Hi! I’m Shelley, the author of forty children’s books (twenty-five fiction and fifteen non-fiction). I’m published by Capstone, Macmillan, Marshall Cavendish, Random House and Simon & Schuster. I’ve devoted my adult life to working with children and writing/editing/selling books for them.
My chapter books are published in both the US and the UK. Many of my easy readers and chapter books have been translated into French and Spanish.
One of my non-fiction books, The Humane Societies: A Voice for the Animals, was an International Literacy Association Children’s Choices book.
And somehow I managed to sell a middle grade novel to Delacorte/Random House unagented.
I moved often as a child, between the American states of Minnesota, Oregon and Texas and the Canadian provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan. I was always the new girl, adjusting to different schools, peers and neighborhoods. Books were a constant, comforting presence in my life.
My favorites were Pippi Longstocking, Charlotte’s Web, Harriet the Spy and A Wrinkle in Time. I read every Nancy Drew mystery in the library. Sometimes I’d annoy the librarian, asking for more.
I attended Augsburg University in Minneapolis, MN, USA, where I majored in English Literature and graduated magna cum laude. I also earned a kindergarten-sixth grade teaching certificate at Augsburg.
For eight years, I was a professional nanny, caring for children aged 0-12. I read countless picture books and chapter books to the kids. I taught them many literacy skills as well.
For five years, I worked at a children’s bookstore (Red Balloon Bookshop in Saint Paul, MN, USA). My duties there included bookseller and backlist book buyer.
For two years, I worked as a children’s non-fiction book editor at Dillon Press, Minneapolis. Macmillan bought the company and operations moved to New York. I stayed in Minnesota where I was able to land more non-fiction book contracts with “Editor” on my resume.
For three years, I worked as a teachers’ aide in an elementary school. My duties included leading small-group literacy lessons (grades 3-6). And I planned “book clubs” for the grade six literacy program then led the daily, small-group discussions about young adult novels. After receiving a concussion from a soccer ball on the school playground, I left the job to recuperate and continued, as always, to write books for kids.
I’ve also taught classes at week-long, young-author conferences (grades 3-8). And I wrote a book of poetic prose for adults, Miracle in My Arms: Prayers for a New Mother (Augsburg Fortress).
I live in Minnesota with my husband, a high school social studies teacher. We have two grown sons. Erik lives in Chicago, IL, and Anders lives in Minneapolis, MN.
Please visit my other pages to read about my books, see letters I’ve received from readers and hear how I created my Adventures at Hound Hotel series.
(Note: the color photocopies taped to the wall in my study, in the photo below, are a story I had published in Highlights for Children called “I Don’t Like Tomatoes!” I wrote it after my husband, Roald, planted seventeen tomato plants in our yard one summer!)