WOLF. Watch for it in September 2013!

Watch for Minnie in August!

Don't you just love that face?

Starred Reviews from Publisher's Weekly and Booklist!

Now in paperback!

Fall head over heels in love with Jody.

As timely today as it was during the Vietnam war.

Perfect for Book Clubs!

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Selected Works

The sequel to SHEEP.
Diminutive, shy, and quiet, sixth-grader Minnie McClary learns how to use her power and her voice to stand up for what she knows is right. A Bankstreet College Book Of The Year!
A homeless dog and a homeless girl find each other and start a new life together. A Bankstreet College Book Of The Year!
"The victory of the human spirit shines through Defiance like the sun."
--Suzanne Fisher Staples
A Kirkus and School Library Journal Best Books of the Year
Life changes for Lucy when she visits her grandmother at the end of a very special summer. A Booklist Best Books of the Year book
The heartwarming story of a dog and boy who find each other when hope is nearly gone. A California Young Reader Medal Winner!
Young Adult action and romance. Now available as an ebook on Amazon Kindle A BIG PICTURE award winner!
The book that jumpstarted my career and won me a Flying Start award from Publisher's Weekly. Young Adult (12-18). An American Library Association Best Book Of the Year
In the late 1960's, fourteen-year-old Cory's life is greatly changed by the sudden death of her father and her brother's tour of duty in Vietnam. A Bankstreet College best book of the year
"With all my heart, I loved Bobby James Walker. I forgave him, too. But I did not want to see him anymore. Not then, and maybe not ever." Sally Jo Walker An American Library Association best book for reluctant readers
An endearing young couple's search for independence and identity. A New York Library Best 100 Books Of The Year
An elderly couple fall in love and elope to Yellowstone. IBBY award winner

My Works

The border collie, Jack, and his best friend, Luke, have had a great life for the past four years with their adopted parents on their sheep ranch in Northern California. But now a pack of coyotes has started picking off the sheep and Jack feels responsible. He is confident that he and the other dogs he has trained can take care of those coyotes once and for all. But what if the predator is not a coyote, but a much larger and fiercer animal? Jack is older and slower than he used to be. Is he still up to the challenge?

Minnie McClary and her family have just moved to Mojave, and in this new school where she doesn't have any friends, and this new town where her whole family acts like a bunch of strangers, Minnie doesn't even know who she is anymore. Then Miss Marks takes over Minnie's language arts class. Through private journal entries and open classroom conversations, she encourages students to ask questions and think critically about everything. Minnie is inspired, but some people in town wonder just what, exactly, Miss Marks is teaching. When a group of angry parents demands the teacher's suspension, Minnie finds herself asking a lot of questions--and figuring out what she has the power to change.

Maggie And Oliver
Maggie is always full of questions. But a young maid in a fine house isn’t supposed to wonder so much, so one day Maggie is thrown out into the street with only a tiny heart-shaped locket for a keepsake. Who is the lady in the locket?
A little dog named Oliver is pushing his nose along an icy sidewalk searching for his lost mistress, or at least something to eat. No matter how hard he looks he can’t find either one, but he does see a girl with round blue eyes and a golden locket. The girl calls him Lucky.
And perhaps Lucky is the right name after all, for the little dog soon helps Maggie find a wonderful home of her own—and one for him, too.

While vacationing in the country, eleven-year-old Toby, a cancer patient, learns some important lessons about living and dying from an elderly poet and her cow.

"Real and poignant" --Kirkus Starred Review

The Last Best Days Of Summer
For twelve-year-old Lucy Crandall, the last week of August is the most perfect time in the world. It’s the week she gets to spend with Grams at the lake house, canoeing, baking cookies, and glazing pots in Grams’s potting shed. Grams has a way of making Lucy feel centered, like one of the pots on her kick wheel—perfect, steady, and completely at peace. But this summer, Grams doesn’t seem to be exactly the person she once was. And as the week turns into a roller coaster of surprises—some good, some awful—Lucy can’t help but wonder: Will things ever be centered again?

"This story about Jack, the sheep dog’s adventures to reclaim his purpose in life — herding sheep — is an allegory... a fable-like story about a dog, but it is also the story we all face about finding our place in life. Jack has to deal with love, loss, disappointment and abuse."
--Trinidad Guardian

* "Those seeking a thought-provoking, emotionally stirring read will become intimately involved in Liv's quest to understand herself and the man who abandoned her at birth." -Publisher's Weekly, starred review

How Far Would You Have Gotten If I Hadn't Called You Back
My first book.
Young Adult (12 and up) romance and mystery, published to starred reviews and a Flying Start award by Publisher's Weekly.

Sonny's War
After her father dies, Cory needs her brother, Sonny, more than ever. Sonny is quiet but he's a great listener, and Cory knows where she can always find him--in the garage working on his car...When Sonny tells Cory he's going to Vietnam, she is devastated. What are she and her mom supposed to do while he's gone? What if he doesn't come back at all? The new substitute history teacher is the only one who seems to understand. Cory has never met anybody like Lawrence. He's young, he's handsome, and he's passionately against the war that took her brother away. As Cory turns to Lawrence for the comfort Sonny once provided, she finds herself wanting much more than Lawrence could ever give.

Letting Go Of Bobby James Or How I Found My Self Of Steam
Scared and alone, Sixteen-year-old Sally Jo (Jody) Walker sits at a gas station in the middle of Florida contemplating the rest of her life. Should she wait for Bobby James, who abandoned her there? Should she find a way to get back to Texas and her family? Jody does neither. With twenty dollars to her name, she begins a new life in Jackson Beach, Florida, washing dishes at Thelma's Open 24-hour Cafe and sneaking into the cineplex at night to sleep.

At turns, heart-wrenching and hilarious, (this novel) introduces readers to an unforgettable and surprising young woman who manages to break free of an abusive relationship and find True Strength and her "self of steam".

Anything But Ordinary
From the moment their friendship begins in eighth grade, Winifred and Bernie are individualists. A little awkward? Maybe. Quirky? Definitely. Outsiders? Yes. But does that matter to them? Not at all. They pride themselves on being different, and, after all, they have each other. Especially through the tough years of high school. College looms ahead. They send off for the same catalogs, promising never to separate. But then everything changes. . .

Call It A Gift
Jeronimo Smith, seventy-seven, is having a particularly bad day, and he needs to poems of William Butler Yeats to get him through it. But the book has just been checked out of the Santa Barbara Public Library. When he accosts the widow who has it, he meets the woman who will become of he love of his life. They're an unlikely pair--Jeronimo a retired janitor, Emily cultured and wealthy--and both are coping with troublesome adult children and the indignities of aging. Jeronimo courts Emily by mowing her lawn, and when he impetuously invites her to join him on a road trip to Yellowstone, she stuns herself by agreeing.

Their elopement is a once-in-a lifetime adventure and the setting for a bittersweet love story. The two must wrestle with balancing family responsibilities with their own needs, with coming to terms with old prejudices and with the need to stay close to what is wild in the world and in themselves, despite pressures to age "sensibly." When a life-threatening illness forces them to make a wrenching decision about their future together, they conclude that life, whatever its challenges, is meant to be lived fully to its very end. Call It a Gift is resplendent with profoundly human characters and beautiful settings, unforgettable in the way it reminds us that romance and adventure are not merely for the young. The mysteries and poignant intensity of old age have seldom been depicted with such perception, nor in a story so eminently readable.