Novel Madness 2018–Semifinal Round!

Our novel competition is heating up! This week we said goodbye to some favorites.The remaining books will face off on Monday. These are four very different books, which makes for an interesting matchup. Here they are:   Matilda by Roald Dahl vs. House of Hades by Rick Riordan Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins vs. Walk... Continue Reading →

Novel Madness 2018–ROUND TWO

To find out about this contest in my sixth grade classroom, go here. Here are the results of Round One, paired with their new opponents for Round Two, which takes place tomorrow. Good luck!       Matilda by Roald Dahl vs. The Maze Runner by James Dashner Frindle by Andrew Clements vs. House of... Continue Reading →

Novel Madness 2018

Every year in March, to coincide with basketball's March Madness, my sixth graders participate in Novel Madness to choose their favorite novel of all time. They brainstorm their top sixteen favorites, then pair up to create persuasive speeches. Here are this year's top 16:   The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate Hunger Games... Continue Reading →

Happy New Year 2018

The turning of the old year into the new is always accompanied by a time of reflection. The past year, 2017, was a terrific year for me. In June, I completed my twentieth year of teaching with a great class, then got another great class come August. In July, I celebrated my 60th birthday by... Continue Reading →

Teaching in November

This is a picture I took after school yesterday of the hallway outside my classroom. A little more than an hour before this, the walls teemed with pharaoh portraits, 3D pyramids covered in Egyptian symbols, cartouches with the kids' names in hieroglyphics, an art prep project of watercolored bug jars, Mesopotamia posters, Model Novel paragraphs,... Continue Reading →

What would YOU like to read?

As you know, my latest novel, ALOHA SPIRIT, is finished and being queried to agents. Time to begin researching novel #6! For both UNDER THE ALMOND TREES and ALOHA SPIRIT, I used women in my family as inspiration. There are several other interesting stories in my family tree, and I want to see which one interests... Continue Reading →

Almond Cake

I love to cook. When I wrote Under the Almond Trees, it was important to me that the family had a special almond recipe. I used almond cake throughout the novel even though I had never even tasted it! This summer I vowed to remedy this lack and bake an almond cake. I found several... Continue Reading →


Today I did one of my favorite author things--I spoke to 240 kids at the Career Tech Summer Academy. I spoke for half an hour to students ranging from 4th to 6th graders, telling them about me, my books, and being an author. Then I answered questions. Any teacher knows that when you open up... Continue Reading →

HNS 2017 Conference

I love attending conferences, and I love speaking at them. This one was no different. I attended great sessions that discussed family sagas, the state of historical fiction in publishing, and how to promote your book. Watch this space for notices of giveaways soon! I'll be redesigning my webpage, and creating a cool flyer. I... Continue Reading →

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