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I am a mom, librarian, and writer living in my hometown of San Francisco. Here I am last December with my family.
My first picture book, Journey: Based on the True Story of OR7, the Most Famous Wolf in the West, was published by Little Bigfoot Books in 2016. Journey was featured on NPR and the Huffington Post and is the winner of Bank Street College’s Cook Prize and Northland College’s SONWA award, as well as a finalist for SCBWI’s Crystal Kite award and for the Washington State Book Awards.
My other books include the Maddy McGuire, CEO chapter books (September 2018), To Live on an Island (April 2019), The Pig War: How a Porcine Tragedy Taught England and America to Share (fall 2020), Odin: Hero Dog of the Fires (March 2020), and Claude: The White Alligator of the California Academy of Sciences (August 2020). (See more on the “Books” page.)
I live in San Francisco with my husband, Alex, and our two kids, Everett (14) and Cate (11). I was born in Scotland, grew up in San Francisco, and have lived in New York, Santa Barbara, and Paris. Now I’m back home, living a block away from my childhood home.
Formerly a French teacher and magazine editor, today I work part-time as a children’s librarian and fill the rest of my days camping with Girl Scouts, failing to help with middle school math homework, protecting my lettuce from the slugs, watching British murder mysteries, and organizing the books in my Little Free Library. And writing.
I think picture books are about as magical as it gets. (Some of my favorites: Extra Yarn, by Mac Barnett; A Good Day, by Kevin Henkes; Blueberries for Sal, by Robert McCloskey; Library Lion, by Michelle Knudsen; and All the World, by Liz Garton Scanlon.) I started writing picture books when my kids were little, and I never thought I’d want to try another genre. Then they got a little older, and I fell in love with early chapter books. Now that my son is a tween, I’m considering jumping into middle grade. But YA? Never! Because, you know, my kids will never turn into teens.
- I have a big yellow dog who likes to run on the beach (and who appears on the cover of one of my books!).
- I’m on a mission to perfect a homemade pie crust. My family approves this mission.
- I’ve known my husband since preschool.
- The best thing about writing books is getting to visit lots of cool places for research, like Alcatraz.
- Favorite smells: baking bread, sweet peas in the garden, pine trees in the Sierra, a fire in the fireplace.
- You know when the Christmas decorations come out in October, and people get all outraged? I so love it. Bring it on.
I like old houses, watching the birds at our feeder, my children’s bedrooms, baking chocolate chips cookies (no raisins!), foggy weather, climbing roses, going out for dim sum, drinking tea with my daughter from my grandmother’s antique tea cups, playing catch with my son in the backyard, getting packages (these jeans will the perfect ones, for sure!), watching Goosebumps episodes with my kids on summer mornings, going to the pumpkin patch on fall afternoons, and making a buche de Noel every Christmas Eve.
- I’ve learned that family and good friends are the most valuable things in the world. Also, strong coffee. (Luckily, I have all three.)