Compassion is my Compass

So grateful for the warm welcome, starred reviews and praise BORN BEHIND BARS has been receiving!

Immense gratitude to the New York Times Book Review, Publishers Weekly, Booklist and Kirkus. Here’s a wonderful article about and review of BORN BEHIND BARS in India Currents. Thrilled to hear the wonderful reviews of the book shared by Colby Sharp and Pernille Ripp, too! So honored to be together with the brilliant Donalyn Miller, as a guest on the incredible John Schu’s BookJoy Live.

If you’d like to explore BORN BEHIND BARS in depth, you’ll find a free discussion guide, story writing prompts, poetry writing prompts and more on the BORN BEHIND BARS page of this website (drop down menu under the resources tab).

Want to read an excerpt or listen to me reading aloud from the audiobook? Here’s a link:

If you hear(d) me present one of my two keynote addresses this week (Montana State Literacy Association 10/21/2021; Rutgers One on One Conference on Sunday afternoon), and would like to read some of the most essays I’ve written on diversity-related issues, here are a few links:


Mosaic Radio Hour Podcast. Our American Constellation:

Horn Book

Compassion, As Well As Correctness:


Q & A about Born Behind Bars with Thushanthi Ponweera:


Children’s Awards that Celebrate Diversity:

Nerdy Book Blog

Article on the importance of humor in my work. Includes a fun drawing prompt. Flights of Fancy in BORN BEHIND BARS:

YA Wednesday Blog 

Expanding Our Embrace To Include International Narratives:


Exploring Hope and Identity:

YouTube Interview

Speaking with Dr. Steve Bickmore about BORN BEHIND BARS:

Book recommendations I provided today at MSLA conference:

Some picture books by indigenous authors: Cynthia Leitich Smith’s Jingle Dancer; Traci Sorell’s We are Grateful; Fry Bread by Kevin Noble Maillard and Juana Martinez-Neal. Some chapter books by indigenous authors: The Arrow Over the Door by Joseph Bruchac; Indian No More by Charlene Willing McManis and Traci Sorell (for which I did a writing prompt). Some books for young readers that feature disability can be found on my statement on invisible disability on the resources page of this website: scroll down until you see Further Reading under Teach The Bridge Home in the drop down menu and you’ll see a link to a pdf; some authors with disabilities who have written middle – YA books that came to mind: Corinne Duyvis, Cindy Rodriguez, Lyn Miller Lachmann, Ann Clare Lezotte.

Some graphic novels by authors from underrepresented/marginalized communities: Fly on the Wall by Remy Lai (who is very special to me because she won the Sid Fleischman award the same year I won the Golden Kite for THE BRIDGE HOME); Jerry Craft’s Class Act and New Kid; Cece Bell’s El Daefo; Twins by Varian Johnson and Shannon Wright; Gene Luen Yang’s American Born Chinese; Measuring Up by Lily LaMotte and Ann Xu; When Stars are Scattered by Victoria Jamieson and Omar Mohamed; One Hundred Demons by Lynda Barry; Nidhi Chanani’s Pashmina (which I have yet to read, I’ll admit)!

Thanks again, Montana State Literacy Association conference and RUCCL for the honor of an invitation to do a keynote, and heartfelt thanks to each person who has written to me expressing love for Kabir, Rani, and Grandma Knife (who seems to be everyone’s second or third most favorite character in the novel).

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