I grew up in Indiana with one older brother and two younger. Our artist mom didn't mind a bit when my brothers and I dipped into her paints and clay to create our own art.

Our dad loved his job as a homebuilder and developer. His best design, I thought, was a library in a house he built for us. What a privilege to sit in this quiet room surrounded by shelves filled with books we read. Nosey bears and naughty rabbits jumped out of the books. I rode elephants and tigers to lands I had never imagined. And people on the pages told me of struggles and adventures so different from mine.

Pretending to be a tour guide at the Louvre in Paris, 2010
In college I studied music, psychology, and sociology, eventually earning a master's degree in clinical social work. Then I found fascinating jobs working with families and children, and continued singing for fun.

While a social worker at Michigan State University, I wrote and published two picture books for children with bleeding disorders. One of the tenors in my singing group, The Silver Swans, illustrated the books.

I was hooked on writing for children. The year my husband and I lived in Honolulu, Hawaii, I volunteered at the Waikiki Aquarium and wrote about marine animals.

When we returned to East Lansing, Michigan, I discovered Tyree Guyton's art at the Kresge Art Museum, and began writing Magic Trash.

Now I live and write on a hill at the edge of a forest in Portland, Oregon, climbing down to lead school tours through the Portland Art Museum.