SALT:A Story of Friendship in a Time of War

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"STEP GENTLY OUT has the feel of a classic."
Peter Sieruta

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""If I leave on Saturday, I'll never
get to know her--this girl from back then, those two days on TV.
trapped in our garage. But more: who she is now."

Suggested for ages 10-14
(Older readers are also enjoying HIDDEN.)

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CROSSING STONES (Young Adult: 12 and up)
"...the distinct voices of the characters lend immediacy and crispness to a story of young people forced to grow up too fast. " s.e. HORN BOOK, starred


It's 1917--Muriel Jorgensen is not happy that all the boys she knows are heading overseas to fight in the war we now call World War I. Her teacher and her mother think she should be careful in expressing her opinions, and even her best friend Emma doesn't share her belief that women should have the right to vote.

In poems spoken in the voices of Muriel, Emma, and Muriel's brother Ollie, CROSSING STONES takes us through nine months in the lives of two families living on opposite sides of Crabapple Creek in rural Michigan as the war, the women's suffrage movement, and the flu epidemic alter the lives of the characters and the history of the world.

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DIAMOND WILLOW (ages 8 and up; ideal for middle school)
Set in interior Alaska, Diamond Willow tells the story of 12-year-old Willow, a dogmusher, and her lead dog, Roxy. The story is told in diamond-shaped poems in Willow's voice, with prose sections in the voices of animal characters.

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MONARCH AND MILKWEED (Picture Book / lyrical nonfiction)
Every summer, I raise and release anywhere from 20- 100 monarchs. I bring in the eggs to protect them from wasps, which are even better at finding them than I am, and then when the caterpillars hatch, I feed them milkweed from my garden until they turn into chrysalises, and, about 12 days later, butterflies.

When the descendants of those monarchs make the return journey from Mexico back to Indiana, I imagine they look for the "Monarch Waystation" sign in my front yard and thus are led to the milkweed that now comes up all over the place.

Monarch and Milkweed grew out of my close observations, over a period of many years, and is beautifully illustrated by Leonid Gore.

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THE BRAID (Young Adult: 12 and up)
"...this gem of a book ultimately tackles age-old issues of teen pregnancy, death, poverty, and first love in a timeless manner."
School Library Journal, starred

A novel-in-poems for Young Adults

Two sisters, Sarah and Jeannie, are separated during the Highland Clearances in Scotland in 1850. Their stories are told in alternating narrative poems, braided at the edges in a form invented for this book, inspired by Celtic knotwork.

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KEESHA'S HOUSE (Young Adult: 12 and up)
"If I'd known there were books like this, I would have started reading a long time ago."
10th grade student at South High School, Worcester, MA

(Note to young readers: There are LOTS of books you will love--talk to a librarian!)

2004 Printz Honor Book

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(ages 8 and up; ideal for upper elementary)

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Welcome to my website. I write books for children, teens, and adults. I write poetry, novels-in-poems, plays, picture books, essays and nonfiction. This website should help you sort it all out and find what you are interested in.

The picture above is of me looking up at the cliffs of Mingulay, an island in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland where part of The Braid is set.

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