Follow the Soaring '20s Picture Book Debuts!

I am thrilled to be part of a diverse group of authors and illustrators with 2020 picture-book debuts.

We are still developing the website at In the meantime, you can click through and sign up for the newsletter so you’ll never miss an update.

While you’re at it, please give us a follow on Twitter (@soaring20spb) and Instagram (@soaring20spb).

Isn’t the logo adorable? Art is by Julie Rowan-Zoch, with design by Gregory Barrington. Both are members with forthcoming debuts.

I’m already learning so much from my fellow creators. It’s an honor to share this debut journey with them!

Kansas hospital closures, and what's at stake in the Medicaid debate

My latest cover story is close to my heart. As someone who lives in rural Kansas, I researched the aftermath of a hospital's closure in small-town Independence, Kansas, with my own town in mind. What if my hospital had to close?

The former Mercy Hospital building in Independence, Kansas, now functions as a temporary city hall.

The former Mercy Hospital building in Independence, Kansas, now functions as a temporary city hall.

It turns out, there is life after a hospital, but a piecemeal approach to health care can be chaotic, expensive, and full of gaps. The story is long but worth a read if you want to know what's at stake in the debate over Medicaid expansion. And, sadly, the story became even more timely this week with the announcement that another Kansas hospital — this one in Fort Scott — will close. 

I'm proud of The Journal and its parent organization, the Kansas Leadership Center, for giving space and resources to deep-dive into important topics that affect all Kansans.

Book news: Picture book coming fall 2020 from Charlesbridge!

Here is the recent announcement from Publishers Weekly about a book I am co-editing with two amazing women, Jeanette Bradley and Keila V. Dawson. Taking the Mic: Fourteen Young Americans Making History, is forthcoming in 2020 from Charlesbridge!

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I can't wait to share this with kids. If only there were more room in the announcement, we could have shared all the amazing authors who have signed on to contribute: 

  • Nikki Grimes

  • Carole Boston Weatherford

  • Greg Neri

  • Traci Sorell

  • Janet Wong

  • Charles Waters

  • Hena Khan

  • Andrea J. Loney

  • Lesléa Newman

  • Guadalupe Garcia McCall

  • Fiona Morris

  • Joseph Bruchac

  • S. Bear Bergman

In the weeks and months to come, I’ll be sharing more about each of the young activists we’ll feature, as well as the contributors.


A leadership case study

Leaders in Beloit, Kan., have pushed to make their community healthier.

I've written my first article for the Kansas Leadership Center's quarterly publication, The Journal. If you're interested in issues in Kansas and ways to fix them, you should check out the work being done by The Journal. Contributors include a full slate of experienced and award-winning journalists, including some of my former colleagues at The Kansas City Star, the Lawrence Journal-World, and the University of Kansas. 

I was asked to write a leadership case study about AWARE NCK, a grassroots group that has accomplished some big goals in the name of improving the health of their community, Beloit, Kansas. These folks have a lot of wisdom to share about how to organize, stay focused, and achieve goals despite mounting resistance.

Click here for the story.