On shelves now!

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.

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

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.


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

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, Kidsreads.com 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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Coming soon!

Even in California, there is a hint of fall in the air today. There is a brilliant red-orange vine climbing the tree outside my window. It is September at last and soon Ned Button will be running onto Tractor Field, arms outstretched, hoping to catch Lester Ward's football. 

Here's an excerpt from Kirkus's review of Button Down

Ylvisaker (The Luck of the Buttons, 2011) returns to the lovably unlucky Button family, this time with a gentle story about 11-year-old Ned and his love of football...

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

Check out the full review here and look for the book on September 25! 


Summer News


I know it's baseball season, but I've got football on my mind. I'm counting down to the September release of Button Down, an underdog story about Ned Button, Greatgranddaddy Ike, and the opening of Iowa (now Kinnick) Stadium during the 1929 Hawkeye football season. 

For a sneak peek at Button Down, check out Candlewick's website, and take a gander at this sample chapter

Ned's cousin Tugs, heroine of The Luck of the Buttons, gets another opportunity to shine as well, when The Luck of the Buttons is released in paperback this August. 

And rounding out my very Button summer, I'm immersed in fascinating research and reading about the first summer of the Civil War for the telling of Greatgranddy Ike's boyhood story. Look for more Ike news in 2013!

While you wait for football season to begin, fill up on sports reading with John Coy's excellent 4 For 4 series, and take this list of sports books to your library.  

Happy summer!


Happy Mother's Day!


Beautiful then and now, Mom.

This is my sister Cara, my brother Nils, and me with our mom in our Minneapolis back yard. The yard was about the size of a postage stamp but there was a swingset and a picnic table from which many adventures began. In the summer, mom laid out craft supplies on the table. We must have consumed several trees in our paper mache efforts, and we read lots of books under that shady oak, from Little Bear to Anne of Green Gables. 

Thanks for filling our imaginations, Mom!

Thanks, Michelle Edwards, for the idea of posting a family picture for Mother's Day. Take a look at her photo here.


Read on, Georgia! and other birthday news

Today is my birthday and what better present is there for an author than to know that her books are connecting with readers? My day started with emails from Candlewick sharing great news about two of my books:

The Luck of the Buttons has been nominated for the 2012-2013 Georgia Children's Book Award. Thank you, Georgia readers! I am honored to be included on this wonderful list. 

2012 is also the ten year anniversary of Dear Papa's publication and I am thrilled to learn that there are plans to release it in e-book next spring. 

The very best celebration of Dear Papa's tenth birthday was a visit with a group of enthusiastic ten-year-old readers. I had the great privilege of spending an afternoon with Ms. Bishop's fourth grade last week. They read and discussed Dear Papa as a class over the course of several months and knew the story and characters inside and out. It was incredible to hear how the life of 1940s Isabelle resonated with these readers of today. There was talk of what to call a step-parent, what it's like when we find out Mama's having a baby, what it's like to miss someone. They shared the letters that made them laugh and had so many interesting questions and comments. I look forward to my next visit when we'll explore journal keeping. Thank you, fourth graders! 


Books to Read and Share

I love lists. Word lists, grocery lists, even to-do lists. But my favorite list of all is a to-read list. I keep one in my planner, in the list section, of course. Here is the New York Public Library's list of 2011 children's books to read and share. Find great books to add to your lists: to-read, to-give, to-read to others. And hurray, the list includes The Luck of the Buttons!