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
Powered by Squarespace

Happy New Year

It was a festive New Year's Day on Monterey Bay. We spotted an elephant seal on the beach usually occupied by harbor sealsDolphins loped alongside us as we walked by the bay, and migrating grey whales breached and spouted. Here's to adventure and discovery in 2012!


Holiday Greeting from the Sea

Dear Readers,

We have all three kids home this week, a sweet gift of togetherness we celebrated with a walk on our favorite beach. There aren't many shells here, so it was fun to find that the ocean had delivered this candy cane greeting, which I'll pass along to you. After studying my Sea Shells of the World Golden Nature Guide, I've tentatively identified it as a keyhole limpet, as much fun to say as it is to spot.   

Wishing you sweet surprises in the days to come, and delicious hours with family and friends. Thanks for reading along this year! 

Cheers from here to there,



Buttons Everywhere

Look what arrived in my mailbox recently. Thanks, Katie! Yes, there is another Button family with their own series of adventures. They go to a zoo, a farm, a soap box derby, and beyond. The early readers by Edith S. McCall were published in 1954. Hmm...descendents of the Goodhue Buttons? 



Fall Food Words


from Friday's farmers market:

guava persimmon pomegranate

butternut kabocha cauliflower yam

and my favorite:




Library Love

I love visiting libraries when I travel. I was in San Francisco recently and got a tour of the main library from marvelous book illustrator Katherine Tillotson.

The library is in the heart of the civic center, surrounded by City Hall, Civic Center Plaza and the UN building. It is a bright, beautiful space humming with activity. A class of school children browsed books in the children's room which currently features an exhibit by artist Jane R Willson called The Shocking Truth of Cinderella. People read quietly in the corner study rooms which are themed, such as the Wallace Stegner room dedicated to the environment. We tried unsuccessfully to take pictures of the building's spirals for Joyce Sidman, who has a new book of poetry called Swirl by Swirl.

Perhaps my favorite feature is the "wallpaper" used on several of the floors. I've tried to capture it in photos here (click for a larger view), but it is worth seeing in person. The walls are covered in cards from the old card catalog and people have written and drawn on their favorites. Thanks, Katherine, for a fantastic afternoon! I can't wait to visit again.