Laurel Abell

Children's Book Writer

 
 

Who am I?

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I write picture books, nonfiction, & middle grade novels, usually from my home office in Bel Air, Maryland.

Since earning an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts, I've been teaching critical & creative writing at Stevenson University and Maryland Institute College of Art.

Before all that--and way before everybody in the world was doing it--I home schooled my 6 kids for 22 years. This is when my love for children's literature began. I adored reading aloud to them (I even did voices & sound effects!).

When I'm not writing or teaching writing, I'm probably playing with or reading to my 2 fairy granddaughters. My favorite place is anywhere my family is, especially when it's beside the sea. As a true Marylander, I enjoy blue crabs steamed with Old Bay seasoning and an ear of sweet corn slathered in butter. And for dessert, I LOVE our famous Smith Island Cake with its 10-15 layers of pure deliciousness! I love it so much, I'm writing a picture book about it and the tiny island it comes from. Stay tuned!

Works in Progress

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Mary Oliver spent her days searching for, experiencing, and writing about the astounding beauty she found in our sometimes troubled world. In lyrical free verse, this picture book biography invites young readers into Oliver's extraordinary world of words. 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 is an 1120-word picture book biography for readers age 5-10

One Wild and Precious Life

 

 

 

 

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.

EVEN STEVEN is a 486-word picture book for ages 4-7.

Even Steven

 
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