Donna Janell Bowman is the author of children’s books for trade and education publishers as well as articles and short stories in nationally acclaimed magazines. Her newly-released picture book biography, STEP RIGHT UP: HOW DOC AND JIM KEY TAUGHT THE WORLD ABOUT KINDNESS (Lee and Low, October 2016), illustrated by Daniel Minter, has been named a Junior Library Guild Selection, earned multiple starred reviews and is an Orbis Pictus Recommended Book. Two additional picture book biographies are forthcoming: EN GARDE! ABRAHAM LINCOLN’S DUELING WORDS (Peachtree, spring 2018), and KING OF THE TIGHTROPE: THE GREAT BLONDIN (Peachtree, spring 2019). Other fiction and nonfiction projects are in process. Donna has an MFA in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She is represented by Erin Murphy—Erin Murphy Literary Agency
When I was a kid, I lived on a 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 grownup, I detoured into the corporate world for many years, but I eventually found my way back to writing. and I completed my MFA in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts. I am proudly represented by Erin Murphy—Erin Murphy Literary Agency.
Today, I write for young readers, because I believe they are the most important people in the world. I aim to write stories that inspire, while making kids and teens laugh, think, learn, feel. While I love all genres, I have a special love of history and nonfiction, because true stories can be awesome, exciting, and just plain cool! Through school visits and other author presentations, I enjoy speaking to writers of all ages.
Because I believe in always learning, I just finished my MFA in Writing, with a concentration on Children and Young Adult literature from Vermont College of Fine Arts.
See my author page on Amazon here.
Interviews with me:
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
Interview for Austin SCBWI, July 30, 2015.
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.
January 2017—Guess who’s graduating from Vermont College of Fine Arts with an MFA in Writing, with a concentration on Children’s and Young Adult Literature? ME!
April 19, 2016 — Texas Library Association (TLA) conference. Houston. I’m honored to be on the 2pm panel, “What’s new with Texas Authors and Illustrators for Elementary Readers.”
May 14-15, 2016 — Austin SCBWI conference. I’ll be on a panel about writing work-for-hire books.
May 20, 2016 — School visit – Old Town Elementary
July 22, 25, 26, 27, 2016—Varius Austin locations—Author presentation—Four creative writing camps for 3rd-12th graders.
October 15, 2016—Official release of Step Right Up: How Doc and Jim Taught the World About Kindness.
October 16, 2016—2:00pm Elgin, Texas Public Library presentation.
October 23, 2016—3:00pm book launch celebration for Step Right Up. Book People, Austin.
November 5-6, 2016—Texas Book Festival, Austin. I’ll be speaking on a panel, open to the public. Please come.
December 1, 2016—School visit – Houston, Texas. Reading Rock Stars
December 3, 2016—Three-hour workshop on creative approaches to Picture Book Biographies. The Writing Barn.