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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Happy Spring!


birdbath filling up

succulents getting plump



Buster, 6pm



My dog's ears are taut sails in stiff winds

tuned for a six note song



clomp clomp





My Dog Dreams



My Dog Dreams

My dog dreams of deep grass

a pungent trail

squirrel tails

corpulent frogs

a tasty stick

He's a lion lurking

stalking deer

hunting with eagles

soaring with hawks

He's a coyote keening

for a broken moon

a black bear cub

in his underground room

he's conquering winter

conjuring spring

My dog dreams of deep grass

-sketch and poem,  Anne Ylvisaker


It's Thursday. I'm writing. Buster's in the doorway, dreaming. We're both waiting for spring.


This Writer's Life

I write in a little house in the ravine behind my house, a space I cleverly call "The Little House." This is where I've been snugged away writing a new novel and working on other projects.

That stack of papers on the bottom shelf of my bookcase is an accumulation of drafts of the new novel. The wall is covered in images that inspire characters, places, ideas. Every once in a while I take everything off the wall and start again.

The top of the bookshelf is home to my favorite pen and pencil cups. My laptop is just out of view on the gray table. I write longhand in notebooks, doodle, draw, paint, play with ideas on paper, and type on my laptop. I read poems, write poems, make word lists, sit staring out the window letting shy ideas tiptoe in. 

Music is almost always playing in the little house. Right now Glenn Gould is playing Bach's Goldberg Variations. Earlier I was listening to the Maggie Rogers and Moby stations on Pandora.

My dog Buster is outside barking at a deer who has come up to the fence to peer in at him like he's an exhibit in the zoo. Sometimes Buster curls up in the chair to listen to me read the day's writing. There are persistent crows in the ravine, keeping a hawk at bay.

Out of this picture's view are two tall stacks of books balanced on metal spines. Books like Polly Horvath's My One Hundred Adventures, Ray Bradbury's Dandelion Wine, and Sid Fleischman's The Whipping Boy, stories so good they make me itch to write stories of my own. Books like Brenda Ueland's If You Want to Write, Elizabeth Gilbert's Big Magic, and Ursula LeGuin's Steering the Craft that guide my way. 

I love words. I love stories. This is one lucky life.



The Curse of the Buttons is here!

Could you hear the whooping and cheering at your house? My box of books arrived this week and on Tuesday November 11, Veteran's Day, The Curse of the Buttons will be on bookstore shelves. The Button family saga is complete. It is exciting to see The Luck of the Buttons, Button Down, and The Curse of the Buttons together. 


I'm thrilled that the Keokuk Daily Gate City newspaper, the same newspaper I used in my research, published an article about The Curse of the Buttons, and a great review appeared in BookPage.

Also, is celebrating National Button Day by featuring The Curse of the Buttons and an interview with me.  

For teachers interested in using The Curse of the Buttons in the classroom, and for book groups looking for questions for discussion, a downloadable guide is available here