Archive for New Release

Ballpark Eats: Recipes Inspired by America’s Baseball Stadiums


Baseball is just around the corner, and that means ballpark food: hot dogs, nachos, and cheese curds. The recipes in this new cookbook aren’t mine, though, I plan to try several of them. But I provided the write ups on each of the ballparks.

Summary: Forget peanuts and Cracker Jacks! Americas Ballparks now offer a dizzying array of edible options. These make-like stadium recipes give young chefs and sports fans a culinary road trip at home. From the famous fish tacos at the Giantss AT&T Park in San Francisco to the mouthwatering Cuban sandwich at the Tampa Bay Rayss Tropicana Field, these diamond dishes are perfect for any seventh-inning stretch. Produced in partnership with Sports Illustrated KIDS.

The Adventures of Big Blue and the Capt’n

A project I had been working on this summer has finally come to fruition, and just in time for Christmas! The Adventures of Big Blue and the Capt’n, with Hari the Tiger, is a picture book I cowrote with Ben Young, a worldwide adventurer who has a deep desire to help educate people about the preservation of endangered species. He had an idea for two characters, both endangered animals: Big Blue, a blue whale, and the Capt’n, a green sea turtle. Their goal is to teach children about the endangered animals they meet as they travel the world. Ben asked for my help creating a story around Big Blue and the Capt’n, using some of his personal experiences. He’s been to Indonesia, where this story takes place. He’s also seen the animals and places mentioned in this book. In the end, I hope what we created helps make people more aware of the threats to some of the world’s most amazing and endangered animals.


And YES, there will also be plush toys of Big Blue and the Capt’n for sale.

Available at


The Science of Hockey

9781491460863Back when I was in grad school, at Minnesota State University, Mankato, students got in free to all sporting events, which was great for a poor college student like me. That meant hitting home hockey games was one our favorite (as in inexpensive) forms of entertainment. The Mavericks weren’t always the best team, but they played against the Badgers and Gophers, so we got to see some exciting games.

Like with all fun writing projects, you mix things you enjoy, and for The Science of Hockey, that’s exactly what I was able to do. Hockey + graphic novel format = my newest release into the world. It’s also my first book in the Max Axiom, Super Scientist series. He’s a character created by a couple friends of mine, Chris Harbo and Donnie Lemke. So it was doubly fun adding to Max’s legacy.

Everything Birds of Prey

9781426318894_p0_v2_s600My fourth book in the National Geographic Kids Everything series is out this month. And like all my books, I’m proud of the work I did on this one. It took a lot of research to nail down some of the facts. But also, I have an ornithologist in the family. One of my uncles is a curator at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. So I feel like I need to know my stuff. I hope he feels I did these amazing predators justice.

Heavyweight Takedown

So I’ve written books on football, skateboarding, and soccer. All of which are sports that I either follow or take part in. But my newest book, Heavyweight Takedown, focuses on a sport I haven’t tackled yet. And while I can’t claim to be a wrestling fanatic, it holds a soft spot in my heart. I grew up watching “profressional” wrestling. I saw live the High Flyers defeat Jesse “the Body” Ventura and Adrian Adonis. Watched the Crusher take on Baron Von Rashke. Sure, it was fake, but it was fun to watch and mimic as I wrestled around with my cousins.

In high school, my interest switched to old Kung Fu movies. But then in grad school, I studied under Terry Davis, author of the Vision Quest, a cult-classic in the wrestling world. So when offered to write a book on wrestling, I had to take on the project, partly for it’s sentimental value and partly as homage to the professor who helped guide my writing career.

Summary: Kyle is the star of his junior high wrestling team’s A squad. Not only does he win most of his matches, but he’s also the heavyweight. So when a new kid, Kenny, shows up and challenges Kyle for the heavyweight spot (and wins it), Kyle’s confidence shrinks. Now on the B squad, Kyle is frustrated. He wants his team to do well, and Kenny is a good wrestler. But Kyle also wants to be on the A squad. Can Kyle come up with a way to help his team?

Ancient Myths

IMG_1422My love of Greek and Roman myths probably started with the classics. And when I say classics, I don’t mean The Illiad or Metamorphosis. I’m referring to Clash of the Titans (1981) and Jason and the Argonauts (1963). These movies may have had cheesy claymation monsters, but they were my introduction to mythology. Watching them spurred me on to learn more about myths, to the point where mythology is now one of my favorite subjects to write about.

Now pair some of the classics (and this time I mean books like The Odyssey and Argonautica) with my favorite format: graphic novels, to tell a story, and we have four of my newest books.

