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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Entries in Monterey (2)


Coastal Word of the Day

A section of Highway 1 washed out in a landslide yesterday and in today’s Monterey Herald, this description: “The asphalt nearby looked new and no seeping water was seen. Fresh looking rip-rap was spotted mixed with soil that fell from under the roadway.”

Rip-rap! I scurried to my dictionary shelf. I won’t name names, but it took three searches to come up with a dictionary that defined rip-rap. From Webster’s Third International Dictionary, the enormous book that was my Iowa going away present from Kate:

Rip-rap: n 1: a foundation or sustaining wall of stones thrown together without order (as in deep water, on a soft bottom, or on an embankment slope to prevent erosion) 2: stone used for riprap. 

In verb form: riprap and riprapping.

Other rip words: rip-roaring, rip-roarious, ripsack, ripsaw, ripsawyer, ripsnorter, riptide, rip track, ripuarian, and yes, it’s in the dictionary: rip van winkle.



Language changes fast in the internet age. The web is no longer simply the sticky home of E.B. White’s Charlotte and twitter and tweet are rarely about bird vocals anymore. Fandango has become synonymous with online movie ticket sales, until today when the word showed up in the Monterey Herald under Fourth of July celebrations.

At the Cooper-Molera adobe there will be historic demonstrations, rope making, leather crafts and fandango.

From Chambers Dictionary:

Fandango an energetic Spanish dance, or music for it, in ¾ time.