Bio #1—Donna Janell Bowman is the author of Step Right Up: How Doc and Jim Key Taught the World About Kindness, which earned three starred reviews, a Carter G. Woodson Award Honor from NCSS, an NCTE Orbis Pictus Recommendation, an ALA Notable Book designation, a JLG Selection, and it was nominated for seven state awards, including the Texas Bluebonnet Award. Step Right Up was the winner of the Writer’s League of Texas Book Award, and the South Dakota Prairie Pasque Book Award. In April of 2018, her nonfiction picture book Abraham Lincoln’s Dueling Words, a Junior Library Guild Selection and NCSS Notable Book, released from Peachtree Publishers and is often used in character education units. It has been nominated for the Delaware Diamonds Book Award. In fall of 2019, King of the Tightrope: When the Great Blondin Ruled Niagara—a STEAM-infused picture book biography—released from Peachtree Publishers. 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.
Bio #2—Short. Donna Janell Bowman is a central Texas speaker, writing coach, and author of award-winning books for young readers, including Step Right Up: How Doc and Jim Key Taught the World About Kindness, illustrated by Daniel Minter; Abraham Lincoln’s Dueling Words, illustrated by S.D. Schindler; and King of the Tightrope: When The Great Blondin Ruled Niagara, illustrated by Adam Gustavson. Donna has an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts.
When 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 including Step Right Up: How Doc and Jim Key Taught the World About Kindness, Abraham Lincoln’s Dueling Words, and forthcoming King of the Tightrope: When The Great Blondon Ruled Niagara. I have an MFA in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts and am represented by Erin Murphy—Erin Murphy Literary Agency.
See my author page on Amazon here.
Interviews and Articles
(Read book-specific interviews on each book’s page)
- NEW! Read about how I figured out Blondin’s engineering process through historical clues and modern technology, beginning with the rope.
- NEW! Read my interview with Tom Bober for the American Association of School Library’s (AASL) Knowledge Quest about using primary and secondary sources in my research for King of the Tightrope.
- Sept. 2019—Interview on author Kirby Larson’s blog, Friend Friday about how getting scooped can force a better book.
- July 2019 blog post about picture book biographies for The Highlights Foundation
- NEW! May 2019 Interview for Melissa Stewart’s Nonfiction Authors Dig Deep series. (I get a little personal.)
- 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 Why Picture Books Are Important— 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.