I grew up on a Kansas farm,
where I developed a curiosity about nature. I loved to follow my golden retriever to the creek and hunt for tree stumps gnawed by beavers, look for deer tracks, and wonder at the ripples made by pebbles I'd skipped. I also loved to ride the combine with my dad. (Chopping weeds out of the soybean fields? That was another story.)
I wanted to read all the time as a young child, so in order to get anything done, my parents bought me a lot of books on tape. I can still hear the music for the page turns on Roger Hargreaves' "Little Miss" stories. I memorized and recited nursery rhymes, and I loved to pretend. That may explain why one of the first stories I wrote as a kid featured a smitten, waltzing ostrich.
I always wanted to use my words to make a difference. At first, I tried to do this by working at newspapers, including the The Kansas City Star, where I worked as a reporter, editor, and parenting columnist. I still do some freelance journalism for magazines and newspapers.
I rekindled my love of children’s books when I realized that my two rambunctious little boys would sit still for a good story.
That gave me my mission:
to tell stories that encourage children to appreciate and care for the world and all its creatures. I write both fiction and nonfiction picture books from my home near the farm where I grew up.
I don't write all the time. I also like to:
- Play COW with my kids, and often lose. Fact: Even at 5’9”, I am not good at basketball.
- Snuggle with my snoring Cavalier King Charles pup, Ozzy, and my cats, Gertie and Meeko.
- Act as sous chef—veggie chopper, sauce taster, ingredient getter, dish washer—to the main chef of the house, my husband.
- Build things out of wood, such as my youngest son’s lofted fort bed.
- Sing karaoke.
- Plant lots of beautiful flowers and shrubs and neglect them by accident. Fact: Growing up on a farm did not give me a green thumb.
- Help on my parents’ farm by hauling irrigation pipe in the summer or taming barn kitties. Fact: Not everyone would define the latter as “helping.”
- Watch birds from my porch swing.
- Connect with others who love to read and write.
- Austin SCBWI's 2017 Creators of Diverse Character Scholarship, honor recipient, picture book category
- Winner, mentorship with author Megan E. Bryant, Writing with the Stars 2017