Last summer I drove with my family across the US, from Philadelphia to San Francisco, visiting relatives, friends, and national parks –– and gathering story ideas.  Last Friday I rode my bike to the post office and picked up a box of full of books with those stories.

During the last few years I’ve been writing a lot of short fiction and non-fiction for Swedish publisher Natur och Kultur.  I’ve also had the pleasure of reading and analyzing these stories with my students.

When I wrote stories for the Echo-series, I was challenged by their short format.  The Wings-books allow me about half as many words per story, which I find twice as challenging.  But every time I get frustrated, I think about the excitement my students bring to each new story as they enter a new world and make new friends. Young people deserve well-written, psychologically engaging stories; and I’m proud to get the chance to write for them.

Some of the stories and dialogues I most enjoyed writing for this collection called Wings 8, 2015 are:  The Season’s Shows: NPS and Pottymouth (16-17), What Sells? And Where? (20-21), Confessions of an Exercise Addict (40-41), Mr. Hassler (52-53), Burgerville Letters (76-77), Pets Around the World (100-101), Dear Koala Care Clinic (105-107), Hi Brittany (130-131), Why Do First People Come Last (141), and Sugar, Not Such a Sweet Deal (144-145).

The non-fiction texts I wrote are: Reading Changes our Minds (22-23), The Unhealthy Ideal (44-45), Climate Change (68-69), Wangari Maathai and the Greenbelt Movement (74-75), Have Fun with Handicraft Recycling (78-79), Topsy the Elephant, 61 Days (110-111),  Declan Murphy (based on a phone interview with my friend Andreia’s violin student, 124-125), Becky Torres (based on a phone interview with someone my friend Jason knew through his wife, 126-127), An American Role Model: Mae Jemison (128-129), The United States of America (132-133), US Travel Guide (based on my travels last summer, 134-139), and A Mix of People (142-143).

The book also includes texts by other authors with different writing styles.  Hopefully the book’s wide variety of stories and ideas will inspire students to continue reading and writing –– the way the stories I read as a young person inspired me.