Nonfiction Picture Book Author

Waiting For Pumpsie (2017)

• Kirkus Starred Review

"A Grand Slam."

• 2017 Junior Library Guild selection

In 1959 Boston, a young African American baseball fan named Bernard anxiously waits for the Minor League player Pumpsie Green to join the Red Sox. It is the last team with an all-white lineup, but change is in the air. Bernard and his family continue to face racial discrimination from white fans and policemen at Fenway Park when they attend games. 


But after the boy and his family hear Pumpsie's name announced on the radio, they later go to a game to root for the new player. 


This story is not so much about Pumpsie Green (who goes on to a short career with the Red Sox) as it is about a family longing for an end to segregation and discrimination. The joy that comes when they enjoy a small victory with their favorite team's integration is palpable though subtle and is the real center of the narrative. The vibrant illustrations in acrylic paint complement and enhance the text, making readers feel a part of the tale.


This uplifting account of a family and the integration of Boston baseball will be inspiring to many youngsters.

• Booklist

"This picture book contributes to children's understanding of America's past, while telling a good story."

• Publishers Weekly

"The story's moments of triumph sound the loudest notes."

• School Library Journal

"This uplifting account of a family and the integration of Boston baseball will be inspiring to many youngsters." 

• Children's Book Council

“The story is a snapshot of the Civil Rights Movement and a great discussion starter about the state of race relations in the United States today.”

The Boo-Boos That Changed The World (2018)

• Kirkus Starred Review

"Appealingly designed and illustrated, an engaging, fun story about the inspiration and inventor of that essential staple of home first aid."

• 2018 Junior Library Guild selection

"Necessity is the mother of invention." Never is that so true than when it involves actual bodily injury! 


This book tells the fascinating story of the invention of the Band-Aid in the early twentieth century. Josephine Dickson was particularly accident-prone in the kitchen, inspiring her husband Earle to come up with a creative solution. 


The narrative moves smoothly through the Dickson's household solution to the local impact (give Band-Aids to the Boy Scouts) to the global impact (Band-Aids were given to soldiers in World War II and are now used worldwide). Instructive back matter includes additional factual information about Earle Dickson, Band-Aids, and other major medical breakthroughs. 


The book tells the story with a delightful sense of humor. A running "The End" gag will make kids chuckle throughout as they will think they've reached the end of the story only to find out that it is not over yet. The splendid illustrations include historical details that evoke a distinct sense of time and place. 


VERDICT A funny and illuminating nonfiction entry that will hold particular appeal for aspiring inventors and future medical professionals.”


Upcoming Books

A Place to Land (signed 2016)

Editor Neal Porter (Neal Porter Books/Holiday House) signed my nonfiction picture book about the writing of the "I Have a Dream" speech. The legendary Jerry Pinkney is illustrating. October 2019.

Oscar's All-American Barber Shop (signed 2017)

Editor Anne Schwartz of Schwartz & Wade publishers (an imprint of Random House) recently signed my historical fiction picture book.

Sonny's Bridge (signed 2017)

My nonfiction picture book about jazz legend, saxophonist Sonny Rollins, will be released in 2019 by Charlesbridge.

Upcoming Audio Books

Recorded Books signs "Boo-Boos"

"The Boo-Boos That Changed the World" will be released on audio by Recorded Books in April 2018.

About Me

I grew up in the suburbs, about an hour east of New York City. The 1950s and 1960s were an historic time to come of age. The moon landing, the terrible violence of 1968, Woodstock, the Beatles, the Civil Rights Movement, and on and on. It made me who I am.


I wrote for my high school newspaper. Then I went to Harpur College in Binghamton, New York where I took a great creative writing class with Robert Pawlikowski.  Sadly, he lost his life much too soon. But I’ve carried his words of  support and encouragement in my heart all these years later. That's what great teachers do. 


I transferred to San Francisco State University, where I continued to write poetry. San Francisco has a glorious history of writers and creative thinking, and I would often read my poetry in North Beach, a section of town made popular by the Beatnik poets, Allen Ginsberg and others. I even won a poetry award. I earned a B.A. in English in 1976. 


