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

Y?

If I had to answer in one word the question

Where do ideas come from?

I'd say 

WHY

It's all about the wondering

read more

Ylvi...what?

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:

IndieBound

Amazon

  • 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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The Curse of the Buttons

 

“Eleven is not too young for war,” Ike said to Barfoot, who swished his tail agreeably, then lumbered to the yard table and stuck his nose in an unattended pie.

When a steamboat arrives heralding the news that Iowa has been called up to represent the Union of the United States of America, Ike is beside himself with excitement. For months, the promise of war has enveloped small-town Keokuk like a grand game that everyone’s in on — everyone but Ike, his swaybacked pony, and his best friend and checkers partner, Albirdie. Left behind with Mother and the aunts and girl cousins while the Button men march forth toward glory, Ike’s fate is sealed. Unless he can call on the ingenuity of his fabled (some say cursed) ancestor — the adventuresome Uncle Palmer — seek passage to Missouri disguised as a drummer boy, and meet up with the Iowa First. But some opportunities are meant to be missed. And some arrive when you least expect them.

 

The Curse of the Buttons is the third installment in the delightful Button family saga, though readers do not need to have read the other books to enjoy this one. Anne Ylvisaker wastes no words; her narrative is charming in its simplicity and entrances the reader by fully immersing them in the time and place. Even as the Button family faces challenges, they prevail with kindness and spirit.  -BookPage

Ylvisaker's writing is clear and engaging...Readers will find a lot to relate to and cheer for in Ike, who merely wants to live up to his uncle's legacy of adventurous deeds...a fast-paced story. -School Library Journal

Pictures tell the Story

 

This old family photo got me started thinking about the the character of Barfoot.

I could imagine Ike's father and uncles in this old photo.

Here are a few views of historic Keokuk:

And how it looks today:

Ike and Albirdie played checkers on a mat that rolled up. It might have looked like this:

And Albirdie's compass would have looked like one of these:

Money was not uniform throughout the country. Here are some Keokuk dollars:

History is full of stories. My fiction is inspired by objects and photos I see in history museums. Visit your local history museum and see what stories you find!