Indie Next Selection


It'll stick in your brain long after you've read it, this one, and you'll be glad that it's in there. -Fuse #8 blog

Hear a sample here.


Button Down

Short chapters, simple yet meticulous language, a wholesome feel and the universal story of a boy with a dream combine to give this one widespread appeal. -Kirkus

Details and a sample chapter here


The Curse of the Buttons

Ike Button, 11 and an endearing combination of credulous and cranky, is a high-energy wannabe hero who is constantly getting knocked down. And that's what makes him such fun. ... The characters charm, and the material is enhanced by the author's well-realized rendition of time and place. -Kirkus

Details here.


Winner of the Midwest Booksellers Choice Award

A boy, his dog, a raft, a river, the falls...


Booklist Top Ten Youth First Novel

Can writing a letter mend a heart, unite a family, help a girl grow up?

Teachers and Book Groups


If I had to answer in one word the question

Where do ideas come from?

I'd say 


It's all about the wondering

read more


Ylvisaker = ILL vi soccer

News and Guest Blogs


Poems and Sketches

Friday May 3 / 5-9 pm 

CSUMB Salinas Center for Art and Culture 

1 Main Street, Salinas, California

exhibit runs through August


Ike's hometown newspaper in 1861 was the Keokuk Daily Gate City, so it's fun to have that same paper featuring an article about The Curse of the Buttons.


For their quirky celebrations feature, celebrates National Button Day with an interview about The Curse of the Buttons.


How setting inspires story, a Curse of the Buttons guest post on the blog of marvelous Elizabeth Dulemba. 


Thanks to the Monterey County Weekly for this feature article, including an excerpt from Button Down. 


I'm honored to be November's Star Author for Christchurch New Zealand Library's Kids Blog. Find writing tricks and treats, ideas for using pictures as story starters, and small collections any writer can start. Tiny Collections and Growing a Story: The art of doing nothing are also posted here on my website. 


Just Launched is the Children's Literature Network's spot to read the behind the scenes scoop on newly released books. Here's my contribution about Button Down


Marvelous Middle Grade Monday's Barbara Watson and I chat about the writing process in a post she calls Buttoning Down


In the Children's Literature Network's Bookscope, I look back at how Little Klein came about. I've made some lucky mistakes in my day, and this is the story of one of them. 


Novel and Nouveau is Barbara Watson's excellent blog about writing and reading middle grade lit. She generously reviewed The Luck of the Buttons recently, and asked me to write a guest post about process as well. 


Bruce Black, author of Writing Yoga, interviewed me about process on his wonderful blog wordswimmer. Thanks, Bruce!


To celebrate The Luck of the Buttons release, there was a pie party on Amy Alessio's excellent Vintage Cookbooks and Crafts blog! Read and bake here: Memory PieIt's All About the CrustPie Worthy, and Launch Day Pie. Then try Amy's excellent pie craft


Children's Literature Network interviewer Tom Owens asks me, What's right with children's literature today? Libraries, that's what!

Find books at:



  • Button Down
    Button Down
    by Anne Ylvisaker
  • The Luck of the Buttons
    The Luck of the Buttons
    by Anne Ylvisaker
  • Little Klein
    Little Klein
    by Anne Ylvisaker
  • Dear Papa
    Dear Papa
    by Anne Ylvisaker
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Anne's Bio: the formal, condensed version:

Anne Ylvisaker is the author of the middle grade novels The Curse of the Buttons, Button Down, The Luck of the Buttons, Little Klein, and Dear Papa, all from Candlewick Press, as well as an award winning board book, and nineteen nonfiction books for young readers. In 2005 Anne was awarded the McKnight Artist Fellowship/Loft Award in Children’s Literature. She has a master’s degree in education.

Anne grew up near the Mississippi River in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Until 2006, she spent her adult life just across the river in Saint Paul, teaching and writing. After four years in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Anne moved to Monterey, California where she lives with her husband Dan. 


And the back story:

I've been a writer all my life, though it wasn't until my late 30s that I started writing for publication. 

My family drove from our home in Minneapolis, Minnesota to the coast of South Carolina every spring when I was a kid. From the time we could hold a pencil, my mother gave us notebooks for those trips. I'm sure they were meant as distraction for the three rapscallions in the back seat, but we kids took them seriously. My younger brother wrote about how big everything was, as in the flower at the botanical gardens reaching only as far as my father's ankle. My sister, being the oldest, kept her notebooks private. I detailed every meal - what each person ate, who got the most, and whether or not mine was the best. Food is still one of my favorite subjects. 

The Ylvisakers are a letter writing family. We have collections of letters from several generations past. The old letters are stories, really, full of humor and pathos and the hardships and joys of family life. It was natural then, for me to correspond throughout my childhood with a cousin in Idaho as well as a pen pal in the homeland of Norway. Dear Papa got its spark from the search for a lost letter my Aunt Betty had written in her childhood to her father before he died. 

In college, I went into elementary education in part because I couldn't decide between all the subjects I loved to study. Elementary school is the ultimate liberal arts education. As a teacher I could immerse myself and my students in the sciences, in literature, in art. Eventually, I was able to use the knowledge of those subjects to take on assignments for writing books that children use for research. I researched and wrote about oceans, lakes, rescue vehicles, natural disasters, and parts of the body. 

Along the way I was fortunate enough to take a class from the late great Judy Delton, author of more than 200 books for young readers and a gifted teacher. Judy saved me years of my life by telling me, in no uncertain terms, what wasn't working in my writing. In one memorable class, she fell asleep while I read. I stopped working on that novel immediately, and by the next class had started what was to become my first published novel, Dear Papa

My second novel Little Klein was finished just as I moved from Minnesota to Iowa. I lived in a city where beautiful corn fields and tall prairie grasses were just a short drive or bike ride away. 

As I worked on The Luck of the Buttons, my family and I moved to Monterey, California where I am reveling in the some of the same salt water experiences I wrote about in my childhood travel notebooks.