As a girl, I loved to swing, to thrill down roller coasters, and to spin around until I got dizzy. Twirly dresses were the best, especially if they had pockets. My older brother and I loved to explore and pretend and tell stories. We hunted for caterpillars and pollywogs and would bring them home to live in the habitats we created for them. We had a pet cat, Su Wan, who had kittens when I was 3. Many of our games involved those cats, dressing them up, taking them for rides in my toy stroller, scooting them along the ground.

The memories that have stayed with me are almost always out in nature. Feeding a grape to a deer when I was three. Jumping off a houseboat into the Sacramento River when I was 8. Exploring springs and geysers in Yellowstone when I was 10 or 11. Most of my childhood memories include my brother. The danger of having an older brother is you might be tricked into drinking the turtle water or sampling the cat chow before you wise up. I’m smarter now.

I have always loved to read. I am thrilled that my path has brought me to this place of writing for children. It was a twisting path, starting as an appellate lawyer, then to teaching middle school, before landing here as an author. In my work, I love to celebrate the connections between people and animals, like that between young Abe and his beloved dog, Honey.