I’m a children’s author living in Madison, Wisconsin, with my wife and son. My picture books include Two Friends: Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass (Scholastic); Miss Paul and the President: The Creative Campaign for Women’s Right to Vote (Knopf); and Margaret and the Moon: How Margaret Hamilton Saved the First Lunar Landing (Knopf). More are on the way!
I’ve idolized real-life heroes ever since I was a little boy. My first crushes were courageous civil rights champions like Jackie Robinson and Susan B. Anthony. Then I fell in love with magnificent writers like Mark Twain and Anne Frank. My office at home is lined with photos of my heroes, from the poet Emily Dickinson to the musician Louis Armstrong to the magician Houdini.
I grew up reading and writing, so it’s no surprise I became a journalist. I had a long career as a reporter, editor, and critic, writing about movies, music, theater, literature, and other subjects for magazines and newspapers around the country. For many years I also wrote a syndicated television column. I won state and national awards and interviewed lots of interesting people, including actor Robert Redford, artist Yoko Ono, singer Ella Fitzgerald, and comedians Lily Tomlin and Joan Rivers. I made use of my journalism experience in interviewing the pioneering computer scientist Margaret Hamilton for Margaret and the Moon.
Lately I’ve had fun writing for public radio. If you go to this website’s On the Radio page, you can hear me read my essays about President Abraham Lincoln, jazz musician Duke Ellington, astronaut Jim Lovell, and others I admire.
If you’d like to learn more about my books and the people who inspire me, you can read my article about Alice Paul for USA Today, listen to my interview about Two Friends on National Public Radio, or see profiles of me in Space.com, Isthmus, The Wisconsin State Journal, and The Capital Times. You can also read reviews of my work in the New York Times, USA Today, and other publications, or watch the film adaptation of Two Friends by Weston Woods Studios.
I hope to meet you at one of my readings or school visits so we can chat about my idols and yours.