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SUMMER is here (at least in paperback)

It might be a little chilly and gloomy this week, but Summer is finally here–at least in paperback.


It was a real treat to come home from a great day at #nErDcampNJ last Saturday and find a package with some early copies inside. It’s the same gorgeous art by Robyn Ng and lovely design by Laura Lyn DiSiena, but there is a surprise inside . . .


A teaser for my next middle-grade novel, The Last Grand Adventure (which is coming in March 2018 from Simon & Schuster).

I was a huge paperback reader as a kid–and still as an adult. Hardcover editions are beautiful, but they are not so easy to put in a bike basket or a beach bag, or to lug on the subway. I’m excited to think of Nell and Ambrose heading off to camps and swim clubs and cabins in the next few months.

And finally, I have winners to announce for the Educator Giveaway! Jennifer Pickrell and Kristy Guerriero won the reading-group sets. You should have received an email from me, and I’ll get those books and guides to you ASAP. Thanks to all who entered!

SUMMER Educator Giveaway


I wouldn’t be the reader–or the writer–I am today without the influence of many wonderful educators. My childhood teachers and librarians in Madison, WI–at Thoreau Elementary, the Sequoya Library, Cherokee Middle School, and West High–were always putting books in my hands and providing me with a welcoming space to read, learn, and dream.

So to celebrate the paperback release of Summer of Lost and Found on May 23, I’m doing a special giveaway for educators (including teachers, librarians, support staff, and administrators*). Two winners will receive:

  • A reading-group set (10 copies) of Summer of Lost and Found paperbacks
  • Copies of the educator guide and book-club discussion guide (found here)
  • Assorted Summer of Lost and Found and When Audrey Met Alice bookmarks and stickers (great for reading incentives!)

The giveaway starts today and ends at 11:59 p.m. EST on May 22. I’ll announce the winners on Tuesday, May 23.

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Note: If you have trouble entering through the Rafflecopter widget above, feel free to leave a comment on this post, and I will manually input your entry. Thanks!

*Not an educator? Feel free to enter on behalf of a school or classroom!


Bye, Winter!

Happy spring!

I spent most of my winter inside, staring out at the snow (or, more accurately where I live, slush-covered streets) while revising, and revising, and then revising The Last Grand Adventure. (Writing is editing, right?) I did take a break in between rounds to meet up with MG author and friend Lauren Magaziner and try out Dō, a new bakery that specializes in safe-to-eat raw cookie dough. It was delicious–and decadent–and worth the wait in line.


After I put the finishing touches on The Last Grand Adventure, I got to do some adventuring of my own! I headed to the sunny Caribbean and visited the British Virgin Islands–getting the first stamp in my passport in a long time.


And I caught up on my reading. Nothing pairs better than the beach and a good book. Next on my to-read list is Erin Entrada Kelly’s Hello, Universe, which I’ve been eagerly awaiting since I heard Erin talk about it at a panel last fall.

I’m starting some new projects now–always an exciting and kinda scary part of the writing process–but taking lots of breaks to check out the spring flowers popping up around the city.


How are you celebrating spring?

New Scholastic Fiction

I’m excited to share that I have two stories appearing in Scholastic’s classroom magazines this month! The March/April issue of Storyworks has “Lost and Found,” realistic fiction that was inspired by my time in the Outer Banks doing research for Summer of Lost and Found.




I love the artwork and photographs that appear with the story–along with all the great questions and resources on the Storyworks website!

For Scholastic Scope, I wrote “What We Left Behind,” an original short story about the infamous Black Sunday dust storm in April 1935. This was a storm so massive and powerful that it carried dirt and debris all the way from the Plains to the Capitol steps in Washington, D.C. But this is also a story about two sisters who are brave enough to fight against the dust to save their family.


Screen Shot 2017-03-17 at 5.30.01 PM


If you’ve read either story in your classroom, I’d love to hear what you think!


Catching up

Even though the winter seems long, time is flying by. Have I really not posted since nErDcampLI? Here’s what I’ve been up to lately.

I made a quick trip to Wisconsin for the holidays, where I managed to bake gingerbread cookies:


And check out the new ice-skating rink on the beautiful, not-quite-frozen-solid Lake Mendota:


Back in New York, a cool new subway opened:


But I haven’t spent much time riding it–I spent January working on my revision of The Last Grand Adventure. It was a lot of work, and a lot of fun, to get back into Bea and Pidge’s story. I took occasional breaks to read:


In early February I turned it in to my editor and then hopped a plane back to Wisconsin to meet my new niece:


I think she’s pretty adorable. 🙂 I made it back just before a snowstorm hit the city and gave us all a peaceful snow day:


What have you been up to in these cold, cozy months?




