Writing for young people is the most satisfying and rewarding work I’ve ever done. Kids are demanding readers. But they reward you over and over again with the excitement and interest they bring to the story. It’s true that writing is a partnership between the writer and the readers, and in my experience kids are the very best partners.
Here are a few of my favorite books. If you see something you like, your local bookseller can order it for you, or you can buy it online at bookshop.org or Amazon. If you are a teacher, librarian, or homeschooling parent and need information about getting books, drop me a line on the contact page.
Dino Records, National Geographic Kids Books
My co-author, the inimitable Jen Agresta, and I had so much fun digging on dinos and bringing them to life in this beautifully illustrated volume. Dino lovers of all ages will enjoy reading about the biggest, smallest, weirdest, deadliest, most notorious, and most mysterious of these awesome creatures. In addition to the records, you’ll read about feuding paleontologists and children who made great fossil discoveries. You’ll learn the true story of the Velociraptors in the film Jurassic Park, why T. Rex had such tiny arms, how scientists decide what makes one animal “smarter” than another, and what some experts think the smartest dinosaurs would be like if they’d survived into our times—and plenty more.
The Fight for Civil Rights, Rosen Publishing
This history of the Civil Rights movement is rich in detail, with insights and reminiscences from many eyewitnesses and people who took part in the movement’s most significant moments. Readers will get to know the personalties, milestones, and the victories of the struggle that ultimately changed a nation—and the world. With its emphasis on nonviolent resistance and the role of young people in the struggle, this book will be an inspiration for readers wondering what they can do to make the world a better place.
Women in the Arts, Rosen Publishing
In this beautifully illustrated book, readers will learn about female painters, photographers, composers, sculptors, and performers who have made significant contributions to the history of art. Each chapter begins with a discussion of the historical period (from antiquity to the twenty-first century), the schools of art that were characteristic of that period, and how the work of women both emerged from and influenced that era.
Frederick Douglass: Abolitionist and Writer, Cavendish Square
This biography introduces readers, grades nine through twelve, to Frederick Douglass, one of the abolitionist movement’s greatest and most inspiring leaders. In addition to telling the story of Douglass’s life, this book examines the evolution of his thought and his changing relationships with contemporaries, such as William Lloyd Garrison and Abraham Lincoln.
A Global Threat: The Emergence of Climate Change Science, Cavendish Square
It often seems as if global warming is the latest new crisis. But in fact, climate science is older than the computer, the atomic bomb, and antibiotics. Scientists have been studying Earth’s climate since before we had transatlantic flight or knew what DNA is. This book, for teen readers, tells how scientists discovered the planet was getting warmer and describes their struggles to communicate that fact to the public and policy makers. And for the record, I wanted a photo of the rainforest on the cover.
I wrote this book in 2016. It means even more to me now that Kamala Harris will the first woman Vice President of the United States. It features engaging profiles of women leaders and a thoughtful examination of why women are underrepresented and encourages readers to think about what the world would be like with more women leaders and how that might be accomplished.