Questions about KEEPER

Hi Sports Fans!

Recently I’ve received a number of really great questions about Keeper from students around the country and the world.

Here, for your viewing pleasure, are my responses:

If you or your students have any other questions, please just send them to me. My e-mail address is:

And while we’re on the topic of Keeper, here is a shot of the beautiful sculpture that sits on the Seawall in Galveston. It’s a tribute to the victims and survivors of the Storm of 1900 that was so devastating. But beyond that, to me the mother and child look just like Signe and Keeper.


Trent Reedy, New Author/New Book

I’m so proud to know Trent Reedy. I met him at Vermont College of Fine Arts when he was a student there.

He enrolled not too long after he served in the U.S. Army in Afghanistan. His story is one of bravery and longing and yes, love . . . all the things that surround his unique mentor, the amazing Katherine Paterson.

And now, his new book, Words in the Dust, which draws largely from his experience overseas, is due out in February.

Here’s a two-part interview with his editor, Cheryl Klein:

One of the most important books to come, as well as one of the most beautiful covers ever!

Congratulations, Trent Reedy MFA!

By |December 21st, 2010|Books|1 Comment|

Merry Christmas, Merry Crow!

Morning everyone!

It’s the season, and to celebrate I thought I’d take a few moments to read my picture book, Merry Christmas, Merry Crow, which is beautifully illustrated by Jon Goodell..

Okay, I bobbled a couple of the lines, but it’s not that easy reading to yourself in the mirror image of my laptop. Give a girl a break.

And I also know that the video truly doesn’t do justice to the beautiful art that Jon created for this book. Here’s a better look at the cover:

Jon also illustrated my book, Alley Cat’s Meow, and as a bonus, here’s one of the spreads from that:

So here’s to reading a great picture book to the little and big ones in your family. Is there anything better than that? I think not.

Calloo, callay y’all!

Rebecca Kai Dotlich, Poet & Teacher

Rebecca Kai Dotlich is “some poet,” as Charlotte might say!

My first encounter with Rebecca was several years ago. We were both speaking at an SCBWI conference in Birmingham, AL. We got to stay in the lovely home of Joan Broerman, who made sure that we were cozy and comfortable. In fact, Rebecca and I were so cozy and comfortable that we took up residence in the kitchen in our jammies and ate bagels and cream cheese for what seemed like hours. I’m sure it wasn’t that long, but the point I’m trying to make is that from the first bites of those bagels, it seemed like we had been friends our whole lives long.

Ever since then, we try our hardest to meet at kitchen tables in our jammies, at least once a year. This year, I caught her on my Flipcam. Enjoy!

Not only is Rebecca “some poet,” she’s also “some teacher”!

Here are some photos of Rebecca in action:

Packing for my blog tour!

Hi everyone! I’m getting ready to go on a blog tour. Grab a cup of coffee and come along with me.

Here’s the schedule:

Dec-6: Eating YA Books
Dec-7: Texas Sweethearts
Dec-8: Everyday Reading
Dec-9: Shelf Elf
Dec-11: Walk the Walk
Dec-12: The Wormhole
Dec-13: The O.W.L.
Dec-14: GreenBeanTeenQueen
Dec-15: SLJ Teen
Dec-16: The Brain Lair
Dec-17: YA Books Central

And look who’s coming with me . . .


C’mon, c’mon!

By |December 3rd, 2010|Books|Comments Off on Packing for my blog tour!|

Jeanette Ingold–More Than One Life

The first time I met Jeanette Ingold, back in the early 90’s, both of us were celebrating first books. Mine, a picture book called Elephants Aloft, consisted of approximately 40 words.

Jeanette’s, a novel called The Window, had about 40,000 words.

Despite that difference, we’ve shared millions of words in each others’ company, and I count her as one of my most cherished friends and associates. No telling how many words we’ve spoken to each other across the span of our friendship. Let’s just say a lot.

Recently, I had the good fortune of joining Jeanette on our annual retreat together and was able to lure her into the kitchen to talk about her newest young adult book, Paper Daughter.

Pay attention, because Jeanette is a wordsmith, regardless of the count.

I love Paper Daughter, as I do all of Jeanette’s books. They’re smart, savvy, and full of heart. Just like their author. My friend. Jeanette.

Calloo, callay, my homies!

"Closing Time," by Lyle Lovett–A Little History

Back in the late 1970’s my parents, Pat and George Childress, opened a club here in College Station called Grin’s. At the time it was one of the only music venues in the entire Brazos Valley, and we had some wonderful artists perform there. One of those artists was a very young, shy Lyle Lovett, who was a classmate of mine at Texas A&M.

Ken and I both worked at the club in a variety of positions. Ken mostly ran sound, and I cooked, cleaned, and tended bar.

One night Eric Taylor was performing, and right at the end of the night, as he was finishing up his last set, I started closing down the bar by filling the beer coolers. I confess, I was not paying any attention to Eric even though I love his music. The plain old fact was–I just wanted to go home, so I was hurrying to get things set up for the next day so that I could leave. After all, I had been there for many hours and I still had homework to do. Could you blame me? Anyways, while Eric was singing, Lyle came over and asked me to please stop so that the noise from the bottles wouldn’t be so obtrusive. But instead of pausing to listen to Eric’s beautiful voice, I just brushed Lyle off and kept on keeping on.

I didn’t realize how upset Lyle was until he wrote “Closing Time,” and so there you have it. It’s not one of my proudest moments, even though I’m happy that Lyle got a powerful, provocative song out of it.

I learned something important that night. [...]

Kimberly Willis Holt–Magic in Threes

For the past eight years, a group of us have been meeting for a writer’s retreat each fall at my family’s country place in central Texas: Kimberly Willis Holt, Jeanette Ingold, Rebecca Kai Dotlich, and yours truly.

Of course, this year, I packed my trusty FlipCam.

One by one, I lured my pals into the kitchen for a “kitchen talk.” Here’s what Kimberly had to say:

Such a wise and wonderful friend. Thank you, Kimberly!


Is there a muse in the house?

Hello my homies,

I’m just now beginning work on my next novel and my big red cat, Hoss, decided to drop by and lend a paw. Thought you might enjoy seeing what he thought about letting a dog be the main character.

There’s a critic in every bunch.

By |October 30th, 2010|Books, Cats|Comments Off on Is there a muse in the house?|

Banned Books Reprised

I want to follow up with my discussion of Brent Hartinger’s The Geography Club, by mentioning a few other books, including my own, that feature gay or lesbian characters. What has got me thinking further about this is the suicide of a young man at Rutgers this week, after his roommate there live-streamed an encounter that the young man had with another boy.

Our gay kids–and yes, they are our kids–need books that feature people who are just like they are. But they aren’t the only ones. Those kids who are like the roommate, who thought it would be funny to diminish or to expose an intimate moment, those kids who think that a gay romance is something to ridicule . . . they need these books too. Maybe more.

As an author for children, I feel like it’s my job to feature people of all kinds in my stories. My gay characters Jacque and Henri in Keeper could be anyone’s two uncles or neighbors. In every classroom there is someone who has a person in their life who is gay. In every Sunday school class, there is a child whose uncle or neighbor is gay. In every family, there is a gay relative. Don’t these kids deserve books that show this?

And yet, time after time, no matter how sweet and innocent the depiction of a gay romance or even a friendship appears, there is someone who wants to deny it, someone who wants to “protect” our children . . . while they play hour upon hour of violent video games.

And then, someone’s beloved child jumps off of a bridge, and the world tilts, spins [...]

By |October 1st, 2010|Books|Comments Off on Banned Books Reprised|