My 2016 in Books

Happy New Year! 2016 brought a lot of good–and some not-so-good–so I’m looking forward to starting fresh today. But one good thing about 2016 was the wonderful books I read. Thanks to Goodreads (which makes a great book log), here are the titles that enriched, engaged, and entertained me over the past year:







I read 28 kidlit titles, 7 nonfiction titles, and 31 grown-up fiction titles–for my personal reading. I didn’t track how much kidlit I read at my dayjob, but I’m guessing there’s another 30 or so there.

Here’s to a 2017 full of great books! What was your best read of last year?

nErDcampLI and November

November started off with an amazing day of literacy and learning: #nErDcampLI! This was my first EdCamp experience, and it was awesome. I got to listen to amazing educators and experts speak about topics in literacy and kidlit–like this fantastic session on the importance of back matter that Susannah Richards led.


One of the things she encouraged authors to do is include more back matter on their websites–especially book-creation timelines. I’m hoping to add something for that to the Resources page of my site soon!

The event was held in the wonderful Jericho Middle School, and I loved wandering the halls to see the work that students had posted. This was my favorite sign:


A very wise student wrote that. 🙂

The following week was the election, and like many people, I’ve been processing the results since. It’s no secret to those who have read When Audrey Met Alice that I believe a woman’s place is in the White House. I took this picture on my way home to watch returns on Tuesday night.


More than ever, that is true. Our votes matter, and so do our voices. I’m working harder than ever to use mine to express what I believe in.

Now it’s hard to believe that Thanksgiving is almost here–have a happy and safe holiday, and eat lots of pie!


A Week in Wisconsin

Last week I traveled back to Wisconsin for a couple of book events, and it was perfect timing for fall color:

The view from Ski Hi, my favorite orchard. The pies are amazing!

The view from Ski Hi, my favorite orchard. The pies are amazing!

Hiking at Devil's Lake

Hiking at Devil’s Lake

Madison has great coffee :)

Madison has great coffee 🙂

The famous farmer's market is at its very best in fall.

The famous farmer’s market is at its very best in fall.

Green and gold

Green and gold


The view from my Sunday morning coffeeshop

What’s missing? Photos from my talk at the Reedsburg Public Library and my school visit at EAGLE School. I was so excited to meet with readers and writers that I never quite got around to taking pictures . . . oops! But I had a great time talking about reading, researching, and writing.

Now I’m back in NY, working on short fiction and researching a project, and getting ready for nErDcampLI!

How does fall look where you are?


Fall Book Fun, Part 2

Last Sunday, I had a great conversation with author-friends Melanie Conklin and Sarah Darer Littman at Bank Street Bookstore. We spoke about writing three very different books all set (or, in my book’s case–partly set) in the big city. It was a great discussion–thanks, Bank Street!



(I loved sharing a shelf with the HRC books)


This week, I’m off to Wisconsin for a great event at the Reedsburg Public Library and a chance to visit some schools. Hoping to get in a trip to the apple orchard and my favorite state park while I’m back, too–there’s nothing quite like autumn in Wisconsin. 🙂


Fall Book Fun, Part 1

Last Friday I battled NYC traffic to travel to New Jersery (seriously–it took over an hour to drive three blocks to get into the Holland Tunnel) for a wonderful weekend of authoring. Saturday was the annual Princeton Public Library Children’s Book Festival, and it was amazing! Here’s a before picture of me with my books:


There is no after picture, because I sold them all! The five hours of the festival flew by–I had a fantastic time meeting so many wonderful readers and writers. If you want to check out what the day was like, the Princeton Public Library has some video posts on their Facebook.

The next day, I headed down to Neshaminy Falls for a Barnes and Noble event with Lauren Magaziner and Erin Entrada Kelly. We had a great discussion about writing MG, thanks to an enthusiastic crowd and bookseller extraordinaire Mandy Webb.




While I was signing books, I had a fun author moment–I found a copy of Summer‘s second printing. Fun to see that “1” drop off the copyright page!


Thanks to B&N Neshaminy Falls, the Princeton Public Library, and JaZams for helping me have a great weekend connecting with readers and writers.