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On a Writer's Mind

The McCain Moment

Now in print!

I wrote the first version of John McCain during the election campaign of 2008. Read More 

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From Donald Trump to Pope Francis

A couple of weeks ago I met a Russian photographer who had shot both Donald Trump (at a Miss Universe contest) and Pope Francis (at World Youth Day in Poland). I didn't ask him how they compared . . .
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Pope Francis,coming soon

Pope Francis: The People's Pope will be published on September 26, in Aladdin's Real-Life Stories biography series (Simon & Schuster).
I was thrilled and honored to write the story of this extraordinary boy from Buenos Aires, son of Italian immigrants, and his surprising life's journey to the Vatican.
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Early inspiration for Nelson Mandela: South African Revolutionary

Last week I had the pleasure of presenting a copy of Nelson Mandela: South African Revolutionary to Ifeanyi Menkiti, a classmate of mine from Pomona College. I’d dedicated the book to him because back when I was an extremely naïve and inexperienced undergraduate, he was the first African (Nigerian) I met. Read More 
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Barack Obama,better than ever

Here comes a new, updated edition of my YA biography of our 44th president, now with timeline, index, and photos.
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A deeply informed imagination

I love listening to writers talking about how they work. I always learn something, and I get a kick out of hearing about other authors' quirks and tricks. (I have plenty of such quirks, myself.)
At the Millbrook Literary Festival last month, I listened to Bryan Bunch explaining how he did the research for Before Eureka: The Adventures of Young Archimedes, his YA historical novel  Read More 
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Honors for Friends of Liberty

I'd like to share some good news! My historical novel about the Boston Tea Party has won some modest awards:
The Carol Otis Hurst Book Prize
The Paterson Prize for Books for Young People
Bank Street College Best Children's Books
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Ghost Road, Betsy Sterman

Two eleven-year-old friends, Jason and Chazz, are yanked out of their present-day lives and into the nineteenth century by the pleas of a ghost. The troubled spirit turns out to be a boy their age, Jem, a runaway slave from Tennessee. Jem traveled the Underground Railroad, Jason and Chazz discover, only to meet a  Read More 
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Highly entertaining humiliations of the writer's life

I loved Roger Rosenblatt's essay in the May 25, 2014 New York Times Book Review, “Please Turn to the Chapter on Obscurity”. His misadventures reminded me of the time when my first YA biography, Maria Mitchell: The Soul of an Astronomer, came out. The local Barnes & Noble invited me for a book signing, Read More 
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Friends of Liberty and the Boston Tea Party

Important historical moments can really interfere with your life.

Take the Boston Tea Party, a huge tipping point in American history. If things had happened just a little differently, those pesky chests of tea would have been quietly unloaded and sold, tax included. King George III and the British Parliament would have seen the light Read More 
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