The Power of One Writer
Back Yards, Ethiopia and Children's Books
author • speaker • teacher • volunteer

One brave turtle vs. the world

When I was asked to write the books for the 2010 Doll of the Year, American Girl flew me to Wisconsin to brainstorm about the theme–something related to saving the earth. American Girl talks about keeping things “girl sized.” As I searched my brain cells for images of myself as a girl Lanie’s age, spending

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Higgeldy-piggeldy wanderings through spring

In Animal, Vegetable, Miracle Barbara Kingsolver writes that on Mother’s Day, in keeping with local tradition, they took a tomato plant to a neighbor. “Carrying the leggy, green-smelling plant, our family walked down the gravel driveway to her house at the bottom of our hollow. ‘Oh, well, goodness,’ she said, taking the plant from us and

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Starting as a clueless mess

The beginning of my rootedness wasn’t pretty. I lived in Portland, Oregon until I was two years old (look at the daffodils behind us) with a good and beautiful princess of an older sister and (eventually) a younger sister. But after my parents moved us to Ethiopia, I never lived in Portland again…until a couple

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Happy Earth Day

Earth Day seems like a good time to start my new blog thread…going from being a somewhat restless traveler to putting down roots. Literally. It all goes back to Maji, Ethiopia.Since there was no winter in Maji, my sisters and I spent huge chunks of every day outside, exploring. This is an old picture that’s

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The threads of longing and art

My first blog tour is over! Hope in a Chaotic World by Jane Kurtz Last answers (for now) about Anna Was Here. Most people wanted to know how moving was part of my own childhood–easy peasy answer there. This picture must have been taken not long after we arrived in Ethiopia when I was two (I’m the

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Anna Was Here by Jane Kurtz

Daring Greatly at least every once in a while

Like at least half of everybody I know, I’e been reading Daring Greatly and liking Brene Brown’s disarming way of admitting that she might have studied shame and vulnerability for years, but that didn’t mean she wanted to BE vulnerable.  “I did believe,” she writes, “that I could opt out of feeling vulnerable. Anna would certainly agree.

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Whew!

Teacher strike averted. So, so glad that people like my bro–who takes time to sing with his third graders and fills their brains with good books AND has built a donkey for an Ethiopia Reads Bring a Book Buy a Book project is on the job and not on the picket line. One thing that

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Teacher strikes

Emotions are sizzling in Portland as the public school teachers–including my brother and sister-in-law–go on strike next week. Eeek. Overpaid whiners? People actually write that? In public? These days? Eeeek. I’ve worked with so many amazing educators–classroom teachers and librarians–in the past 10 years.  And of course I am a teacher. I’m on the faculty

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What good does an author visit do?

Wow!  We’ve had more snow in Portland than (I think I heard correctly on the news last night) we’ve had in 21 years.  My sister Cathy came over and we tromped through it together.  Just like old times!  (She’s the one sitting in front of the snowman and I’m behind it–in the year we lived

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Crowdfunding, teamwork and beating the blues

As 2013 draws to an end, I’ve had the crowdfunding blues a bit. I’ve joined the crowdfunding team in the past year or so, but only as a contributor.  Here and there, I’ve pitched a few pennies toward projects launched by friends of mine.  Mostly I do philanthropy the old-fashioned way.  I write checks.  I

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