you’ve read my books, you’ve visited the neighborhood where
I live. Cass, Jemmie, Ben, Justin, Anna and the rest may be
fictional characters, but they’re usually based on real kids
who live around the corner or just next door. Stuff happens
in my books. Stuff happens in the real neighborhood too.
June 2013 marks the beginning of the fifth year of our
biggest neighborhood project so far, The Front Porch
Our library had a sad beginning. My father, who lived across
the street from me, passed away. I really didn't want to
sell his house, but who needs two houses? Some neighbors and
I came up with an idea. If it is really easy for kids to get
their hands on books, maybe they’ll read more. And the idea
grew from there.
We have more than 2000 catalogued books in our
collection—all of them donated. Books come from friends,
neighbors, other authors, my publisher, local church groups.
In addition to checking out books we have loads of fun
programs. Our zany Sunday programs have included: pizza
making, sword fighting on the lawn, a magic show, “nature
neighbors” about the biology of our neighborhood, quilt
making, and camping skills. The library is loved by adults
as well. During library hours you can always find an adult
knitting or working on a puzzle with a kid. It's been a
great community builder!
We have also helped establish a similar library at Hope
Community, a local shelter for homeless women and their
See some pictures from the Front Porch Library below, then
take a look at our blog if you’d like to see more: