Shirley's love of books started as soon as she could read. She lived a block away from her small Brownlee Woods neighborhood library. Inside, it smelled of book glue, printer's ink and well-oiled furniture. Her Saturday mornings were often spent sitting at a table thumbing through books, reading or just looking at pictures. It was amazing to her how words could be rearranged into so many stories. She didn’t have time to read them all.

Shirley received a B.A. in natural science from San Jose State University. She continued on to receive her California Standard Life Teaching Credential the following year.

About Shirley

Her first position was teaching 6th graders at Louise Van Meter School in Los Gatos, California. She loved teaching. Her colleagues nominated her Teacher of the Year. During these years, Shirley passed along her love for books and science to her students. Every two weeks, she walked her class to the town library to make their monthly book report selections. Her science units included human body systems, insects, mammals, birds, ecology, the environment and archaeology. She made science come alive!

In November 2011, Shirley’s first picture book was released – In a Scoop of Dirt - How Digging a Pond Changed North America’s Prehistory.

It is the story of her father’s 1977 prehistoric mastodon discovery in Sequim, Washington. This was a very significant and exciting event! Read more at

She spent her summer vacations at the site leading tours, rinsing bones and gathering information to take back to her classroom.

Shirley lives on the central coast of California with Rosie. She continues to write fiction and nonfiction for children as well as adults.