“Kelly gives this hope to young readers: We can each discover our inner hero and transform even our toughest struggles by opening ourselves up to the mysteries of chance.” — Shelf Awareness 

Things You Should Know

My favorite color is red. My favorite food is cookies. My favorite word is “peculiar.” 

MY books

Blackbird Fly is the story of Apple Yengko, a 12-year-old Filipino immigrant growing up in the small town of Chapel Spring, Louisiana. Apple loves the Beatles more than boys. Blackbird Fly was named one of the best books of 2015 by School Library Journal, Kirkus, and the Center for Multicultural Literature. It was a Junior Library Guild selection, SIBA Best Book of the South, and Cybils Award nominee. Blackbird Fly was a Golden Kite Honor Book and received the APALA Honor Award for Children’s Literature.

The Land of Forgotten Girls is the story of Sol and Ming, two sisters who use their imaginations as an escape from their difficult lives. The Land of Forgotten Girls was a NAIBA Book of the Year finalist and won the APALA Honor Award for Children’s Literature. It received the Gold Award for Fiction from the Parents Choice Foundation and was a nominee for the Dorothy Canfield Fisher Book Award. Booklist named The Land of Forgotten Girls one of the best contemporary middle-grade novels of 2016.

Hello, Universe is about a shy boy, a deaf girl, a 12-year-old psychic, and an unsuspecting guinea pig. It received critical acclaim after its release in March 2017, earning starred reviews from Publisher’s Weekly, Kirkus, Booklist, School Library Journal, and Shelf Awareness. The Washington Post called Hello, Universe a “charming, intriguingly plotted novel.”

You Go First will be released by Greenwillow Books in April 2018.

school visits & selfies

I love school visits, and I have the phographic evidence to prove it. I’ve made friends everywhere from Portland to Philadelphia. I take lots of selfies because each school visit is memorable. In Chicago, a student asked me to draw him a “pickle Godzilla.” In Harbor Springs, Michigan, a group of sixth-graders showed me a mummified cat. (But don’t worry, I didn’t take a picture of it.) 

Here’s my blog.

You can also listen to me read.

Want to learn more?