“the chemistry of em” YA short story in YARN

I’m delighted to share that my short story, “The Chemistry of Em” is up at Young Adult Review Network!






YARN is an amazing resource for young adult readers and people of any age who write for young adult readers. I’m pretty much pleased as punch to have work included there. And a big thank you to the editor who accepted my piece and worked with me on revisions, Diana Renn, who was incredibly gracious and insightful!





“The Chemistry of Em” chronicles Em’s abrupt move across the world without her parents, her lack of fitting in, her three inappropriate suitors, and, of course, her chem teacher Ms. Martine whose scientific advice gets her through it.

I do hope you’ll check out my story and stick around for the others too!

happy happy 2014!

I’ll be back with a new post on Monday and am excited for the next year of blogging!

Until then, wishing you a happy happy 2014 with this video my guy and I made. To all the picture book lovers who’ve visited since I started This Picture Book Life in July, a giant hug and thank you! I hope you’ll come celebrate books with me some more!



HappyHappy 2014 // YEAR OF THE HORSE from davis handmade productions on Vimeo.





10 picture books that took my breath away in 2013

In honor of The Book Chat and the end of the year, I give you 10 picture books that took my breath away over the last twelve months—in no particular order. (Most are new, but some were published in an earlier year but I discovered them in 2013.)







Journey by Aaron Becker.

Because it shows, gorgeously, how imagination helps us cope, survive, and connect.









Sleep Like a Tiger by Mary Logue and Pamela Zagarenski.

Because it’s that exquisite.









The Dark by Lemony Snicket, illustrated by Jon Klassen.

Because it was done so well that I was really creeped out reading it. Thank goodness the dark is benevolent in the end!










Hank Finds an Egg by Rebecca Dudley.

Because of its singular style and sweetness.













A Home for Bird by Philip Stead.

Because Toad is an amphibian to root for!! And bird captivates too.











If You Want to See a Whale by Julie Fogliano, pictures by Erin Stead.

Because of its poetry, its patience.











 Garmann’s Summer by Stian Hole. (And the other two in the series, including Garmann’s Secret.)

Because it is so honest and strange and unlike anything else.








The Tree House by Marije Tolman & Ronald Tolman.

Because it’s phenomenal, complete with a grand and colorful wildlife huzzah and a relationship between two bears that is quiet and still and constant.











Jemmy Button by Jennifer Uman & Valerio Vidali.

Because it’s extraordinary and historical.












Rabbityness by Jo Empson.


Because it’s joyfully exuberant and heartbreakingly sad at the same time.










 See what other bookish bloggers picked at the book chat today!



“Billy Small” short story in Stone Crowns Magazine issue 2


A short dispatch to say I’m delighted to have my story, “Billy Small” in the second issue of Stone Crowns Magazine. And Meredith Jaeger made an illustration for the piece! So special to see.

I enjoyed the first issue so much I had to submit! This one too is full of great stuff for young adult readers. So have at it! It’s a totally free download.

Here’s how “Billy Small” starts:

“Billy was the smallest kid in town. His parents and his grandmother who lived with them called him Mr. Peebles after the world’s tiniest cat. His peers just called him shrimp.”


Read the rest and the other pieces here.



benajmin dilley’s thirsty camel, the first book I loved



I so enjoyed Jessica’s book chat at Sweet Green Tangerine, I wanted to join in myself. The topic? The first book you loved.

Hands down Benjamin Dilley’s Thirsty Camel by Jolly Roger Bradfield is the first book I loved. I still love it. I didn’t have a ton of picture books as a kid, so the ones I did stick out vividly. But this one sticks out most of all.




“People said that Benjamin Dilley was a dreamer; but the truth was that he had a wonderful imagination.”

Benjamin imagined a hippo, a genie, a goat driving a race car, a turtle wearing a turtleneck. And MORE. And on the day there was a leak in the basement, he imagined a camel with glasses he could play ping pong with while his dad fixed the leaky pipe.




(My favorite spread ^)


Only Benjamin Dilley’s dad didn’t fix the pipe. He broke it more and the whole basement started to flood. But during the panic of Benjamin’s parents calling the plumbers and amassing mops and buckets, the water disappeared. Can you guess why? That camel drank it all. Because that camel was real.





At least it was real to Benjamin Dilley. It may have been that tiny undiscovered drain that ate up all the water. Or it might have been the camel. Who’s to say? While I didn’t know it consciously at the time, as a child I felt like the book was telling me something. That sometimes children can see things  adults don’t. That just because they might think you’re crazy, there’s a chance you’re not. That not fitting in with their reality might just be okay because you’ve got your own reality. And at least you’ve got friendly imagined animals to keep you company.




Was there a book like that for you? One that you loved as a child or teen? One that told you something you really needed to know?


 Link up a post about the first book you loved here!

To join in…

1. Please follow the host and co-host

2. Visit a few other book chat links and show some support.

3. Link back here in your post.  Or use the button provided.

4. Old posts are always welcome if you have blogged on the topic before.