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I grew up on Chicago's south side, where we identified our neighborhoods by parishes - St. Margaret of Scotland was mine.  I was always itchy to be part of a bigger world, to see how other people lived, to discover what the heck I was doing on this earth. After college, I backpacked through Europe, taught English in Athens, was a very good nanny to bambinos in Rome, and a very bad cook in Florence. Later, I worked a boatload of jobs, from TWA flight attendant to convention sales manager at Playboy Resorts. I kept journals all those years; the writing kept me centered, hopeful and real. I finally focused on writing as a profession (huge leap of faith!) when I turned 30 and had a son.

It’s been travel that has inspired most of my 65 children’s books: settling in the Rocky Mountains brought me the story of pioneer Aunt Clara Brown; colonial San Miguel de Allende turned my Day of the Dead book into an 8-year stay and a bunch of Mexican-themed books, including my coming-of-age story Truth and Salsa, set in a stone tower where we lived.  I now live in Asheville, NC.


AWARDS AND HONORS

New York Times paperback best-seller list - Trick or Treat, It’s Halloween!

Colorado Book Award finalist 2002 -  Aunt Clara Brown

Starred Reviews in School Library Journal, Horn Book, Publishers Weekly, Kirkus - various books

New York Times “Recommended Read” - Twist with a Burger, Jitter With A Bug

American Library Association, Notable Books of Year -Twist With A Burger, Jitter With A Bug

Society of School Librarians, Honor Book Lists - various

American Book Association, Best Children’s Books of the Year and Pick of the List - various

Parents’ Magazine, Choice for Children Honor Books - Pablo Picasso

Bank Street College, Best Books of the Year List - various

International Society of School Librarians, 2007 Honor Book - Truth and Salsa 

Society for the Care of Children’s Health Gold Award 1995 - Laurie Tells