Laurel has several aliases, but her newest and most favorite two were assigned to her very recently: "YaYa" at the arrival of her very first granddaughters, Hope & Layla, and "Professor" to her students at Stevenson University. So, yeah, you can call her Professor YaYa. It fits.
From the time Laurel was a wee little liar, um, I mean story-teller, she wanted to write books. Well, actually what she thought she wanted was to be an Oscar Award-winning actress. But then she'd have to act. In front of people. While they filmed her! Thankfully, she realized before she made a total fool of herself that what she wanted was to tell stories, not be in them.
Who is Laurel?
Beryl Markham decides to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean because no one has flown “the hard way” before (no, not even Amelia Earhart), but she must endure a long, dark night of wrestling with prevailing winds, fierce storms, and a faltering airplane if she is to succeed.
After growing up in Africa, a literal world without walls, Beryl becomes the first licensed female racehorse trainer, literally knocking over any walls in her way. Then she learns how to fly and becomes one of Kenya’s first bush pilots. Fast forward to 1936 and Beryl is sitting in the cockpit, preparing for her transatlantic flight. She whispers “twende tu” (I am going) and begins her ascent into the sky. The Messenger was built for this flight, and so was Beryl. But both will endure the test of a lifetime to see if they’re made up to snuff. The winds and rain batter the plane, almost plunging Beryl into the sea, not once but twice. When she finally does make it back onto land, both she and her plane have suffered a devastating blow.
A WORLD WITHOUT WALLS is an 1800-word picture book biography for readers age 5-10.
A World Without Walls
By intertwining Mary Oliver's words with my own in lyrical free verse, this 540-word picture book biography invites readers into Oliver's extraordinary world of words. Mary spent her days searching for, experiencing, and writing about the astounding beauty she found in our sometimes troubled world. Even though she has left us, her words are forever here for us, her for us, and just as wonderful and utterly wild as the perfect moon.
One Wild and Precious Life
EVEN STEVEN, a 486-word picture book for ages 4-8.
Steven hates being the odd one out, and he wants a reading buddy who isn't the teacher. But there's an odd number of kids in his class, and he's usually so distracted making sure things are even that he's the one left over. One day, though, Steven's eyes meet another's, and from then on everybody has a reading buddy. Even Steven.