Welcome to my website! Here's some info about me... I was born in Brooklyn and grew up in Great Neck on Long Island, a suburb of New York City. I have two older brothers. As a kid, I had a lot of pets, loved to read, played piano, and wrote a lot of stories, too. My mom mostly stayed at home to raise me and my brothers and to do the work around the house. She also sometimes taught in the New York City public schools. My dad worked as a guidance counselor in the New York City school system too.
I went to an alternative public high school without grades. I majored in math in college (Brown University). I had a lot of odd jobs then including pumping gas one summer at Yellowstone Park.
Me as a Kid
My Bio Page
After college, I volunteered for a year as a teacher in Haiti, then went on to teach high school in Los Angeles and to help run an elementary afterschool. I've also developed curriculum for a nonprofit in Chicago that helps city kids prepare for college. I love to travel, too, and whenever I could save up money I took trips to faraway places as a backpacker.
I've been writing stories since I was a kid and in my spare time while I worked as an adult. Finally I decided to write anovel for real. I always wrote for children. It's hard to say why except that those are the stories I can tell
best. My writing schedule is simple: write write write and take a long walk when I need to plan ahead or when I'm stumped. I write early drafts in notebooks--two at a time so that I can rewrite from one into the other. I switch back and forth between outlining and just writing to see where it leads me. I think one important thing about writing is to finish the story. I can tell a story best when I know how it ends. Right now
I also do storytimes for younger kids at the local library and occasionally run a workshop with four or five kids who love writing stories.
In 2010, I was picked as the Children's-Writer-in-Residence by Thurber House, a residency offered to one children's book writer a year in honor of author and humorist James Thurber. I got to live in Thurber's house in downtown Columbus, now a literary center and museum. Thanks Thurber House! That was a terrific experience and helped me write my second book.
Since my wife is Austrian (she's on this page with the jigsaw and to the right), I now live in the third district of Vienna, Austria. Austria borders Italy, Slovenia, Hungary, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Germany, and Switzerland. Vienna is the capital city of Austria. About 2 million people live here.
The pace of life in the city is slow. Examples of how slow are: The age you need to be to ride the subway alone is 6 years old; and here we recycle not only paper, plastic, metal, and glass but also used cooking oil! German is the official language of the country but each region has its own dialect and slang. Here in Vienna, the German everyone speaks sounds to me something like my grandma's Yiddish.
Thanks so much for visiting my website. I hope it has all the info you’re looking for. Elsewhere on the web you can watch a 30 minute interview with me that aired on Ohio NPR (skip to 10:30 for a discussion of The Witch's Guide to Cooking with Children), read my occasional blog, or read my 10 blog posts on Tor.com.
The photos on this page are my friends and family. This one is me now :).
I'm at work on my third and fourth kids books.