The 12 Labors of Hercules—Hercules seeks forgiveness after committing a horrific crime and is told to perform 12 nearly impossible tasks, from slaying the Hydra to capturing Cerberus, a three-headed dog.

Jason and the Argonauts—To reclaim his father’s throne, Jason goes on a quest to retrieve the magical golden fleece, which is guarded by a fearsome dragon that never sleeps.

Theseus and the Minotaur—Theseus seeks to end the tributes Athens is paying to the kingdom of Crete, and to so, he must first face the Minotaur, a half-man, half-bull monster.

The Voyages of Odysseus—Chronicles Odysseus’ ten-year voyage home, to Ithaca, after the Trojan War and his many adventures, from blinding the Cyclops to meeting the the witch Circe.


Jess & Jaylen — Skateboard Scare

9781631434419_p0_v2_s600Skateboard Scare, I must admit, was based off of an incident I had late last summer. I took a spill on my skateboard, and along with the typical raspberries on my knees and elbows, I sprained my wrist pretty badly. I was iffy about getting back on for months after that, and my lack of confidence actually made me a little wobbly on my board. But after another fall, in which I didn’t get hurt, I realized that accidents are just going to happen, and we can’t them hold us back from from doing what we enjoy. It’s a lesson Jess learns in Skateboard Scare.

Jess & Jaylen

IMG_1286Just received my comp. copies for the eight books in my Jess & Jaylen series. These two big-city third graders have been friends forever. They live just down the block from each other. Jess is the sporty one while Jaylen is more on the brainy side. Their love of skateboarding and hanging out at Jake’s Pizza lead to many adventures.

Brains vs Brawn: Jess and Jaylen’s friendship gets tested when they struggle to agree on summer activities they can both enjoy.

Coming Clean: Jaylen accidentally breaks his brother’s phone. He could hide what he did and let his little sister take the blame, but the guilt is eating him up.

Halloween Scream: Jaylen designs a Halloween to help him and his friends get through the scariest of all haunted houses.

Museum Mystery: On a school field trip to the museum, Jess and Jaylen try to solve the mystery of a missing camera.

School Bus Bully: A new boy moves to the neighborhood. He’s a bully and threatens to do bad things to Jaylen’s face.

Skatebaord Scare: Jess takes a spill on her skateboard, and Jaylen needs to help her get her confidence back before the skateboarding contest.

Trouble With Cheating: Jess is worried about asking Jaylen for help on her math homework, so she cheats instead. But Jaylen’s teaches her that it’s okay to ask for help.

Video Game Zombie: Jaylen gets a little too involved in the video game Jess gave him for his birthday. It’s starting to affect their friendship.



Building the Golden Gate Bridge

While researching for this book, Building the Golden Gate Bridge, I learned a valuable lesson: If something is falling from above, don’t look up! If I hadn’t, I probably would have suffered a broken nose when a friend dropped a hammer while we were installing some cabinets. Instead, I kept my head down and was only dealt a glancing blow, which left me with a black eye. Bad, but not as bad as it could have been. And that hammer fell only a few feet, not the hundreds of feet that items like coffee cups and rivets feel during construction of the Golden Gate Bridge.

9781491403983_p0_v1_s600Summary: People living in San Francisco during the 1920s and 1930s are fascinated by the project to build the Golden Gate Bridge—the world’s longest suspension bridge yet. Will you: Be a designer of the bridge, working to solve the many challenges created by such an enormous project? Or work as a crewmember, accepting the dangers of laboring hundreds of feet in the air above the cold, swirling currents of San Francisco Bay? Experience situations taken from real life.



Here’s my third book in the Tony Hawk Live2Skate series. And I must admit that these books have inspired me to get back on my board. While I can’t do half of the tricks I describe in this story, the one thing I share with Lei, the main character, is that I like to use my skateboard as a fun mode of transportation. It’s often how I get back and forth to the library, to pick up research books for my latest project.9781434291424_p0_v1_s600

Summary: Lei and her crew know their skatepark is run down and nothing special, but its theirs and they are proud of it. So when a crew of older boys move in to claim the park as their own, Lei isn’t going to just step aside and let them. She challenges the boys to a skate off — trick for trick. Half of her crew is ready to give up the park, while the boy she’s crushing on tries to step in and come between her and trouble. Lei is determined to prove that she can skate and that she can take care of herself. Part of Tony Hawk’s Live2Skate series, Daring proves that work and determination can take you far.