“Writing is reading turned inside out.”

That’s what Marjorie Bruce used to say. She was my favorite English teacher, and as a writer I’ve always kept her words in mind. Whether I’m working on a novel, chapter book, picture book, or play, I try to create stories that I would enjoy—stories with humor, mystery, and characters I care about.
Available Now

Night on Fire
Middle Grade Novel - Albert Whitman, 2015

Thirteen-year-old Billie Simms doesnít think her hometown of Anniston, Alabama, should be segregated, but few of the townís residents share her opinion. As equality spreads across the country and the Civil Rights Movement gathers momentum, Billie canít help but feel stuck—and helpless—in a stubborn town too set in its ways to realize that the world is passing it by. So when Billie learns that the Freedom Riders, a group of peace activists riding interstate buses to protest segregation, will be traveling through Anniston on their way to Montgomery, she thinks that maybe change is finally coming and her quiet little town will shed itself of its antiquated views.


Unleashed! The Secret Lives of White House Pets
Chapter Book - Simon & Schuster, 2011

Alongside the presidents and their families, some crazy pets have lived in the White House. From John Quincy Adamsís pet alligator all the way to First Puppy Bo Obama, the White House has been home to lots of four-legged friends. Now readers can get an inside look at the animals that have accompanied our nationís leaders.

Unleashed! is based on a play produced by the Kennedy Center in conjunction with an initiative that aims to educate American youth about past presidents.


The Year of the Bomb
Middle Grade Novel - Simon & Schuster, 2009

When Paul and his friends Arnie, Crank, and Oz find out that a horror movie will be filmed in their town, they can’t believe it—they even manage to get onto the set and meet some of the extras. But then they learn that some of the actors are really undercover agents, and the four boys find themselves tangled in an investigation. Nuclear bombs, conspiracies, and pod people are only supposed to exist in horror movies—right?


On Beale Street
Young Adult Novel - Simon & Schuster, 2008

In 1954 Memphis, fifteen-year-old Johnny Ross meets an unknown singer named Elvis Presley. Johnny lands a job at Sun Records, where legendary record producer Sam Phillips helps Elvis and Johnny look deep inside themselves to discover a new thing—part blues and part country, part street and part gospel, part black and part white.


Monkey Town:
The Summer of the Scopes Trial

Young Adult Novel - Simon & Schuster, 2006

When school lets out in sleepy Dayton, Tennessee, fifteen-year-old Frances Robinson has one thing on her mind—spending time with handsome schoolteacher Johnny Scopes. But when Frances’s father has Johnny arrested for teaching evolution, overnight Dayton becomes the center of the universe.


Monkey Town
Paperback Edition - Simon & Schuster, 2007

Monkey Town
Audio Book Edition - Random House Audio, 2007

Monkey Town
eBook Edition - Simon & Schuster, 2007

Chasing George Washington
Chapter Book - Simon & Schuster, 2009
Adapted from a play by Karen Zacarias
Foreword by Michelle Obama
Commissioned by the Kennedy Center
  and the White House Historical Association

Three kids take a tour of the White House and are bored stiff, until George Washington jumps out of his portrait and leads them on a wild chase through White House halls and history.


Teddy Roosevelt and the Treasure of Ursa Major
Chapter Book - Simon & Schuster, 2008
Adapted from a play by Tom Isbell
Foreword by Laura Bush
Commissioned by the Kennedy Center
  and the White House Historical Association

The year is 1906, and kids are running wild in the White House. They are Archie, Kermit, and Ethel Roosevelt, three of President Theodore Roosevelt’s six children. On a dark, stormy night, they discover a treasure map and follow clues to an adventure that includes pirates, fire in the streets, and a mysterious character named Jura Roams.