Our Little Library

This was really my wife Diane’s baby, but I take some pride of ownership for my contributions to the construction — crude carpenter work on the pole and support, cementing the post, bolting the whole thing together. She was inspired by a similarly decorated little library outside of Avid Books, the terrific indie bookstore in Athens, […]

My Season on the Brink

Ankeny Iowa Girls Basketball Team, six starters, 1981 I happened to be catching a bit of the Big Ten Basketball Championship game on March 7, 2014 between Nebraska and Minnesota when I was startled by a familiar face. The Nebraska head coach, Connie Yori. I had last seen her in 1981, in tears after losing […]

A Middle Grade Novel for Insect Lovers

I guess I’m a frustrated entomologist. I even did a magazine piece where I followed around an Iowa State professional entomologist — sort of a day-in-the-life of a bug scientist. So I was excited to see the publication of a MG novel by Jennifer Angus, who is a fantastic artist. I’d seen a showing of […]

Congratulations to National Book Award Winner Cynthia Kadohata

Enjoyed watching the live steam of the National Book Award ceremonies last night and the gracious acceptance speech of Cythnia Kadohata. The Thing About Luck is wonderful. National Book Award, Young Adult, YA Novel, YA writing, young adult writing, queries, agents, wri, writing young adult novels, what makes a good young adult novel,

Understanding the Stakes: National Book Award Finalists for Children

The short list for the 2013 National Book Award for Children’s Literature: Kathi Appelt, The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp, Cynthia Kadohata, The Thing About Luck,  Tom McNeal, Far Far Away, Meg Rosoff, Picture Me Gone, Gene Luen Yang, Boxers & Saints In a lengthy conversation with a well-established literary agent regarding one […]