Bluebonnet-nominated book!

* TX Bluebonnet Master List! * 2017 Orbis Pictus Recommended Book * ALA/ALSC Notable book * Carter G. Woodson Honor (NCSS) * Writer's League of Texas Book Award * Junior Library Guild Selection * 3 starred reviews A horse that could read, write, calculate math problems, and more? Ridiculous! That's what people thought until William "Doc" Key and his "educated" horse Beautiful Jim Key proved the power of kindness.

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Releasing April 1, 2018

Blurb: "A rollicking story, well told with all the original color."James M. Cornelius, Ph.D. Curator, Lincoln Collection—Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum— *A JUNIOR LIBRARY SELECTION* When he was a young lawyer in Springfield, Illinois, Abraham Lincoln did something so rascally, it landed him on the dueling ground. He would need his wit and a heavy dose of humility to save his life and his career. Ultimately, his great big mistake taught him to be a better man. It's a good thing, too, because the future of this great country was at stake.

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About me / Interviews / Upcoming appearances

Bio Options:

Fave 2 IMG_1627a 5 x 7 72150 words—Donna Janell Bowman is the author of the picture book biography Step Right Up: How Doc and Jim Key Taught the World About Kindness, a Junior Library Guild Selection, which earned three starred reviews; was awarded the Carter G. Woodson Award Honor from NCSS; was named an NCTE Orbis Pictus Recommended book; an ALA Notable Book; and earned a Writer’s League of Texas Book Award. It is currently on many states’ 2018-19 book award nomination lists, including the TX Bluebonnet master list. On April 1, 2018, her next picture book biography, Abraham Lincoln’s Dueling words—also a Junior Library Guild Selection— releases from Peachtree Publishers, followed by King of the Tightrope: The Great Blondin in 2019. Donna has an MFA in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts and enjoys teaching and mentoring writers of all ages. She lives near Austin, Texas and is represented by Erin Murphy Literary Agency.

109 words –—Donna Janell Bowman is the author of many books for young readers, including the award-winning picture book biography Step Right Up: How Doc and Jim Key Taught the World About Kindness, illustrated by Daniel Minter (Lee and Low, October 2016) and soon-to-be-released Abraham Lincoln’s Dueling Words, illustrated by S.D. Schindler (Peachtree, April 1, 2018). In 2019, her book King of the Tightrope: The Great Blondin, illustrated by Adam Gustavson, releases from Peachtree Publishers. Donna has an MFA in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts and enjoys mentoring and teaching writers of all ages. She lives near Austin, Texas and is represented by

Casual Bio:

IMG_0595-225x300When I was a kid, I lived on a Quarter Horse ranch in central Texas. While my city friends rode bikes and hung out with neighbor kids, I was busy with ranch chores, taking care of animal friends, and training for upcoming horse shows. I mucked a lot of stalls, gathered a lot of eggs, helped with a lot of fence-mending, moved a lot of hay. I also groomed and rode a lot of horses—which made me happiest of all. During quiet times, amid the wide open spaces, my imagination was cultivated. I wrote poetry and stories in spiral notebooks, then later on a portable typewriter tucked into the corner of my pink and purple bedroom. On that ranch, so long ago, the first seeds of my writing interests blossomed. As a grown-up, I detoured into the corporate world for many years, but I eventually found my way back to writing. Today, I have a stack of published books, a stack of not-yet-published books, and an MFA in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts. I am proudly represented by Erin Murphy—Erin Murphy Literary Agency.

See my author page on Amazon here.

Interviews with me

* November 2017 post on Picture Book Month
* Cynsations hosted my cover reveal and introduction for Abraham Lincoln’s Dueling Words.
* Interview, along with Cynthia Levinson, for The Writing Barn’s  Porchlight Podcast.
Interview for the VCFA launchpad, January 2017
Interview for Lee and Low Books about writing Step Right Up, November 10, 2016
Interview for The Booking Biz, November 1, 2016
Cynsations New Voices interview, October 12, 2016, re: Step Right Up
EMU’s Debuts interview, October 10, 2016, Step Right Up
EMUs Debuts interview with editor Louise May re: Step Right Up, October 11, 2016
* Interview for Austin SCBWI, July 30, 2015.
*Interview about rejecting rejection from The Writing Barn, November 2014.

Upcoming Appearances 

2018  (Incomplete schedule. Contact me for availability)

October 15-18—NCTE conference – Houston, TX
October 9,10,11,12,16,17,18,19,23,24,25,26, 2018—Round Rock ISD school visits (tentative)
July 21-23—ILA — Austin, TX
June 21-23—ALA (tentative) New Orleans, LA
June 9, 2018—Faculty – full-day workshop on writing p.b. biographies—San Antonio, TX (Southwest Texas SCBWI)
May 10, 2018—New Braunfels book & author luncheon
May 3-4, 2018—Medlin, Louisiana school visit
April 15, 2018—Book Launch party for Abraham Lincoln’s Dueling Words2pm at Book People: 603 North Lamar–Austin
April 5, 2018—11:50-1:50—TLA TX Bluebonnet Luncheon
April 3, 2018— 2pm-5pm– TLA TX Bluebonnet panel, speed dating, and book signing – Dallas
April 2, 2018—school visit- Arlington, TX
April 1, 2018—Release of Abraham Lincoln’s Dueling Words
March 22-23, 2018—Dallas school visits
March 1,6,7—Georgetown ISD school visits
February 28, 2018—faculty-Johnson City Writer’s Conference
February 12-13, 2018—school visits – Northside ISD
February 1, 2018—Skype visit with Dallas school
February 1, 2018—Skype visit with North Caroline school
January 29, 2018—Austin ISD school visit
January 24 & 26, 2018— School visits- Liberty Hill, TX
January 17, 2018—Graham Elementary School — Austin, TX


December 5—Ortega Elementary — Austin, TX
November 28—Double File Trail Elementary — Rock, TX
November 14—Mark Twain Elementary — Houston, TX
November 17-18—NCSS Conference – San Francisco, CA
November 8, 2017—Reed Elementary–Cedar Park
November 4, 2017—Texas Book Festival — Austin, TX
October 26-27—Llano Elementary and Packsaddle Elementary – Llano, TX
October 24, 2017—Forest Creek Elementary – Round Rock, TX
October 11 – Writing Workshops – Round Rock School
October 6 2017—District 3 Fall Library Meeting – Austin, TX
September 26, 2017—Alcuin School-Dallas
Sept. 22, 2017—Region 20 Library Resource Roundup – San Antonio, TX
August 11, 2017—Presenting at the Region 10 Library Summit-Dallas
July 6 – speaking at the San Gabriel Writer’s League
June 24-25 —American Libray Association Conference – Chicago. (signing SRU at 2pm June 24)
June 11 – July 30 — I’m teaching a six-week nonfiction picture book class at the Writing Barn
May 4, 2017—Step Right Up presentation for tweens- Round Rock Public Library
April 29, 2017— 1pm-6pm  Pflugerville Book Pfestival
April 19-20, 2017—Texas Library Association Conference, San Antonio, TX.
March 29—School visit—Round Rock Christian Academy


Latest Blog

James Shields & His Working Relationship with Lincoln Before & During Civil War

Friday February 9, 2018

To set up the events that later transpired between Lincoln and Shields, without turning this post into a tome, I hope you will forgive my necessary jumps in time and assumptions of knowledge below. Bear with me. James Shields- Where’d he come from? James Shields was born in Dungannon, Ireland. His 1840 U.S. Citizenship application [Read More]