Tomorrow, the River

© 2006 jacket art by PJ Lynch


Winner - 2007 Minnestoa Book Award
Friends of the St. Paul Library

Winner - 2007 Nebraska Book Award
Nebraska Center for the Book

Nominee - 2008-2009
Nebraska Golden Sower Award
Nebraska Library Association

South Carolina Reads 2007 -
100 Suggested Titles for Middle School

Nominee - VOYA's 2007

Top Shelf Fiction Books for Middle School

The Horn Book - Recommended
American Historical Fiction List

Starred Review - Kirkus

With a long list of her mother's dos and don'ts swirling in her head, and with a ticket that will get her only halfway home at the end of summer, fourteen-year-old Megan Barnett boards the eastbound train.  Her destination, the Mississippi River at Burlington, Iowa, is twenty-four hours and a host of unfamiliar seatmates away. The most pleasant of these characters is Horace, an engineering student whose passion for newspapers, combined with a sharp curve in the tracks, lands him nearly in Megan's lap.

The parade of interesting strangers—some of whom are not what they seem—doesn't end with Megan's arrival in Burlington, where she joins her sister's family on the riverboat Oh My. River travel, as Megan quickly learns, is fraught with danger, both on the water and off.  A keen eye for seeing beneath the surface of things can make all the difference.

Leaving a trail of discarded rules and newspaper headlines in her wake, Megan takes on the river and reaps its rewards.

Reader Guide - download pdf
(courtesy of The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library)

Kirkus Review
School Library Journal
Childtren's Literature
The Free Library

Together Apart

© 2002 jacket art by David Johnson


Nebraska Book Award - 2003
Nebraska Center for the Book

Pen USA Award Finalist
Pen Center USA

Willa Award Finalist - 2003
Women Writing the West

Recommended Feminist Book for Youth
ALA - Amelia Bloomer Project

Best Books for Young Adults Nominee
American Library Association

Many Voices - One Nation
American Library Association

Starred Review
Publisher's Weekly

Isaac, on the run from his oppressive stepfather, needs time to hammer out a plan for his future. Hannah needs space to mend the hurt of losing two brothers to the blizzard—space she can't find her family's crowded soddie. Determination, a healthy dose of luck, and a handbill advertising a position for an "Apprentice to a Growing Business Concern" draw first one, then the other of these former schoolmates to the stately home of the unconventional Eliza Moore.

Working side by side, this unlikely trio turn out weekly editions of the forward-thinking Women's Gazette on Eliza's cantankerous printing press and transform an unused space into a resting room where farm women may bide their time while their husbands attend to business in town. Like the stumbled-upon haystack that sheltered Hannah and Isaac from the blizzard—saved their live—Eliza's house becomes a safe, if temporary, haven.

One day Hannah and Isaac will need to face their lives again, out in the open. That day is coming all too soon.

Reader Guide - download pdf

Holding Up the Earth

© 2000 jacket art by Melissa Sweet


Willa Award 2001 - Young Adult
Women Writing the West

Best Books for Young Adults - 2001
The American Library Association

Sequoyah "Best of the Best"
Oklahoma Library Association

2002-2003 Golden Sower Nominee
Nebraska Library Association

2002-2003 Mark Twain Nominee
Missouri Assn of School Librarians

2002-2003 Sequoyah Nominee
Oklahoma Library Association

2003 Garden State Award Nominee
New Jersey Library Association

It has been eight years since Hope's mom died in a car accident, eight years of shuffling from foster home to foster home, eight years of trying to hold on to the memories that tether her to her mother. Now Sarah, Hope's newest foster mom has brought them from Minneapolis to spend the summer on the Nebraska farm where Sarah grew up. Hope is set adrift, anchored only by her ever-present and memory-heavy backpack.

Hope quickly discovers that the old farmhouse itself is like a large backpack, laden with the history of the young women who lived there before her. First there is Abigail, a pioneer girl whose father opened the prairie's surface with a plow. Next came Rebecca, a hired girl who, in leaving her own family, helped to repair another. Anna, growing up in the scarcity of the dust bowl years, became a saver--of stories and shovels and secrets. And then there is Sarah, struggling to preserve a secure corner of the world for the generations to come.

Accustomed to the clamor of city life, Hope is at first unsettled by the silence that descends over the farm each night. But, listening deep, she begins to hear the quiet: the cricket's chirp, the windsong, the steady in and out of her own breath. Soon the silence is replaced by the voices, like echoes sounding across time, of the other girl's letters, diaries, and stories.

Reader Guide - download pdf

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