Welcome to the online home of author Frances O’Roark Dowell

Frances O'Roark Dowell

We’re very glad you are here!

If you are a student working on a book report or homework assignment, you’ll find most of the information you are looking for in the Biography section, but also please be sure to check out the Writing Advice for Kids section, which is full of tips and creative writing prompts for young writers.

Adult readers here to learn more about Frances’s quilting stories can start in the Quilting Fiction section to learn more about her novel Birds in the Air and her book of short stories, Margaret Goes Modern.

Frances O’Roark Dowell is the award-winning author of such novels as Dovey Coe, which won the Edgar Award and the William Allen White Children’s Book Award; the bestselling Secret Language of Girls trilogy; Shooting the Moon, which received a Christopher Award; the Phineas L. MacGuire series; the teen novel, Ten Miles Past Normal; and the new Sam the Man series for younger readers. Her first for adult readers was the quilting novel Birds in the Air, which was followed by a short story collection about the quilting life titled Margaret Goes Modern.

New in October 2019

Twenty Kids. Twenty points of view. One rambunctious, brilliantly conceived novel that corrals the seeming chaos (c’mon, TWENTY points of view!) into one effervescent story.

Sixth grade is a MOST confusing time. Best friends aren’t friends anymore. Worst enemies suddenly want to be partners in crime. And classmates you thought you knew have all sorts of surprising stuff going on. The kids in Mrs. Herrera’s class are dealing with all these things and more—specifically, three more:

1. There’s a new girl who just seems to be spying on them all and scribbling things in a notebook. Maybe she IS a spy?
2. Someone is stealing all of Mrs. Herrera’s most treasured items.
3. Their old classmate, Sam, keeps showing up and no one knows why…until they do.

Which leads to a fourth problem. But we can’t tell you about that yet. The twenty kids in Mrs. Herrera’s classroom can, though, and they do.

Every. Single. One. Of. Them.

“Every person that reads this book with identify with at least one student in the class ... I will not only be buying several copies of this for my school library but will recommend this as a read aloud to the classroom teachers.”

Goodreads review

What Reviewers Are Saying

Learn more about the works of Frances O’Roark Dowell using the flip cards below.

Dowell spreads her wings and soars.

—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Falling In

...buoyant prose and an uplifting message...


Birds in the Air

Another quietly perceptive tour de force.

—Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)

The Sound of Your Voice, Only Really Far Away

What’s wonderful is how Dowell, the author of several beloved books for tweens and teenagers including the Edgar-winning ‘Dovey Coe,’ gracefully draws the many concentric circles of Abby’s life.

—The New York Times Book Review

The Second Life of Abigail Walker

This thoughtful and satisfying story is more a novel of family and growth than of war. Readers will find beauty in its resolution, and will leave this eloquent heroine reluctantly. This is Dowell’s most cohesive and engaging novel yet.

—School Library Journal (starred review)

Shooting the Moon

...a young and unforgettable independent thinker, who uses honesty and common sense as her weapons against injustice.

—Publishers Weekly

Dovey Coe

Dowell has given us a true hero in the character of Callie, a girl just realizing what segregation means in her life.


Trouble the Water

One of the most charmingly engaging new characters in the modern chapter-book scene.

—Kirkus Reviews

Phinease L. McGuire…Erupts

...Emerging readers will find much to appreciate...

—The Horn Book

Sam the Man & the Rutabaga Plan

...a refreshingly well-written encounter with richly developed and well-defined characters whom readers won’t soon forget.

—School Library Journal (starred review)

Chicken Boy

...examines the clash between city and country life and what true wealth really means...

—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Anybody Shining

...funny, wise, and artfully realistic...

—National Public Radio

Ten Miles Past Normal