Lizzie Flying Solo is the story of a recently homeless girl who loves a pony she can’t have.
* Starred Kirkus Review:
When her dad is arrested for embezzlement, life changes abruptly for 12-year-old Lizzie and her mother.
Their home repossessed, they are forced into a shelter for homeless families. Lizzie’s mother quickly finds work, while Lizzie spends most of the summer silently watching, sketching, and writing poems about the ponies at a teaching stable near the shelter. When a frightened, unbroken young pony arrives, Lizzie feels an instant connection and vows to do whatever it takes to make him hers. At this point, readers might think they know where the story’s going, but they don’t. Lizzie begins working at the barn in exchange for lessons and gradually comes out of her self-imposed isolation, emerging as strong, determined, and empathetic, but the horses are not the solution: Lizzie is. She relates the story of her rough transition from innocence to experience in an emotional yet measured first-person. Steveson’s nuanced portrayals of the many ways families can be in crisis and her unflinching honesty toward her characters elevate this book into something unexpectedly full of grace. They are always people who exist independently of their problems, and that’s a rare and beautiful thing. Lizzie and her family are white, while some important secondary characters are black and Latinx.
Well done. (Fiction. 8-14)
Pub Date: April 16th, 2019
Page count: 336pp
Georgia Rules is A 2018 Bank Street College of Education Best Children's Book of the Year with Outstanding Merit.It is the story of a young girl named Magnolia Grace who grew up in a country-club lifestyle in Atlanta, GA, but suddenly finds herself far from everything she knew before, living in a tiny Vermont town on the maple farm left to her by her recently deceased father, Johnny Austin. When Maggie meets the Parker family ~ two moms plus six kids who are loud and boisterous and ask any question that comes to their minds ~ Maggie finally learns about the gentle artist who was her father, and begins to question why Mama kept her from him for so long. Along her journey, Maggie discovers not only the secrets that kept them apart, but she learns where she truly belongs and how families are like patchwork quilts, made all the more beautiful by the different shapes and colors. When Maggie makes a decision about her future, her glamorous Mama opposes until one snowy Christmas Eve when a strange man arrives who holds the key to everyone’s hearts.
If you enjoyed One for the Murphy’s and The Penderwicks, you’ll love Georgia Rules!
“This book soars as it details the fractious and frustrating relationship between Maggie and her mother, and the way it makes Vermont, and its beauty throughout the seasons, a character of its own...there is also determination and revelation, giving this more heft than usual for a middle-grade novel.” (Booklist (starred review))
“[A] singular, intricately woven story of people’s complicated, rule-surpassing existences. This book gives young readers a useful perspective on the negotiation of power in their own lives, and it sheds a soft light on the imperfections of adults, creating space for honest and open dialogue.” (Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books)
“This book is a better advertisement for Vermont than is Bernie Sanders. . .” (A Goodreads reviewer)
** If you would like to purchase a personalized autographed copy of Georgia Rules, please contact one of my local bookstores:
Swing Sideways is the story of a remarkable friendship. An extraordinary friendship. A Forrest-and-Bubba kind of friendship that will live in your heart forever. It’s the story of two girls who meet unexpectedly one summer near a lake where they have each come for different reasons. Annie is from New York City and needs a summer of freedom. California lives on a tree farm in Oregon with her mother and has come to spend the summer helping her grandfather, the mysterious Mr. McMurtry. There are adventures galore: two missing ponies to find, an injured stray dog to heal, and an exotic pet chicken named Lacy who thinks she is human. There are rivers to swim in, a lake to navigate on the night of the full moon, and a secret room with a trunk full of things that send the girls on a quest to find the ponies, Peaches and Cream, before it is too late. Annie and California each have secrets they keep ~ until something happens that changes everything forever.
If you loved Walk Two Moons, or Bridge to Terabithia, you’ll love Swing Sideways, too!
Swing Sideways has been published in France, and was a 2017/2018 Wyoming Indian Paintbrush Award nominee. It is also a Scholastic Book Fair selection.
“This powerful tale of friendship and hope, made especially poignant by each girl’s struggle to repair family relationships, will capture hearts. Add an injured dog...woods made for adventures, and heartbreak that never becomes mawkish, and you have a story about so much more than summer fun.” (Booklist)
“This will please country girls at heart . . .” (Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books)
* If you would like to purchase a personalized autographed copy, please go through one of my local independent book stores such as
Thank you for stopping by. I am an author of literature for middle grade kids, but a lot of adults love my books, too. I write realistic fiction about things that matter. Real things that happen to people like you and me. I don’t shy away from subjects that are sensitive, that might make you laugh a little too loud, or grab a tissue to wipe away a tear. I write books about real-life stuff, with characters who are like you and me, in places you will find familiar even if you’ve never been there yourself.
I live in a historic, meadow cabin at the base of a beautiful mountain range in western Wyoming, with my bear-chasing rescue dog, Sufi, and my Arabian horse, Dallas.
Fun Fact: I can name almost every kind of wildflower, tree, or animal that lives or grows in the national forest right outside my back door.
Besides writing books, I am the stage manager for a professional theatre company in Jackson Hole, and I travel anywhere in the country to teach and inspire kids who want to learn to write (sometimes you don’t even know you want to write until I show you how much fun it is!). I also love to hear from readers, so feel free to contact me through this website and I’ll write you back.
Horses I Have Loved
Why a page of horse pictures on an author web site? Because before I was an author, before almost anything else in my life, I was a horse-girl. Still am. My kitchen has halters on the counter, my shirts have horses on them, my boots are dusty from the paddock, and I probably have a bit of hay in my hair. These are a few of the horses I have loved. Send me an email and tell me about yours!
My dad bought LoreLei for me when we first moved to Texas. I was thirteen and she was three. This horse and I cantered down the streets of Houston in the dark of night and I never once questioned her ability to take care of me. I had her for seventeen years until she passed away from one of the first cases of Potomac Horse Fever in Texas.
This rascal was one of the most beloved ponies I have ever had the honor of knowing. He came to be a school pony at a horse farm I managed in Maryland, but he was fresh and untrained and when the back of the trailer opened, he bolted from within and ran for the woods. Fortunately, he ended up in a paddock near the edge of the woods where he lived for three weeks before I could get my hands on him. Tugboat was the inspiration for Fire in Lizzie Flying Solo. He will always be the pony of my heart.
In the early 1980’s I managed an Arabian horse breeding farm in TX. Twenty-two years later, a granddaughter of the horses I handled was born in New Jersey. Two years after that, I came across this filly on an equine for sale site on the internet and knew I had to go see her. She was too young for the type of horse I wanted at the time, but when she turned around in the stall and looked at me, I knew I wasn’t going to leave that farm without her. We have been partners ever since. Over the past thirteen years, she has been with me in Maryland, and finally made the 2000 mile trip with me when I moved to Wyoming. Our favorite ride is up this mountain where she is standing in the photo, full of aspen groves, lodgepole forests, and miles of a mountainside heavy with fragrant sage. I am so lucky to have both my beloved Dallas and this beautiful place I call home.
Sonnet lived in the wild outside Burns, Oregon until she was close to seven years old when she was “gathered” and brought to live in pens at the BLM facility. The first time I saw her photo, I fell in love with that face and drove fourteen hours to Oregon to get her, to let her come live a quiet life in my fields.
Leap of Faith
I Can Hear Music (aka: Lyric)
Best 15.2H jumper you ever saw. This fence she breezed over was 5’ high.