About Me

My Life…is an Open Book

I used to be a child. I know that’s not unusual. But I wanted to stay a child. I figured it was a good deal—I got free food and I didn’t have to get a job.

I wanted to be like Peter Pan. He never grew up, and he could fly! I kept waiting for him to come whisk me off to Neverland, but he never flew through my window.

I did grow up (but never completely) with my mother, father, and big sister, Judy, in Roslyn, Long Island, about 25 miles from New York City.

My big sister and me at the beach

Becoming a Writer

Before I could read or write myself, I loved to listen to books. At bedtime my father would read to me. Sometimes, if he wanted to get back to doing grown-up stuff, he skipped pages. But I always caught him—because I memorized the stories!

Learning how to read was one of the most exciting things that ever, ever happened to me. One of my childhood favorite books was Horton Hatches an Egg by Dr. Seuss. Maybe that’s why the elephant is my favorite animal.

I was thrilled to learn how to write. I liked creating greeting cards for family members (I still do.) When I was in fourth grade, my teacher would assign us to write a story using that week’s spelling words. I would write a loooooooong one. Because I loved making up stories (and I still do).

In high school, English was my favorite subject, and I was an editor of the school paper. My college major was Comparative Literature, which meant I read fiction and poetry in English, French, and Russian—often challenging! Later, I had jobs as a writer and a writing teacher. When I was a newspaper reporter, I wrote children’s holiday stories, and one of them became my first book! I was on my way to become an author.

That’s me in kindergarden and me in college

Yay for Laughter!

I’ve always loved to find humor in almost any situation and to make people laugh. In high school, I was an honors student but was also elected class comedienne. Now, as an author, my books have lots of humor, even if they’re about serious themes and feelings. To me, laughter makes life more delightful.

My father at age 101 and I share a laugh as we read my book What’s Up with This Chicken?

Funny reading with “help” from Interrupting Chicken

My Home

I live in Lexington, Massachusetts, not far from Boston. Lexington is where the first battle of the American Revolution happened. Every year on the Lexington Green, actors play the parts of American colonists and British soldiers and reenact the battle of April 19, 1775. But they do it before dawn, so I’ve never gone to watch. At 5:30 in the morning, I’d rather be curled up in bed.

My house has lots and lots of my favorite animals –elephants. No real ones (at least not yet). But I have elephants in all sizes made of clay, metal, wood, plastic, fabric, and glass. I have elephant paintings, vases, mugs, place mats, wind-up toys, stuffies, watering cans, earrings, necklaces…even an elephant pen. Most of them were gifts. When people know you like elephants, that’s what they give you.

Even our yard has an elephant … or six

I feel lucky to have a large, peaceful yard with trees surrounding it and a stream burbling through it. When the weather is warm enough, I love to read and write outside. Animals come to visit—rabbits, foxes, raccoons, muskrats, coyotes, woodchucks, toads, garden snakes, frogs, hummingbirds, owls, and wild turkeys. Every spring, a pair of mallard ducks lands noisily in the stream, then waddles around the yard quacking.

Wild turkey showing off in our yard

My Family

My husband, Alan Ticotsky, and I have been married for 47 years! We met in college. Al is a science and math educator. He writes books too—about how to teach science and systems thinking. His latest book, for teachers, has lessons about climate change and sustainability. He has written other books, too.

Our daughter, Becky, is a college counselor in a high school and lives outside of Boston with her husband, Dan, who’s a software developer and professional musician, and their astoundingly charming little daughter and son. Our son, Charlie, works as a town administrator and lives in a Boston suburb with his wife, Amberly, a nurse…and their amazingly wonderful son and daughter (Yes, I have four grandchildren!) I feel very lucky that they all live nearby.

This family photo includes daughter-in- law, Amberly; son, Charlie; son-in-law, Dan; and daughter, Becky

What I Like to Do (Besides Writing)

I like to hang out with my family and friends, read, hike, ride my bike, watch Red Sox and Celtics games, do New York Times crossword puzzles, and dance and sing along to rock music. When possible, I travel to new places—cities, mountains, beaches, deserts—in the US and other countries—and experience these new environments with all my senses (including taste!). And of course, I love to talk to groups of all ages about writing.

I am represented by the KirchoffWohlberg agency: info@kirchoffwohlberg.com

Hiking in Hawaii