I have pursued three different careers: I’ve been a tenured professor of philosophy at the University of Colorado at Boulder, working in the area of ethics and political philosophy; I’m a children’s literature scholar, publishing articles on Eleanor Estes, Maud Hart Lovelace, Betty MacDonald, Louisa May Alcott, Laura Ingalls Wilder, and Rosamund du Jardin; and I’m the author of over 50 books for young readers, including the new Franklin School Friends chapter book series from Farrar, Straus & Giroux.
I feel lucky to have been able to have each of my professional lives enrich the others. My Intro to Ethics class incorporates children’s literature; my scholarly work on children’s literature often explores ethical and philosophical themes, culminating in my editing the collection Ethics and Children’s Literature, out from Ashgate in 2014, and the children in my novels struggle with issues of moral growth and personal identity.
Areas of Expertise
- Ethics, Applied Ethics, Political Philosophy
- Analytic study of children's literature
- Creative writing of books for children
- Genre Study in the Craft of Writing for Children-Creative Nonfiction
- Genre Study in the Craft of Writing for Children-Chapter Books
- Ph.D., Princeton University
- M.L.S., University of Maryland
- M.A., Princeton University
- B.A., Wellesley College
Publications & Articles
- Ethics and Children's Literature (editor), Ashgate Press, 2014
- Zero Tolerance, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2013
- Annika Riz, Math Whiz, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2014
President of the Children’s Literature Association 2013-14
Over 25 published articles on children’s literature in such journals as Children’s Literature, The Children’s Literature Association Quarterly, The Lion and the Unicorn, and Children’s Literature in Education.
Three ALA Notable Books of the Year: How Oliver Olson Changed the World, Gus and Grandpa at Basketball, 7 x 9 = Trouble!
I am most interested in exploring how children’s authors portray the moral growth of their characters in ways both heavy-handed and subtle. Children’s texts encode the expectations that adults have for children and so they are fascinating cultural documents that lay bare our deepest hopes and fears for our children. I love excavating these through close analysis of children’s texts.