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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I am available to speak about writing to groups large and small, young and less-young. Choose from the programs listed below, or contact me to tailor a visit especially for your group. 


Writing a Book: The Curse of the Buttons, Button Down, The Luck of the Buttons, Little Klein, Dear Papa

For readers and writers grades 3 through adult, these four process presentations are based on each my titles. Read and discuss one of my novels before the visit, then learn how the book was created, from inkling to publication.


See the family photographs, art postcards, and other objects that ignited my imagination. Experience the journey from the birth of an idea to a final book, with emphasis on each stage of writing and editing, including working with an editor. Discover how to turn mistakes into handy writer’s tools. 


Each one hour presentation includes a reading, time for questions, and a writing activity to be used afterwards. Stages of the writing process are related to the processes students use in their own writing. 


Writing a Book is appropriate for any size audience, as long as everyone can see and hear me. 



The following one hour writing workshops are appropriate for individual classes grades 3 and up as well as young author conferences, book clubs, intergenerational groups, adult writers, and library programs. I can also tailor a workshop to fit your group’s interest. 


Picture Your Story

Where do ideas come from? That’s the question I get asked most often, and also the question I’m most interested in hearing other writers answer. This workshop will explore the deep well of story ideas each of us already possesses and how to use photographs to draw those ideas out. 


I get most of my ideas by looking at old family photographs and imagining stories to go with them. Read any or all of my books before the workshop, then see the photographs that inspired the stories, and learn the path they take from fact to fiction. Finally, start a story of your own. Bring photos of your parents or grandparents when they were young or use one of my vintage pictures. 



The day an animal joins the family is a memorable day for everyone. LeRoy, the dog in Little Klein, met his family quite by accident and some of the story is told from his perspective. This workshop uses participants’ stories about pets they have, or would like to have, to explore and practice the writing skill point of view


Read Little Klein before the workshop, then hear the story of how I met LeRoy, the fictional dog in the novel. Learn about writing from the point of view of an animal character. Think like an animal and create a story about the day a pet meets its family.


Added fun: Partner with your local animal rescue organization! For the Petspectives program in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, organizers worked with the Eau Claire County Humane Society. Volunteers from the ECCHS were on hand to share information and introduce several adoptable cats and dogs.


Sending Your Very Best

A hand-written letter is a personal connection with someone far away. A well-written letter shows the writer as a character in their own life story. This workshop uses the letter writing form to explore the familiar writing mantra: show don’t tell


Read Dear Papa before this workshop, then study with me a few specific letters in the novel as well as other letters, including one of my own childhood letters. Discuss what makes one letter interesting to read and another dull. Fancy stationary is not essential. Explore a variety of easily found writing materials, then compose a letter that shows something of your life. Be sure to have stamps and envelopes on hand! 


Writing is for Life

Everyone can write. Everyone can enjoy writing. This workshop is about letting go of any fears that make writing difficult and discovering the joy of writing by starting a no-rules personal journal. 


Explore a variety of journals, including pages from my childhood notebooks. Discover your own purpose for keeping a journal and create a list of ideas for future entries. Design a cover and make your first entry.


*Blank books or notebooks to be provided by the organizer.


BOOK SALES AND AUTOGRAPHING: If you’d like me to sign books for teachers and students during my visit, you can order books at a special school discount. 

Speaker fee and book ordering information provided upon request.

To set up a visit, or if you have any questions, please contact me [writeanne(at)mac(dot)com], or Anne Irza-Leggat at Candlewick Press [Anne.Irza-Leggat(at)candlewick(dot)com].