Represented by Erin Murphy—Erin Murphy Literary Agency.
Bio #1—Donna Janell Bowman is the author of Step Right Up: How Doc and Jim Key Taught the World About Kindness, which earned many awards and accolades, including three starred reviews, the South Dakota Prairie Pasque Award, a Carter G. Woodson Award Honor from NCSS, an NCTE Orbis Pictus Recommendation, an ALA Notable Book designation, a JLG Selection, and nominations for eight state book awards, including the Texas Bluebonnet Award. Her 2018 release, Abraham Lincoln’s Dueling Words, was named a Junior Library Guild Selection and an NCSS Notable Book, and it was nominated for two state book awards. King of the Tightrope: When the Great Blondin Ruled Niagara, a STEAM-inspired picture book biography, released from Peachtree Publishers in 2019 and was included on Bank Street College of Education’s Best Children’s Books of the Year List. Her forthcoming co-authored autobiographical picture book with Oglala Lakota Olympian Billy Mills, Wings of an Eagle: The Gold Medal Dreams of Billy Mills, will publish with Little, Brown and Company, and will be illustrated by acclaimed Native illustrator S.D. Nelson. Donna has an MFA in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts and enjoys speaking at schools, mentoring writers, and uncovering hidden histories. She lives near Austin, Texas, and is represented by Erin Murphy Literary Agency.
Bio #2—Short. Donna Janell Bowman is a central Texas speaker and writing coach, and the 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; King of the Tightrope: When The Great Blondin Ruled Niagara, illustrated by Adam Gustavson; and the forthcoming Wings of an Eagle: The Gold Medal Dreams of Billy Mills, co-authored with Billy Mills and illustrated by S.D. Nelson. Donna has an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts.
I grew up on a Quarter Horse ranch in central Texas. While my city friends rode bikes and hung out at each other’s houses, I was busy with ranch chores, taking care of animal friends, and training for upcoming horse shows. I mucked a lot of stalls, wrangled a lot of chicken eggs, helped with a lot of fence-mending, moved a lot of hay. I dreamed of being an author, but I thought authors were rich people who lived in New York City and drank coffee from tiny cups. That didn’t stop me from filling notebooks with stories, poetry, and plays, often while sitting in a favorite tree. And it didn’t stop me when I grew into a rascally typewriter with a sticky N key. Who could have guessed that, amid the wide-open spaces of my youth, just the right seeds of imagination and passion would blossom? As a grown-up, I detoured into the corporate world for many years, but I eventually found my way back to the page, where I am happiest of all. Not rich. Not a coffee drinker. Not a New Yorker. Just a grown-up Texas girl with a hunger for true and not-so-true stories.
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.