I am the author and illustrator of 17 books for children including 7 Easy Readers and 10 Picture Books.
I grew up in Longview, Washington where I developed an early love of stories and books. In college I studied short story writing and literature, as well as painting, drawing, and graphic design in order to prepare for a career in children's books. I graduated from the University of Washington in Seattle with a B.A. in English and a B.A. in Art. I moved to New York City where my first book was published by Windmill Books. During that period I learned the ups and downs of children's book publishing. I also worked as a graphic artist and in other assorted jobs. Later, I moved to Cambridge, MA. and five years after publication of my first book, my second book, The Biggest Nose, was published by Houghton Mifflin.
My enthusiasm for children's literature eventually led to my pursuit of a duel career as a Children's Librarian. I earned my Masters Degree in Library and Information Studies from the University of Rhode Island and have divided my time between working as a Children's Librarian and writing and illustrating children's books ever since. On my days off, I can often be found browsing in bookstores.
I live with my husband Walter, in Cambridge, MA.
My latest book Duck & Company Christmas, published by Holiday House, reflects my fondness for bookstores and libraries and the spirit of community that occurs when readers are brought together to celebrate stories. The story takes place during the Christmas holiday season when Duck and Rat wish for snow, but end up with a lot more than they bargained for.
As a child, I frequently heard stories of my mother's childhood celebrations of Christmas on a Wisconsin farm where there was always plenty of snow and a fresh cut Christmas tree from the woods, along with a horse-drawn sleigh and sleigh bells. This was quite a contrast with the rainy climate of Western Washington state where I grew up. We never had snow on December 24 or 25th, and usually shopped for Christmas trees at a tree lot in the rain. Later we discovered a tree farm nestled in the surrounding hills, which was a little more in the spirit of my Mother's family tradition. Anytime we did have snow it was an extremely special event. Now that I live in the Northeast I've had plenty of experience with snow but still feel a thrill when snowflakes begin to fall.
Creating final art for this book spanned a 13 month period, including part of two winters, one spring, one summer and one fall. I painted all of the backgrounds first, then the characters, saving the details of the snowflakes and decorations for last. By December 2010 I had plenty of real snow around me for inspiration. In fact, completing and sending in the final artwork for this book was complicated by record snow falls and ice storms. On a critical night while attempting to go out to a local copy shop to make needed scans to send to my publisher, I was forced to turn back as the sidewalks were too treacherous for walking even while wearing ice grips over my boots.
I was truly snowed in with Duck & Company Christmas.
My other titles include:
TERMITE TALES. Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Award. Candlewick, 2009.
DUCK & COMPANY. Cooperative Children's Book Center Choices and ALSC "Great Elementary Reads." Holiday House, 2007.
TERMITE TROUBLE. Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Award. Candlewick, 2005.
WORM GETS A JOB. Junior Library Guild Selection, Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Award, CBC Children's Choices. Candlewick, 2004.
WOW, IT'S WORM! Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Best Book Award. Candlewick, 2001.
WELL DONE, WORM! Candlewick, 2000.
THE FRIENDSHIP TREE. American Booksellers Association Pick of the List. Holiday House, 2000.
HILLARY TO THE RESCUE. American Booksellers Association Pick of the list, Bank Street College Best Children's Books of the Year. Carolrhoda, 2000.
STARRING HILLARY. Carolrhoda, 1999. and TumbleBooks.
THE WIMP. CBC Children's Choices. Houghton Mifflin, 1994.
FOX AND BEAR. Houghton Mifflin, 1992.
THE COOLEST PLACE IN TOWN. Houghton Mifflin, 1990.
HARRY'S SMILE. Houghton Mifflin, 1987.
THE PURSE. Houghton Mifflin, 1986.
THE BIGGEST NOSE. Houghton Mifflin, 1985.
INSPECTOR AARDVARK AND THE PERFECT CAKE. Windmill, 1980.
Several of my stories from "WELL DONE, WORM!" and "WOW IT'S WORM" and "TERMITE TROUBLE," which were published as part of the Candlewick Press Brand New Readers series have appeared on PBS Kids Between the Lions.