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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Little Klein

Have you ever felt out of place in your own family? Loved a dog? Longed for adventure?

Meet Harold Klein, a boy trying to grow out of his "Little" nickname, the dog who adopts him, and the raucous brothers he follows to the edge of disaster.

Discussion Guide and Activity Sheets

The Buzz

Midwest Booksellers Choice Award

Bank Street College Best Children's Book of the Year

E.B. White Read Aloud finalist

Foreword Magazine Book of the Year Award

Book Sense Pick

Midwest Connections Pick

Capital Times round up of middle grade books perfect for boys

Little Klein is a lyrical reminder that there never was an easy era for being a Little among the Bigs, or for a dog trying to herd his humans.”- Richard Peck, author of Newbery Award winning A Year Down Yonder

"A perfectly engaging read. Ms. Ylvisaker’s gossip-over-the-back-fence style is a brilliant match with the grand story of a small town boy. She’s created the best dog character since Winn-Dixie, and the supporting cast is rich with people I long for as neighbors. His brothers may steal cigarettes and pies, but it is Harold who steals my heart. In the end, he proves once again it is not the size of the hero but the size of the spirit that matters most. Little Klein joins Desperaux on my list of favorite unlikely literary champions." - Kirby Larson, author of the Newbery Honor-winning Hattie Big Sky


"Ylvisaker captures the feeling of summer and boyhood and dog with such ease that you’ll find yourself smelling the dirt road and itching to run through the meadow." Children's Literature Network

"This winning boy-meets-dog story will capture its readers' hearts-middle, junior, and senior high school students alike…wonderfully engaging." VOYA

"A lovely coming-of-age tale filled with humor and pathos and several unexpected twists. . . . The author has created something unique and memorable." Kirkus

"Readers will appreciate the protagonist's growth from the beginning of the novel when he finds his family's coddling both irritating and reassuring to the end, when he insists on being called 'Harold.'" School Library Journal

"If Norman Rockwell wrote fiction, he would likely have written something like this tale of boyish pleasures; the nostalgia is palpable without being cloying, as Ylvisaker's wry sense of humor both conveys and teases period manners and the undeniable charms of rural boyhood." Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books