Story is a powerful way to build compassion and bridge understanding between cultures. Story has the power to heal as well as teach.
Throughout my life I have enjoyed reading, writing, and sharing stories.
In college I wanted to learn about the brain. How do we remember; why do we forget; why we want to try new things? Just how does our brain work? So I became a research psychologist and studied brain development at the University of Minnesota and as a post-doctoral scientist at the University of London. That might seem like a long way from writing books for kids, but it’s not.
My work has always focused on children and young adults – as a researcher, counselor, teacher, parent, and now as a writer. I have conducted workshops on child abuse, learning disabilities, play therapy, and creative writing. My work and research has allowed me to live all over the world – in Malawi, Africa, Hawaii, Japan, the western Pacific, and, most recently, the Navajo Nation where I hike, ride my bike and attend local rodeos.
I have written several books including Navajo Year, Walk Through Many Seasons (Arizona Book of the Year) and Warriors in the Crossfire (Colorado Book of the Year). My recent titles include No-Name Baby (Top 100 Books of the Year, Bank Street) and my newest, a Junior Library Guild Selection, Cowboy Up, Ride the Navajo Rodeo.
Legends and folklore are of particular interest to me, for they hold the magic and mystery of other people’s–or generation’s–beliefs. When we read, we learn–about ourselves and about someone–or sometime–else.
My “bottom line” message: Read anything and everything. You learn interesting stuff, meet interesting people, and go places you have never been. Read every day. As a kid, I kept a stack of comic books under my bed. And a flashlight! Now I keep a stack of books next to my bed. You never know when you need a good book.