Bluebonnet-nominated book!

*Nominated for 6 state book awards including '18-'19 TX Bluebonnet Award* 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* In 1842, when Abraham Lincoln was a young Springfield lawyer, he engaged in political mudslinging that crossed the line and landed him in a duel. He needed his wit and cleverness to save his life and humility to save his career. The event he referred to as the “meanest thing” he had ever done, taught him to be a better man.

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About me / Interviews / Schedule

Bio Options:

Fave 2 IMG_1627a 5 x 7 72157-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, which earned three starred reviews, the Carter G. Woodson Award Honor from NCSS, an NCTE Orbis Pictus Recommendation, an ALA Notable Book designation, and it was nominated for six state awards. In April of 2018, her nonfiction picture book Abraham Lincoln’s Dueling Words (a Junior Library Guild Selection) released from Peachtree Publishers and was named a 2019 NCSS Notable book. In fall of 2019, King of the Tightrope: When the Great Blondin Ruled Niagara—a STEAM-infused picture book biography—releases from Peachtree Publishers. Donna has an MFA in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts, where she focused her critical thesis on the ins and outs of picture book biographies. Today, she enjoys teaching and mentoring writers of all ages, whether through school visits or adult classroom settings. She lives near Austin, Texas and is represented by Erin Murphy Literary Agency.

104 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—a Texas Bluebonnet book—and newly-released Abraham Lincoln’s Dueling Words, illustrated by S.D. Schindler. 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 Erin Murphy—Erin Murphy Literary Agency.

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

*March 2018 interview for Peachtree Publishers about the writing and research process for Abraham Lincoln’s Dueling Words.
*Read the cover reveal for Abraham Lincoln’s Dueling Words on Cynsations
*Interview with Deborah Kalb (where I get a tad personal about my connection to Lincoln’s duel)
*Interview for Vermont College of Fine Arts (VCFA) about Abraham Lincoln’s Dueling Words
* November 2017 post on Picture Book Month
* 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 (subject to change)

***Booking now for 2019-20. Contact me here.

2019 (contact me for availability)
October 18-19—West Texas Book Festival
October 1————pst…King of the Tightrope releases!
April 24—George West ISD school visit
April 15-17—TLA conference—Austin, TX
March 1—Whitestone Elementary—Leander ISD
February 27—Thelma Richardson Elementary—Dallas, TX
February 15—Temple ISD Bluebonnet Extravaganza
February 12—Concordia Lutheran Elementary School—San Antonio, TX
February 6—Lakewood Elementary – Dallas ISD school visit
February 1—Parkside Elementary School—Leander ISD
January 30—Brookhollow Elementary School (50th SCHOOL VISIT of 2018-19)
January 22-25—Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD school visits
January 18—Austin Discovery School–Project Wise
January 16—Navarro Intermediate School—Seguin, TX
January 11—Voigt Elementary School, Round Rock
January 10—Lee Elementary School, Austin

2018  (Schedule constantly changes. Contact me for availability)
December 19—Round Rock ISD school visit
December 10—14—Spring Branch ISD school visits
December 5—Wieland Elem. Pflugerville ISD school visit
December 4—Humble, TX school visit
November 26-27—Northside ISD school visits
November 15-18—NCTE conference—Look for me on the panel titled “Speaking Up & Shattering Norms.” Houston, TX
November 13—Round Rock Public Library Author panel.
November 12—Round Rock school visit
November 9—Skype school visit
November 8—Austin ISD school visit–Project Wise
November 2, 5, 7—Round Rock ISD school visit
October 10-12—Round Rock ISD school visits
October 15-19—Round Rock ISD school visits
October 22-26—Round Rock ISD school visits
October 30—Round Rock ISD school visits
October 4—Round Rock ISD school visits
Sept. 25-28—San Antonio school visits (NISD)
Sept. 21-22—Faculty–North Texas SCBWI conference
Sept. 17-20—San Antonio school visits (NISD)
July 21-23—ILA – I’ll be on a panel titled “Putting Books to Work”—Austin, TX
June 29-30—Faculty- Writer’s League of Texas Agents & Editors conference—Austin, TX
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 28, 2018—Austin school visit
March 22-23, 2018—Dallas school visits
March 1,6,7, 8—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