Creating Books

Writing a book for young people? Look here for information, advice, and inspiration.

Parrotfish Needed an Update: The Rapidly Changing Language of Transgender Awareness

wittlinger_parrotfish update

A decade ago, I wrote Parrotfish, the first young adult novel with a transgender protagonist. At the time I wrote it, most of my (middle-aged) friends didn’t understand the meaning of the word transgender. They guessed that it meant cross-dresser or drag queen, but the topic was not one that straight, mainstream Americans thought about, […]

3 terrible truths about NaNoWriMo (that prove you should absolutely do it)


We’re a little over a week into National Novel Writing Month, and it seems an excellent time to let a few terrible secrets out of the box. For those curious outsiders, NaNoWriMo is a thirty-day writing challenge to produce a 50,000-word novel by 11:59 pm on November 30th. But when you’re writing, as those who […]

YA Meets the Real: Fiction and Nonfiction That Take On the World


It began with hot summer nights. It was on hot summer nights — when it was far too hot to go outside, when all I wanted to do was sit under the throttle of a noisy air conditioner — that I got my best reading done as a teenager. There were two kinds of books […]

Kids’ Own Publishing


In 2014 co-founder and publisher Victoria Ryle held a party in Melbourne, Australia, to celebrate Kids’ Own Publishing’s 100th book. She told friends and supporters at the event that the richness of these books comes not only from the books themselves but also from the diverse communities that created them. As a young teacher in […]

(Very Eventually) The Zena Sutherland Lecture


Dear Readers, This particular version of my Zena Sutherland Lecture is a fabrication or, at best, a fabulation. Either way it is entirely false. Yes, I did give the Zena Sutherland Lecture at the Harold Washington Library Center in Chicago on May 1, 2015, but it was not as properly cured and marbled as this […]

The People in My Neighborhood: One Author/Illustrator’s Rambles Around Brooklyn

With apologies to Margaret Wise Brown.

The Place Brooklyn: home to skinny jeans, artisanal pickles, that famous bridge, and yes… one of the biggest children’s book communities in the world. And I’m one of those authors that ends his jacket flap copy with “…lives and works in Brooklyn.” Here’s a brief history, as well as an insider’s guide, to this kid-lit […]

Book & Me | Comic #20

Book & Me by Charise Mericle Harper


Book & Me | Comic #19

Book & Me by Charise Mericle Harper

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Book & Me | Comic #18

Book & Me by Charise Mericle Harper

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Book & Me | Comic #17

Book & Me by Charise Mericle Harper

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