Sunday, December 27, 2020

What will I remember about 2020?

Sometimes I wonder what I'll remember about 2020. Most likely I will remember the anger and grief I felt on a regular basis. The stark realization that far too many people don't have the compassion and empathy for our fellow human beings in order to have the kind of society I long to live in. The truth laid bare during a once-in-a-lifetime national crisis that far too many politicians value power and wealth over all else.
But I believe (and hope) I will remember so much more. The music that lifted me and/or comforted me. The shows that made me happy and felt like a giant hug at a time when I really needed them, like Ted Lasso and Soul. The books and shows that lifted me up and took me to faraway places, like The Invisible Life of Addie Larue and The Mandalorian. The love and admiration for my family and friends that has only grown during this difficult year. Those joyful moments of dog walks, bike rides, and spontaneous day trips to soak up the great outdoors, because through the darkness, those light-filled moments feel infinitely more special.
I hope I remember that in the midst of it all, I was able to do that which I love to do -- write. What a treat to spend time with characters I grew to love, but in order to find them, I had to begin, and what an important lesson that is for me. I hope I remember how hard I tried to bring kindness and light to others. I probably didn't always succeed, but I tried and in the trying, I myself found light and joy. I am fortunate in that I have not struggled the way many have struggled. I give thanks for that fact every day. But we have all experienced loss this year, in some form or another. Still, because of scientists, medical professionals, bright minds, creative souls, artists, musicians, storytellers, dreamers, loving hearts, comforting paws, and my own sheer determination and resilience, I made it through. And if you're reading this, you did too. And I hope I remember the immense gratitude I feel for that.

(📷: me, on one of our daily dog walks)

Sunday, November 8, 2020

Book trailer for Don't Judge Me

Last week I participated in a chat on twitter with teachers and librarians and many said they like to have a book trailer to show kids when they are talking up a book. So, with my limited iMovie skills, I made one! Feel free to use it at your school, and thanks for your interest!

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Free virtual pre-recorded visits

I've been trying to figure out how to do some virtual visits this fall when I'm busy working my day job. So here's what I've decided to do - I will record a FREE 30 minute video for you to show to students in grades 4-7 at your school. So if you're an educator and you're looking for some reading/writing content that you don't have to teach, hit me up! So here's how it works.

Send me the date you'd like to share the video. If you think multiple teachers want to be involved please coordinate with them FIRST so I can do one video for all of you. Multiple classes/grades will get first priority so it's actually to your advantage to have multiple classes participating. 

I'll confirm that it's doable for me to record a video before then and once you have confirmation, you'll want to have one educator gather questions somehow and then forward the best ones on to me a week before you plan on showing the video (please have names attached to the questions so I can talk to each student and personalize my answers). I will do my best to make the videos fun and engaging while also being educational. I plan on recording a short presentation with some writing tips (and have my cute dog Alfie make an appearance) and then I'll answer questions. Once the video is done, I'll upload it to youtube as an "unlisted" video labeled for kids (no comments will be allowed that way) and send you the link. This will allow me to control my content and delete the videos I create in a couple of months. 

If there is something you specifically would like me to talk about to help your students, just let me know! I'm more than happy to tackle a subject you are wanting to teach as long as it's something I can go over in 15-20 minutes or so, allowing time for questions. 

For now I will offer this up through mid-December. If it goes well, I may do it again in 2021. 

If you are reading this and are not an educator, I'd love it if you'd send this post to any grade 4-7 teachers and librarians you know.  

Please email me at with questions if you have them or to get your pre-recorded virtual visit scheduled!

Thursday, October 1, 2020

Thursday thoughts with Lisa - dealing with your internal critic

Figuring out how to deal with the negative voice inside your head so you can get your writing down on paper is something *every* writer has to figure out. Knowing that it's there and isn't necessarily something you should listen to is half the battle! But there are some other things you can do too. 

In case you want an easy link to the Annie Bloom's pre-order going on, you can go HERE.

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Here's a little sample from my upcoming novel, DON'T JUDGE ME!

DON'T JUDGE ME comes out in less than two months, on November 10th. This novel is about a 6th grader named Hazel who finds a notebook that rates girls on their looks. She knows she has to do something, and she can't do it alone. The wave she'll be making might turn into a tsunami, but if Hazel can find the courage to speak up, she just might change everything.

