About Me

This is my fifteenth year of presenting all-day workshops that receive excellent evaluations from participants. I was a public and school librarian for 17 years and served as chairperson of the Newbery Award Committee. I have presented at conferences throughout the U.S. Teachers, librarians, and parents have come to rely on my four book guides including Great Books for Girls, for which I appeared on NBC’s Today Show.

I have given hundreds of workshops on young adult books and how to use them with teens. I'm currently a seminar presenter for TTL Seminars (Tools for Teaching and Learning); I presented YA book seminars for BER for many years. I'm an adjunct professor at the University of Rhode Island, where I teach young adult literature, and an instructor in Mansfield University’s on-line School Libraries and Information Technologies program in which I teach Children's & Young Adult Literature. 

I was the chairperson of the Newbery Award Committee in 2001 as well as a member of an earlier Newbery Award Committee, Caldecott Award Committee, Notable Children’s Books Committee, and Carnegie Award Committee for videos. Before turning to writing and public speaking, I worked as a children’s librarian for seventeen years in schools and public libraries in California and Rhode Island.

I have been reviewing books for young people in national publications since the early 1980s. I review for Kirkus Reviews, Teacher-Librarian, and The Providence Journal. I previously reviewed for School Library Journal and Booklist, and was a contributing editor to BOOK: The Magazine for the Reading Life for five years.

I'm widely known for my four guides, Great Books for Girls: More than 600 Recommended Books for Girls Ages 3-14 (first published in 1997 and revised in May 2002), Great Books for Boys: More than 600 Books for Boys 2 to 14 (Ballantine, 1998), Great Books about Things Kids Love: More than 750 Recommended Books for Children 3 to 14 (Ballantine, 2002), and Great Books for Babies and Toddlers: More than 500 Recommended Books for Your Child’s First Three Years (Ballantine, 2003). 

My books have attracted national attention on television and radio, and in newspapers and magazines. I've been featured on NBC’s Today Show, All Things Considered, CNN, Fox News, Minneapolis Public Radio, San Francisco’s KQED, and Parents’ Radio. My books have been featured and reviewed in the New York Times Sunday Book Review, The Christian Science Monitor, US News and World Report, USA Today, Ms., Newsday, Boston Globe, Denver Post, Dallas Morning News, Business Week, Entertainment Weekly, and the Providence Journal, among others. My guides have sold more than 125,000 copies

A Minnesota native and current Rhode Island resident, I have a B.A. in English from Carleton College, Northfield, MN, and an MLS and M.A. in Folklore from the University of California at Berkeley. My folklore thesis on the lore of the stock market was the subject of my first book, High Steppers, Fallen Angels, and Lollipops: Wall Street Slang (Dodd, Mead, 1988).