About Me


I've been presenting all-day workshops that receive excellent evaluations from participants since 2001. 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. I wrote four guides to children's books, now out of print, including Great Books for Girls, for which I appeared on NBC’s Today Show.

I've given hundreds of workshops on young adult books and how to use them with teens. For a decade, I was an instructor in Mansfield University’s on-line School Libraries and Information Technologies program in which I taught Children's & Young Adult Literature. I've also been an adjunct professor at the University of Rhode Island, where I taught young adult literature. 

I served as chair of the 2002 Newbery Award Committee 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 school and public libraries in California and Rhode Island.

Since 2013, I've been creating discussion guides and teacher's guides for publishers of children's and young adult books. The discussion guides provide questions for classrooms and book clubs. The teacher's guides include both discussion questions and classroom activities, sometimes with related websites and recommended additional reading.

I've been reviewing books for young people in national publications since the early 1980s. I currently review for The Providence Journal. I previously reviewed for School Library Journal, Booklist, Kirkus Reviews, and Teacher-Librarian. I was a contributing editor to Book magazine for five years.

I'm widely known for my four guides, now out of print: 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 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. The 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 a M.A. in Folklore from the University of California at Berkeley. My master's thesis on the folklore of the stock market was the subject of my first book, High Steppers, Fallen Angels, and Lollipops: Wall Street Slang (Dodd, Mead, 1988).