Advice from Charles Dickens

The Morgan Library, one of best places to spend an afternoon in New York, is having a Charles Dickens exhibition with things on display like the manuscript for A Christmas Carol, original illustrations for his books, and personal letters.

This kind of show always thrills me. Seeing rough drafts with all their cross-outs and marginalia, reading personal correspondence between Dickens and […]

January 19th, 2012|Categories: Being Human, Writing|Tags: , , , , |0 Comments

Shhhh…Let me tell you a secret.

You don’t have to be a Trekkie to appreciate the Vulcan patriotism displayed by president and COO Bradley Abelow at his congressional subcommittee hearing for the MF Global debacle. Live long and prosper, indeed!

Like many people, I was thrilled to see this picture in the NY Times today because nothing gets me going like SECRET MESSAGES. My vote for best […]

December 16th, 2011|Categories: Being Human, Writing|Tags: , , , , , , |1 Comment

I have magic powers.

It’s true. I don’t care what Richard Dawkins says about the only real magic being the kind we witness in the universe, I know my powers are magical and I have proof they exist.

My magic powers are special abilities that I possess for which is there is no scientific explanation. I have identified three of them, but I’m not ruling […]

November 30th, 2011|Categories: Being Human|Tags: , , , , |4 Comments

Escape Under the Forever Sky is out in paperback!

And look – it has a lovely new cover! Also, Escape made the Texas Bluebonnet Award Master List for 2012-2013. I’m really excited about my visit to the Ethical Culture School on December 12th to talk with the 4th graders about Ethiopian adventures.



November 16th, 2011|Categories: Writing|Tags: , , , |9 Comments

Real Magic

Just finished THE MAGIC OF REALITY: How We Know What’s Really True by Richard Dawkins. I loved it. It’s got the easiest and best explanation of evolution that I’ve come across, which is great because I find that when it comes to profound concepts I need multiple explanations, the simpler the better. My favorite part of the book, though, was in the first chapter where Dawkins offers three definitions of magic.

Is this offensive?

Of course it’s all a matter of perspective and taste. What I think is hilarious, you find appalling. What you think is gross, I think is fascinating. And isn’t it great that the world is full of different opinions, otherwise it’d be a really boring place to live?

Except I’m usually the outlier.

Here’s an example. A bunch of years ago, I […]

October 27th, 2011|Categories: 17th Century, Being Human, Writing|Tags: , , , , , , |0 Comments

Is obedience overrated?

I’ve been thinking a lot about Stanely Milgram, the social psychologist who ran the (in)famous experiments in the early 1960s that looked at people’s willingness to commit acts of cruelty in the name of obedience.

Milgram was trying to figure out why so many Germans stood by or participated in Nazi acts of atrocity. He brought in 100 subjects, all men, […]

October 12th, 2011|Categories: Being Human|Tags: , , , , , |7 Comments

Why write ebooks for kids when kids don’t read ebooks?

You see the stats everywhere: ebook sales are exploding, ereaders are flying off the (virtual) shelves. Everybody’s smartphone has an ereader app. Or two. But not for kids. Not yet.

It’s driving me crazy, but I can’t find the article I read a couple of months ago that broke down ebook sales for kids by age. Suffice it say, among kids […]

October 3rd, 2011|Categories: E-books, Self Publishing|Tags: , , , |4 Comments


Guess what? I wrote some more books! And I published them myself. Electronically.

I can’t have been the only third grader with Edward Gorey on the nightstand and Little House on the Prairie in the closet. I can’t be the only person who passed her cherished copy of Very Special People: With 52 Pages of Fascinating Photographs of these Astonishing Wonders […]

In praise of boredom

Did anyone else happen to read Neal Gabler’s opinion piece in the New York Times on August 14th called The Elusive Big Idea? It’s long and worth reading through the end, but the gist of it is that as our access to information grows, our ideas get smaller. Gabler says, “In effect, we are living in an increasingly […]

September 12th, 2011|Categories: Busy Life|Tags: , |2 Comments