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On reading your work aloud

After “read, read, read,” my second biggest piece of advice for aspiring writers is this: Read your work aloud. Here’s why. Sure, it’s the best way to catch mistakes. But what reading aloud really does is force you to slow down. It forces you to move through the story of your book alongside your characters,… Read more »

Some epiphanies from revisionland

For the first summer in the past few years, I don’t have a new book out. At first I was excited about this discovery. As you might guess from my books being set in the summer, summer is my favorite season, so I was happy to have my summer back. Well, until I realized that… Read more »

Answering student questions

[Spoiler alert: this post deals with some plot elements of The Distance to Home] Last month, I had the honor of visiting Sells Middle School in Dublin, OH, right after the entire sixth grade had read The Distance to Home. It was such a fun visit, but, as always, it wasn’t possible to answer every student question,… Read more »

Coming in . . . 2020!?!

Wow, 2020 sounds truly futuristic to this author who was born in the 1980s. I’m so excited to share that my next middle grade novel, Man of the House, will be coming out in spring 2020 from Aladdin, an imprint of Simon & Schuster. Here’s the official announcement in Publishers Weekly: Looking forward to sharing more news… Read more »

What I Love About Book Festivals

Why do I attend book festivals? The most obvious answer seems: to sell books! But that’s not my reason. It’s for all those small moments, those connections with readers that will ripple out into a life in ways you will never know. Often the connections I make aren’t even about my books (though it’s nice… Read more »

Someday this pain will be useful to you

It’s the title of a YA novel I read years ago, and also pretty much how I’ve been processing my emotions for the past 18-ish hours after watching my beloved Bearcats go up 22 points with just over ten minutes to go … only to lose in the most historic, heartbreaking fashion imaginable. As I… Read more »

March Madness & exciting book news

It’s been an exciting March in Cincinnati and it’s only about to get even more exciting now that March Madness begins this Thursday. As you may have heard if you follow college basketball, my beloved University of Cincinnati Bearcats men’s basketball team is in the big dance and a #2 seed this year. !!! Their… Read more »

Using The Distance to Home in the Classroom

Last year, I connected via Skype with two schools that used The Distance to Home in a grade-wide capacity. I was delighted to interview the teachers who spearheaded this project in their respective middle schools, Angie Hull from Dublin, OH, and Tiffany Hathaway from Folsom, NJ. JB: When I wrote this book, I always hoped it… Read more »

Real kids . . . what do they read?

Last week during my World Read-Aloud Day (WRAD) Skype visits with 4th-6th grade classrooms in New York, Illinois, Texas, Iowa, and Minnesota, I asked the students for reading recommendations. What books have they read and loved lately? Which books are their all-time faves? (I only wish we had more than 20 minutes to chat so… Read more »

2017, a year in books

1 book published in hardcover: 14 Hollow Road 1 book printed in paperback: The Distance to Home 2 new middle grade WIPs revised 1 book blurbed (my first time being asked! I was so thrilled! It’s coming out in 2018.) several picture books drafted (none exactly “finished”) 207 books* read (208 if I can somehow manage… Read more »