The first professional review is in and it's a nice one!

Pre-order at and get a signed, personalized copy plus free gifts!

This week's video offers a tiny taste - watch as I read aloud!

Thursday, September 3, 2020

Thursday thoughts with Lisa - the #1 thing you can do to improve your writing

I'm having a lot of eye pain this week for some reason so I'm not looking very well in this video, hopefully you will forgive me for that! But today I wanted to share what advice I give the most to kids who write to me and ask me what they can do to become a good writer. Can you guess what it is??? Find out in the video!


Thursday, August 27, 2020

Thursday thoughts with Lisa - staying motivated during the 1st draft

Writing is fun until it isn't. And then it just becomes work. So how you do stay motivated while writing the first draft so you can FINISH it? I share a few tips in this video!

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Thursday thoughts with Lisa - Book Recommendation: FROM THE DESK OF ZOE WASHINGTON

Pre-order campaign - order between now and November 8th and get free stuff!!

You might not know that 2020 has been a REALLY rough year for authors, publishers and bookstores. And lucky me, I have a novel coming out right after one of the biggest elections in American history when people will be thinking about a million other things besides my little book. So, in an effort to try and get some orders before November, I've partnered with a fantastic little bookstore in Portland called Annie Bloom's Books for a pre-order campaign. Order through them and on Nov. 10th I'll head over, sign/personalize books, stick some special gifts I've prepared into the package, and they will mail it off to you (or if you live in Portland, you can pick it up curbside). You'll be doing so much to support me, Scholastic, and Annie Bloom's.
DON'T JUDGE ME is inspired by the true story of girls who found a list being passed around at school rating them on their looks. It's a book about learning to speak up when you see something that's wrong and want to work to create change. It's about looking for and finding others who will stand with you. It's about being true to yourself even when it's challenging.
It's too early for professional reviews but the incredible Barbara Dee's quote will be on the cover. "A realistic treatment of an important topic. Readers will root for Hazel!" And Ms. Hottinger, a Middle School teacher, just read a review copy and told me, "I absolutely LOVED it."  How can you beat that!? It's primarily for kids ages 9 and up, but I think Hazel's growth and transformation could be inspiring for just about anyone. Or if you are a fan of tortoises, you're in luck, there's one in the book named Pip. I truly appreciate friends and family's support, now more than ever. 

Direct link to order:

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Thursday thoughts with Lisa - writing haikus

Today we talk about the haiku poem. I hope you'll try writing one after watching the video - I find them to be not too hard and kind of calming. Enjoy!

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Thursday thoughts with Lisa - what makes a good beginning

Grabbing the reader's attention and getting them to continue reading after the first couple of pages isn't easy. So how do authors do it? What makes a good beginning, anyway? I explore some ideas in this video. Thanks for watching!

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Thursday thoughts with Lisa - using memories in your writing

Have you ever hear that saying, write what you know? What does it mean? Should we ONLY write what we know? I talk about all of that in this video and share one of my books that has a big part of "me" in it.

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Thursday thoughts with Lisa - where do ideas come from

Today I talk about ideas since that's what I'm working on right now - trying to come up with the best idea in the whole wide world for a new book! Ah, no pressure or anything, right?

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Thursday Thoughts with Lisa - writing an acrostic poem

So, I'm back with another video and a plan to do one every Thursday! I'll give writing tips, do some writing exercises for you, talk about books, maybe do some reading, whatever I feel like that day. I want them to be short and sweet and something you know to look for every Thursday. Feel free to let others know - they'll be posted here as well as on youtube. If you'd like to leave a comment or ask a question, you can do so here.

Here's the first Thursday Thoughts with Lisa video. Enjoy!!

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Bookshop - a new way to shop and support indie bookstores

I'm taking a break from my read aloud of KEYS TO THE CITY to tell you about a new place to buy your books online. For a lot of people, Amazon has provided a much needed service to get books to people who don't have bookstores near by. But they hold so much power, and that's not a good thing.

So some good news! You can now shop at and support independent bookstores along with authors in the process!!

I've created pages for my books that are still in print. I'll be updating my web site in the next week with links as well. But for  now, check out the pages below with links to buy all in one place.

