Selected Works

A Rather Adult Young Adult Novel, 2014
A Young Adult novel, 2012
Adults and Young Adults
A 2010 Green Earth Book Awards Honor Book
Younger Readers
A new twist to a very old story. Beautifully illustrated by Heather Solomon.
A tall tale from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Winner of the 2002 Charlotte Zolotow Award for best writing in a picture book. Available in hardcover and paperback.
Works in Progress
A middle grade novel
A collection of essays about Fairy Tales

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Transformations in Writing

Great article about bullying in Publishers Weekly that mentions FOUR SECRETS!

October 28, 2012

Tags: 4 secrets

Last week Publishers Weekly ran a terrific article on the importance of BOOKS for helping kids understand and survive bullying, and also sites that encourage them to intervene when they see bullying in their schools. The article features new sources and materials on bullying--including picture books, anthologies, websites--and recommends several new novels, including FOUR SECRETS, and includes a quote from me about my daughter's nightmarish experience with a group of stupid older boys--the seed of the novel and the source of its tone of urgency and sorrow.

Here is the quote:

"Similarly, author Margaret Willey recalled her daughter’s ordeal with bullying in high school to write Four Secrets (Carolrhoda Lab, Oct.), about friends who hatch a revenge plot against a bully that goes horribly wrong. “I still remember vividly the day she tearfully told me, ‘Something really bad is happening to me at school,’ Willey said via e-mail. “I knew that once she had recovered from the experience, I would write about that ‘something bad,’ and about her brave and loyal friends, who basically came to her rescue and who are still her friends today. I hope that my novel will be read as a tribute to the courage and stamina of bullied teens everywhere.”

The article is also available on the Be A Star Alliance website here, but the PW version includes lots of book covers and many helpful anti-bullying links (but you need to be a subscriber).

Little Break from Bullies and Warriors

October 28, 2012

Tags: writing life, Beatrice, school visits

Bears, kittens and Beatrice
Late fall is the time for visits and videoconferencing with picture books--a kindler, gentler universe than all the focus on bullying and its aftermath. But I am so grateful for all the good things that are happening with FOUR SECRETS. Make no mistake. Just nice to be talking about bears and tricksters and the far north with younger readers.

Presentations include:
Clever Beatrice
Clever Beatrice Christmas
3 Bears and Goldilocks
Thanksgiving With Me

Thanks for the cool T-shirt, Harrison Park Elementary School in Grand Rapids!

Very passionate blog review of FS

October 15, 2012

Tags: 4 Secrets, Bullies, Writing Life

This was not just another blog review for me. This one deeply moved me because the book so deeply moved the blogger. It's from Feathered Quill.

"In this amazing YA novel, not only has the author gone in-depth on this subject, but does so by offering a mysterious plot, fantastic characters, and a wealth of emotions that will truly leave the reader with something to think about!...(T)he writing is remarkable, and being able to spotlight this very dangerous problem while still weaving an unforgettable plot, shows that this is one author with a true gift! Quill Says: Buy this! Now!"

Read the full review here

Ramblings about Bullying since it's Bullying Prevention Awareness Month

October 11, 2012

Tags: 4 Secrets, Bullies, Writing Life

It's Bullying Prevention Awareness Month
Later in the fall I will be speaking in several Chicago schools about FOUR SECRETS and my thoughts about the social problem of bullying in schools. Tonight I am wondering if there is anything to be said about bullying that hasn't already been said.

Do students really need to hear another adult tell them how much pain is inflicted by the mundane cruelties of the modern high school?

Aren't the very terms--bully, bullying, bullied--starting to have the empty ring of cliche for many teenagers?

I want to use my book as an example of how an episode of bullying cracks the surface of a life and takes a child into a place of psychological trauma. It requires courage, stamina, will and resolve to just GO to school when you are being bullied. Standing up to bullies calls for heroism and self-awareness. The self-awareness is what can turn the experience into art--the response of the artist, writer, musician, dancer, athlete--some form of action and creation to counteract the helplessness that the victims of bullying feel.

Art is connection. Counteract bullying with ART. Words, colors, shapes, sounds, movement, spirit. Push back. Keep track. Guard your unique and precious souls by telling the truth of what is happening to you.

More thoughts to come.

THE BULLY PROJECT: A phenomenal site about bully prevention HERE

**Starred Review for FOUR SECRETS**

October 1, 2012

Tags: 4 secrets, Writing Life

On the official publication date, Oct. 1, this great news!

"...Willey's story masterfully teases out information until the final pages--and the ultimate revelations are well worth the TORTURE!"
--Booklist, starred review