About Me


155-word bio:

Donna Janell Bowman is an award-winning author of 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’s books have garnered such accolades as starred reviews, NCTE Orbis Pictus Recommendation, a Carter G. Woodson Award Honor from NCSS, inclusion on ALA/ALSC and NCSS Notable lists, multiple best-of-the-year lists, Junior Library Guild selection, Writers League of Texas book awards, and book fair inclusion. Her books have also won state book awards after being nominated by about a dozen states, including Texas. Donna has an MFA in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts, and she lives in central Texas.

66-word bio

Donna Janell Bowman is the author of many books for young readers, including the much-lauded nonfiction picture book, STEP RIGHT UP: HOW DOC AND JIM KEY TAUGHT THE WORLD ABOUT KINDNESS, and the soon-to-be-published WINGS OF AN EAGLE: THE GOLD MEDAL DREAMS OF BILLY MILLS, co-authored with Lakota Olympian Billy Mills. Donna is also a freelance editor and a popular speaker at schools around the country.

More about Donna

As a ranch kid, wide-open spaces provided an incubator for a vivid imagination and a fascination with words. Stories, poems, questions, and plays spilled from Donna’s #2 pencil while she sat in a tree, or from a manual typewriter in her pink and purple bedroom (to the annoyance of her brother next door).

Even at six years old, after a bicycle accident left her with a broken jaw, missing teeth, and her mouth wired shut for weeks, Donna was certain she would grow up to be a veterinarian, movie star, writer, and princess—all at the same time. She did not write herself into the corporate family business as an adult, but there she landed until she could no longer ignore her inner storyteller. She started writing for newspapers and magazines, and then she launched into a years-long self-study of writing craft that later inspired her to pursue an MFA in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She considers herself a puzzler of plots, a virtuoso of voice, and a sucker for stories that pierce her heart, wallop her funny bone, or rattle her thinking.

She now spends her time as a writer, editor, writing teacher, and a speaker at schools and conferences. She still lives in central Texas, not far from the wide-open spaces of her childhood, but not close enough to her two favorite (and only) grown sons.

Random ramblings from a ranch kid

  1. Donna was allergic to horses. Yes, seriously! Yet she spent hours every day training for competitive western and English riding events.
  2. The childhood horse Donna was most bonded with was Dee Dee. Read about how Dee Dee inspired her to write Step Right Up.
  3. When she made a pet out of a calf, gave it the name Cola, and loved it like a dog, her parents eventually stopped referring to it as hamburger or t-bone.
  4. The only time her father took her on a hunting trip, Donna brought home a baby goat instead. He grew up to be a big-horned billy goat named Billy the Kid—a rascal of a soda thief!
  5. When her parents brought home a chick that someone in town abandoned after Easter, Donna taught him to sleep on the family collie and to follow her around the house.
  6. Lots of newborn and sick animals (including foals) were nursed to health in the house.
  7. When a guinea hen abandoned her eggs, the eggs were placed under a sitting duck that later taught the guinea babies to swim. Sort of!
  8. On Donna’s birthday, her new gerbils got loose in the station wagon and were impossible to find.
  9. Donna had a pet skunk named Stinky who lived in the house until he chewed all the electrical cords.
  10. Donna and her family took her cat, Chester, camping in the Colorado mountains. And let him out of the RV to explore. He returned to the RV in the nick of time.
  11. Donna spent her 16th birthday competing at a long, cold, rainy horse show. Yay, sweet 16!
  12. As a child, Donna’s favorite place to write stories was in a tree.