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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How are oceans formed?

Why is there hair inside noses? 

What causes ice storms?

Writing Non-Fiction 

I found the answers to these questions and more when I researched and wrote several series of non-fiction books for Bridgestone Books from Capstone Press. 

Much like when students get assignments from their teachers, I got assignments from an editor. We need a series of books on the Great Lakes, she would say. Or... Can you write about natural disasters? Then she would tell me what questions I needed to answer and how long each chapter should be. I did the research, again, much like when students write school reports, and wrote the books. 

I learned a lot about the writing process when I wrote these books. For instance, the Fire Engines book could have only 50 words in each chapter. One of the chapters was The History of Fire Engines. Though the chapter was short, I still had to research the entire history of fire engines. Then I had to decide which elements were most important and write and rewrite until I could whittle my chapter down to only 50 words.

Try it!

This is a great writing exercise to try yourself. Pick a topic you know a lot about, or use a paper you've written in school. See if you can whittle your subject down to 50 words or less. 

Once you do this a few times, you'll find that when you are writing other things, you will chose your words more carefully. You'll be more aware of excess baggage in your writing and you'll write with greater clarity no matter the scope of your project. 

The Books

Look for these Bridgestone Books titles at your local library: 

Disasters: Avalanches, Droughts, Ice Storms, Landslides

Great Lakes: Lake Erie, Lake Huron, Lake Michigan, Lake Ontario, Lake Superior

Oceans: The Antarctic Ocean, The Arctic Ocean, The Atlantic Ocean, The Indian Ocean, The Pacific Ocean

Parts of Your Body: Your Lungs, Your Muscles, Your Stomach

Rescue Vehicles: Ambulances, Fire Engines (both under Anne Hanson)