Here's the page to shop for my YA novels.

And here's the page for novels for kids (generally 8-12).

In the coming weeks, I'll make other lists - like my favorite verse novels.

This is so cool and SO exciting. I know it's a hard time for a lot of people right now, but anything we can do to support bookstores and authors is appreciated by everyone who works in the publishing and bookstore business.

Stay well and happy reading!

Sunday, March 8, 2020

Verse Novel Recs for International Women's Day


Happy International Women's Day!

This past month, I received the following message:

I am humbled and overjoyed by this news. It's no small thing that over ten years after it was published, I HEART YOU, YOU HAUNT ME is continuing to be discovered and loved in schools across America. I'm deeply thankful to librarians for continuing to put my verse novels in front of students.

In light of that, I wanted to visit (or revisit) some of my favorite verse novels by female authors because today is International Women's Day - what a great day to lift these amazing authors up. In order to save time, I'm not posting photos of the covers but instead providing links to via the title so you can read more about the book and check out the cover. In case you have kids, I'm providing the recommended age, but please know adults can and do also enjoy these books.

Author: Melanie Crowder
Recommended Age: 12 and up
Short Description: The inspiring story of Clara Lemlich, whose fight for equal rights led to the largest strike by women in American history

Title: MAY B.
Author: Caroline Starr Rose
Recommended Age: 8-12
Short Description: This historical novel, told in verse, brings to life the rigors faced by homesteaders on the Kansas prairie in the late 1870s. May Betts unexpectedly finds herself stranded, alone, in a sod house some distance from her family. As winter approaches, she must find food and fuel to stay alive and figure out how to get home before the cruel weather or roving wolves are the death of her. 

Author: Jacqueline Woodson
Recommended Age: 10 and up
Short Description: Raised in South Carolina and New York, Woodson always felt halfway home in each place. In vivid poems, she shares what it was like to grow up as an African American in the 1960s and 1970s, living with the remnants of Jim Crow and her growing awareness of the Civil Rights movement.

Author: Jasmine Warga
Recommended Age: 8-12
Short Description: A gorgeously written, hopeful middle grade novel in verse about a young girl who must leave Syria to move to the United States.

Author: K.A. Holt
Recommended Age: 12 and up
Short Description: Timothy is a good kid who did a bad thing. Now he's under house arrest for a whole year. 

Author: Joy McCullough
Recommended Age: 12 and up
Short Description: Her mother died when she was twelve, and suddenly Artemisia Gentileschi had a stark choice: a life as a nun in a convent or a life grinding pigment for her father's paint. She chose paint.

Author: Katherine Applegate
Recommended Age: 10-14
Short Description: Kek comes from Africa where he lived with his mother, father, and brother. But only he and his mother have survived. Now she's missing, and Kek has been sent to a new home.

I could go on and on, but my time is up. Need to get back to working on my books! I'll do more of this in the future. My verse novels (ages 12 and up) are all listed on THIS PAGE

Happy reading!!


Thursday, January 23, 2020


This book started with a story in the news.

A story about girls standing up to tackle the misogyny and toxic masculinity at their school.

From the article, "They felt violated, objectified by classmates they considered their friends. They felt uncomfortable getting up to go to the bathroom, worried that the boys might be scanning them..."

I wanted to explore what that would feel like, to realize you're being watched and judged based on how you look. And then, how do you find the courage to stand up to that behavior? And so, a book was born. I decided to set it in middle school so it's appropriate for kids in 3rd-8th grade.


Inspired by a true story of girl empowerment, DON'T JUDGE ME explores trust, self-worth, and speaking up -- especially when you're told to keep quiet.

Hazel doesn't like to make waves. Middle school is hard enough without causing more trouble, right? She's happy just eating lunch in the library with her BFF, writing secret haikus, and taking care of an adorable rescue tortoise.

But then Hazel discovers a list that rates the girls at her middle school based on their looks -- started by her best friend's older brother. She knows she has to do something, and she can't do it alone. The wave she'll be making might turn into a tsunami, but if Hazel can find the courage to speak up, she might just change everything.

Coming November 10, 2020 from Scholastic.

Links to preorder:
Annie Bloom Books
More to come