Just as weight-lifting will build up your biceps, you can build up your writing skills by writing often. A few minutes a day is better than waiting until you have "enough time".

Look at anything: a stone, a shoelace, a tree, a seashell, your own hand.

Describe it.

Then ask "what if...?" Let your imagination dance away!

Spend some quiet time listening, looking, touching, and tasting.


Imagine that you wake up in a room you have never seen. Describe it. What do you see when you look outside?


photograph by Jennifer May

I'm delighted that some students choose me when writing reports about their favorite author. Here are some answers to your questions.

Have you had other jobs beside writing for kids?
I've been an art historian, a fashion editor, a social worker, the host of "Art in Action", which was a radio talk show, the program director of a community arts council, a contributing author to the Cousteau Society's Environmental Almanac, and editor of educational books,and then, of course children's books. I've taught fiction at college and cleaned apartments in Manhattan. My most important job was being a Mom.

Do you always write poetry?
No, I write biographies, essays, and picture books.

How did you start writing poetry?
When I was a young child, the radio brought wonderful jazz right into our living room. I sang the lyrics and danced to the tunes. Soon I was making up my own words.

Do you get bored with writing poems?
Tired and frustrated at times, but never bored. Usually I delight in using rhythms and rhyme now as much as I did as a little kid. I love the very taste of words.

What is the best part of being a writer?
There's nothing better than finding just the right words to make a new connection between ideas or images. It's super-delicious to share that connection with readers.

How do you get ideas?
Our planet pulses with life; from teeny, tiny germs to gigantic elephants and whales. And people are the most amazing of all. Ideas are all around saying, "Choose me!" "Choose me!"

Selected Works

illustrated by Carin Berger; Greenwillow/Harper Collins 2007
illustrated by LeUyen Pham; Harcourt Books 2006
illustrated by Marilyn Hafner; Dutton March 2004
illustrated by Susan Estelle Kwas; Dutton 2001
illustrated by Nina Crews; Greenwillow/Harper Collins 2000
illustrated by Joung Un Kim; Mondo Publishing 1997
illustrated by Steve Bjorkman; Scholastic 1996
Selected by Deak and Litchman; HarperCollins 2003
Professional Books
Scholastic Professional Books 2006
Scholastic Professional Books 2000