Welcome to my website! This is the page about me, so here goes...


I was born in Brooklyn and grew up in Great Neck on Long Island, a suburb of New York City. My dad worked as a teacher and guidance counselor in the New York City public school system. My mom also worked as a teacher. I have two older brothers. As a kid, I had a lot of pets, played piano, wrote stories, rode my bike, and never ever got into trouble! I went to an alternative public high school without grades and attended Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, where I majored in math. I had a lot of odd jobs then including pumping gas one summer at Yellowstone Park.


After college, I volunteered for a year as a teacher in Haiti, then went

Me as a Kid

My Bio Page

on to teach high school and to help run an elementary afterschool. I've also developed curriculum for a nonprofit in Chicago that helps city kids prepare for college and gives scholarships.


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 a novel for real. I always wrote for kids. It's hard to say why except that those are the stories I can tell best.

I lived in Chile for a while, and have traveled through a lot of East Asia and India, some of it hiking and camping. I once saw a wild elephant swim across a lake! And I came inches away from a deadly poisonous coral snake which slid down a rock I was sitting on. That sounds exciting but only because I didn't get bitten. I've had monkeys break into my tent. I've visited a lot of wonderful cities too.

Since my wife is Austrian, I now live in the third district of Vienna, Austria. There's a lot to say


about what it's like here in Vienna, but that will have to be some other time.


I should say more about my writing. 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. Thanks Thurber House! That was a terrific experience and helped me write my second book. My first book The Witch's Guide to Cooking with Children was named a 2010 Notable Children's Recording by the American Library Association and nominated for the Texas Bluebonnet Award and the Hawai'i Nēnē Award. The sequel, The Witch's Curse, was called "another edgy, absorbing read" by the American Library Association's Booklist and "an exciting adventure" by School Library Journal. I'm now writing my third and fourth books for kids.

I also do storytimes for younger kids at the local library and occasionally run a workshop with four or five kids who are interested in writing stories.


What else? I've done a lot of traveling—I always wanted to see the world. Besides working in Haiti,

On Running Writing Workshops with Children  0:00 - 10:35


On The Witch's Guide to Cooking with Children  10:35 -  15:52


Reading the Prologue of The Witch's Guide to Cooking with Children  15:52 - 22:45


More discussion of The Witch's Guide to Cooking with Children and the Audiobook  22:45 onward