Summer Reading List!

Aloha, Friends,

The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators has complied a first-ever Official Reading List–Summer 2016. There’s a book out there for every reader!

Divided into geographical regions (based on the creator’s residence) and then by age/grade level, you’ll find ANYWHERE BUT PARADISE  in the Grades 3-5 Texas/Oklahoma section.

Click HERE to upload the PDF of the list.

Happy Reading!

With aloha,


SCBWI Austin Interview, May 2016

Aloha, friends,

Austin is so green and lush right now. And the temps are exceptionally awesome. We know that summer is coming and we’re doing our best to enjoy ever moment outside.

This month, there’s an interview with me on the Austin SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) site.

Click HERE to read my responses to How does your everyday life feed your work? and other questions.



Texas Library Assoc. Conference Here I Come! Signing, Thursday, April 21st

Aloha, Friends,

I’ll be making my way to one of my favorite conferences this coming week! The Texas Library Association Conference will be in Houston this year. I can’t wait to see librarians, publishing people, other authors and BOOKS!

Come say hello on Thursday, April 21 from 11:00-Noon (Author Aisle #4) and get a FREE autographed copy of ANYWHERE BUT PARADISE, compliments of Lerner Publishing Group!


2016 OPEN-Theme-GLOW





Mahalo nui loa, Sanchez Elementary!

Aloha, Friends,

I loved spending time in the library at Sanchez Elementary today! Mahalo to librarian Ana Loya, who extended the invitation, and the teachers and students, who were so welcoming!

I had lots of fun talking about ANYWHERE BUT PARADISE! And everyone mastered the pronunciation of humuhumunukunukuapa’a.




TIL Best Children’s Book Award Finalist!

Aloha, Friends,

I’m so honored to share that ANYWHERE BUT PARADISE is a finalist for the 2016 Texas Institute of Letters Award for the Best Children’s Book (H-E-B/Jean Flynn Award). And that my lovely friends, Liz Garton Scanlon (THE GREAT GOOD SUMMER) and Don Tate (POET: THE REMARKABLE STORY OF GEORGE MOSES HORTON) are also finalists in this category.

Here are finalists for the other Children’s and YA award:

H-E-B Best Young Adults Book 

David Bowles, The Smoking Mirror (IFWG Publishing), Brian Yansky, Utopia, Iowa (Candlewick); Rene S. Perez II, Seeing Off the Johns (Cinco Puntos Press)

Denton Record-Chronicle Award for Best Children’s Picture Book  

Pat Mora, The Remembering Day / El dia de los muertos (Arte Público Press); Kathi Appelt, Counting Crows (Atheneum Books for Young Readers); Chris Barton, The Nutcracker Comes to America (Millbrook Press)



PS Here’s the news release from the TIL for all of the finalists.




My SCWBI Talk on Revision, Sat. Jan. 9th 10AM at BookPeople

Aloha, Friends,

Happy New Year!

I’ll be speaking this Saturday at the Austin Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) monthly meeting.

I’ve titled the talk, Revising: Finding Your Way Forward. If you have a beginning, middle and end of a story, congratulations! Celebrate! Then what? Consider (or reconsider) three big questions in order to propel your revision, and all those that follow, to the next level.

Everyone’s welcome to attend this free event!

Hope to see some of you there!






Happy Holidays to All!

Aloha, Friends,

It’s been a while since I’ve said hello! I’ve been deep into a revision of another novel and I’m surfacing for a short while before I plunge in again.

This has been the sweetest year ever! My dream of having a middle-grade novel published came true! I’m exceedingly humbled and thankful for all of the support. Mahalo nui loa, thank you very much.

May all of you have the happiest of holidays and a fantastic new year!




Texas Book Festival, Oct. 16-18th. I’ll be there!

Aloha, Friends,

It’s the 20th Anniversary Texas Book Festival this weekend in and around the State Capitol in Austin. Please check out the schedule  and make plans to join us!

Three hundred authors are featured and I’m thrilled to be one of them.

Here’s the panel I’m on Sunday:


Location: Stateside Theatre
Matt London
Louis Sachar
Anne Bustard

3:00 PM – 3:45 PM

Anne Bustard, Louis Sachar, and Matt London discover just what happens when kids are face-to-face with the powers of their environment. Whether adventure is on a brand new continent, in Hawaii after a tsunami strikes, or in a dark forest, it’s always just around the corner.

Moderated by Tim Crow

October 2015 Third Thursday Meeting at the Writers’ League of Texas

Aloha, Friends,

Spooked about writing? Please join Greg Levin, Jason Neulander, Amy Tinera and I tomorrow night for:

Write Fright Night! Dealing with Spine-Tingling Writerly Anxieties

Thursday, October 15, 2015, 7 PM at BookPeople, 603 N. Lamar Blvd., 3rd floor*

Free and Open to the Public.




Southern Book Festival Highlights!

Aloha, Friends!

I had a fantastic time in Nashville.

I made many new friends this weekend, including Tacky the Penguin, whom I’ve been a fan of for years, and Marion and Jack, two amazing book festival volunteers, who took the time to come to our session!

I so loved panel-ing with Cynthia Lord and Gail Nall and our moderator Jane-Elise at the Nashville Public Library! What a gorgeous place. Words carved in stone in the reading room say: A city with a great library is a great city. Yes! The beautiful book sculpture outside is titled La Storia della Terra, The Story of the Earth, with stones from five continents.

Two more highlights: Seeing Nashville 27-stories up. And 2015 Newbery Medalist Kwame Alexander’s inspiring talk.

Special thanks to Helen Hemphill, Rae Ann Parker, Genetta Adair, Lindsey LaneCarmen Oliver and organizers Serenity Gerbman and Lacey Cook. Thank you, thank you Southern Festival of Books for a fantastic event!