After college, I returned to New York, and worked as a bartender, a taxi driver, and for a decade, a songwriter. One song, a pop/jazz composition called "Feel The Night" was recorded by Carl Anderson on GRP Records in 1994. It received airplay. You can still hear it on iTunes.


BUT WAIT!  There’s more!


I learned Photoshop and worked with Marc Asnin, a great, award-winning documentary photographer.


After that, I worked as a web editor and occasional writer for Major League Baseball. I interviewed many sports authors, reviewed books, and even a musuem exhibit on the Golden Age of New York City baseball (the 1950s!).


Then, AFTER THAT, I went back to college at the age of 58 to get a Masters in Childhood Education from Hunter College. I’m half the way there. 


I also became an elementary school substitute teacher in NYC.


But regardless of what job I had, I never stopped  writing and learning as much as I could. I always knew I could get better, and I was driven until I did. I signed up for many online classes in creative nonfiction, poetry, screenwriting, greeting cards, memoir, and picture books.


Then finally in 2017, my debut picture book, “Waiting for Pumpsie” was published. 


In 2018, “The Boo-Boos That Changed The World” hit the bookshelves. 


In 2019, two more nonfiction picture books will be published. One about Martin Luther King, Jr. The other is about jazz saxophonist Sonny Rollins.


And, in 2020 an historical fiction picture book, ”Oscar’s All-American Barber Shop” hits the stands. 


What a long, strange, weird, wonderful trip it’s been!

Interviewed by...

...Monica Wellington

...Susanna Leonard Hill

...Sylvia Liu

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FAQs about Writing, part 1

Q: Where and when do you write?

A: Anywhere at all hours.  Seriously.  BUT, I do like to go to a coffee shop, sit down with my iced coffee and write.  I like the background noise. Plus I listen to conversations.  Sometimes I get ideas.

Q: Is writing easy?

A: No!  Writing is hard. I have to go through draft after draft to get the final version. Or, at least what I think is a final draft. Each picture book takes about a year until I’m happy with the text.

Q: Do you also draw?

A: Nope. Can’t draw. Not really. LOVE to doodle. Especially funny faces. But real drawing? No way.  I focus on the words. That’s difficult enough.

Q: Are you an expert at writing?

A: Fughetaboutit!  I learn everyday. There’s so much to know! But I love to find out what I don’t know. It’s the only way to get better.

Q: When you write, do you focus on one story, or more?

A: Now, THAT is a great question.  I like to work on a few different stories at the same time. If I get stuck on one story, I turn my attention to another story. It prevents me from getting “writer’s block.”

Q: Do you use a computer?

A: Yes! I write on an iPad, actually. And I use Microsoft Word at the moment. I’ve also used Apple Pages. And sometimes, I even use pen and paper. What matters is the story, not the “tool” used to capture it.

FAQ about Writing, part 2

Q: Do you only write nonfiction and historical fiction?

A: So far, yes. I love to introduce new information about known people, or find new wonderful and inspiring people to introduce to the world of children’s literature. Also, I have tried writing fiction, but no success. Yet.

Q: Does it hurt to get your stories rejected?

A: In the begining, definitely. Now, not so much. Each rejection means I’m getting closer to having a story accepted. I use the rejection as motivation, and an opportunity to learn. 

Q: Where do you get your ideas?

A: Everywhere.  By watching and reading about the news, and listening to people talking to each other. ALSO, there’s many great stories that have been published for adults, but never put into picture books for kids.  My story, “Waiting for Pumpsie” is one of those.

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FAQ about Me, part I

Q: Where do you live?

A: My wife and I live in Riverdale, New York.  It’s in the Bronx. We lived in Manhattan for 30 years. 

Q: Hot dogs or pizza:

A: Pizza

Q:

A: 

Q: Have you ever gotten fired from a job?

A: Next question!

Q: Pool or beach?

A: Definitly pool.

Q: Cats or dogs?

A: I love all animals. We have two dogs that we rescued from shelters. I am allergic to cats, but I wish I could own one. Would love to own a horse, too. But it’d be too big for my apartment.

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