Friend + Follow

Lalani of the Distant Sea

LALANI OF THE DISTANT SEA, an epic fantasy inspired by Filipino folklore, will be released on September 3, 2019. Complete the puzzle to reveal the cover!


Blackbird Fly is the story of twelve-year-old Apple Yengko, the only Filipino girl at Chapel Spring Middle School in Chapel Spring, Louisiana. When Apple is voted the third-ugliest girl in school, her life quickly falls apart. But there is at least one saving grace: The Beatles.

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, the story of imaginative “sister princesses” Sol and Ming Madrid, 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 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,” and named it one of the Best Books of the Year. Kirkus, School Library Journal, and the New York Public Library also put Hello, Universe on their best-books list.

Hello, Universe, the story of four middle-schoolers whose lives cross paths in one fateful summer day, was also chosen for the TLA Bluebonnet Award Master List, one of the most prestigious honors in the country, and was awarded the 2018 John Newbery Medal.

You Go First was released by Greenwillow Books in April 2018 and has received four starred reviews, including shout-outs from the New York Times, Publishers Weekly, and elsewhere. You Go First is also a New York Times bestseller.

Friend + Follow

School visits

I’ve visited dozens of schools across the country—from Brooklyn to San Francisco.

My style: Fun, interactive, educational.

I don’t use a canned presentation. I’ve learned that schools and classrooms have personalities of their own. Talking to young people is what I love most about being an author.

What happens when I visit your school?

Classes have their own personalities. Some are talkative. Others are quiet. Some have lots of questions. Others don’t. Some kids love to read. Others groan at every paragraph. I work best when I’m able to adapt to the students. I prefer interaction, lots of conversation, and a robust Q&A. We talk about my books. We talk about writing. We talk about revision. I genuinely love hanging out with young people.

What do Skype and life have in common?

I’ve done many Skype visits and they’re always a blast. Skype visits are like life: fun and unpredictable. Sometimes the sound goes out and I can’t hear anything for two seconds. Sometimes my face flickers. Sometimes only the third word comes through. But I have yet to experience a bad Skype visit.

For information on school visits, please contact my booking agent!

Books are powerful tools.

Bullying, otherness, acceptance, kindness, and empathy are common themes in my books. Many teachers, parents, and librarians use books as jumping-off points for difficult conversations. Growing up is hard. Kids need to know they aren’t alone. Books are powerful tools to encourage those conversations.

A Free HarperCollins Teaching Guide (PDF)