through the puddles of the Oakland, California airport’s runaway and lifted into the air on March 17, 1937, Amelia Earhart believed she was on her way to Howland Island. Sure, she had to stop in Honolulu… Read More


Buffalo Bill (A Forthcoming Biography)

May 11, 1887 Outside the London arena, William F. Cody sat astride his milk-white stallion, Charlie, and inspected his show’s performers. He had brought his entire outfit—two-hundred and eighteen performers, one-hundred and eighty horses, eighteen buffalo, ten elk, five wild Texas steers, four donkeys, two deer and a couple of bears, not to mention a… Read More


More On Audience….

Years ago, I reluctantly planted a vegetable garden. I wasn’t especially compelled to dig around in the dirt, but my then-first grader desperately wanted to grow veggies. So I did what all good mothers do, I initiated a bonding, life-enriching experience with my child. Of course, I got stuck doing it all by myself once… Read More


Know Your Audience

So often, I hear writers say, “I only write for myself.” I hear myself so often say, “I only write for myself.” And that’s true—but only partly. Yes, I only write about the things that interest or delight me, that make me curious or angry, or in some way touch me. But that delight, concern,… Read More


Inspiration, Imagination, and Mrs. Ullrich

As a writer of picture books, this is the question I am most frequently asked: “Where do you get your ideas?” I used to flippantly reply, “Where do you get yours?” But lately I’ve reconsidered my answer. I no longer believe people are asking the obvious. No, I think they are inquiring about something much… Read More


My Favorite Writing Materials….

I’ll tell you a secret—all my stories (even the long nonfiction ones) start with wide-lined, loose-leaf notebook paper and a blue Bic pen. These are my favorite writing utensils for early drafts. I like them because they’re not precious. I don’t have to worry about writing words that rhyme or sentences with cadence. I can… Read More