Lisa L. Owens

Lisa L. Owens‘s career in children’s publishing has spanned nearly 25 years. She has authored 95+ books for young people, including early readers, chapter books, graphic novels, and a wide variety of nonfiction for PreK-YA audiences. As a former in-house editor and longtime freelancer, she’s worked in various editorial capacities—from concept to market—on thousands of published works for all ages. Lisa lives in the Seattle area with her aerospace-engineer husband and their retired racing greyhound. To learn about hosting her in your classroom, either in person or via Skype, visit her profile at


What was your favorite book when you were a child?

I have to go with the brilliant Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh. It’s hilarious and poignant all at once, and it meant so much to read about contemporary characters and situations that I identified with. Even at age 9 or 10, I was grateful to find any story featuring a smart, capable girl as its main character. I didn’t lead Harriet’s life, but I understood her point of view and her heart.

What’s your favorite line from a book?

“I don’t understand it any more than you do, but one thing I’ve learned is that you don’t have to understand things for them to be.”—A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

Who are your top three favorite authors or illustrators?

That’s a tough one! How about this: while starting my writing career, I took inspiration and great joy from studying works by these amazing authors: Lois Lowry, Katherine Paterson, and Kathleen Krull.

Why did you want to become an author or illustrator?

I began writing as a child and never stopped. After studying both English and journalism in college, I started out expecting to be a reporter. But then, while writing for an arts-and-entertainment weekly, I landed an editorial job at a children’s publishing company. I necessarily (and happily) became immersed in children’s literature on a much wider scale than I’d been exposed to as a child, and that’s when it clicked for me that writing for kids was something I could pursue. It’s been my passion ever since.

Do you have any advice for future authors or illustrators?

No matter where you are in your career, you can never read enough or write enough.