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Grandma calls it the stuffing arts. She has blue ribbons from the fair and certificates on her wall saying she passed squirrel and hawk class, but she knows how to stuff other things too. The squirrels and skunks she gets from the highway but the birds she gets from the wildlife rescue center. Birds from the road are no good anymore.

“You have to go real careful around the paws,” Grandma says. “See how I do?”

Mostly it’s wild animals in her house—skunk, raccoon, that kind of thing—but she stuffed Reagan too because Reagan was the best cat she ever had. Grandma says she does it because she loves animals and you can admire them better when they’re holding still. MORE

 

 
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The bakery was the last building standing and so everyone gathered around its two and a half walls, its one miraculous window. They took turns walking up to what was left of the counter, ordering biscuits and scones from the unblinking baker now floured in ash. One line of red you could trace up his apron to a flap of skin hanging from his chin.

The biscuits and scones had been reduced to black pebbles and nobody seemed sure what to do with them, why they wanted them. Some licked.  Others, with nothing left to carry, cupped them like eggs, like answers. The children were the most inventive, building palaces around the pebbles, summoning six-horned beasts to guard them. The pebbles were magic, they said. Yes! If you plant them, new buildings will grow! You’ll see, papa, we’ll have a city again! MORE

 

 
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In need of Heimlich, I am only person who knows Heimlich
Murderer disguised as tricker treater dressed up as murderer
Earthquake on bridge
Elevator asphyxiation
Crossfire
Free round-trip ticket to anyone willing to take the next flight
Running triggers the mountain lions natural instinct to chase
Eric
Marna
Andy
Eric
Falling rocks
Falling trees
Falling balcony
Falling
It likes to be scratched under its neck
Don't worry, the jetty keeps them from coming in this close
With this ring, I thee wed
Leaning over stove in angora pancho
Mattress improperly tied to pickup in front of me
Bear
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The mini mart clerk has been shot, the murderer is loose in the neighborhood, middle school has just started, the man who lives on the other sides of the fence is about to sell his rabbits to a restaurant, on September 23 the mean neighbor boy with the mean dog is getting a gun for his birthday, and Maggie Alder is sure that it is up to her, and only her, to save everyone. The Best Worst Thing is a story about learning what you can control (almost nothing) and the good (sometimes even best) things that can come of finally letting go. 

 
 
An incandescent debut. Long after you’ve finished THE BEST WORST THING, you’ll remember Kathleen Lane’s brave and good-hearted Maggie and how she learns to face her fears. A writer to watch, a voice to savor, a novel to cherish.
— KATHERINE APPLEGATE, NEWBERRY MEDAL-WINNING AUTHOR OF THE ONE & ONLY IVAN
An emotionally intense coming-of-age story. Lane crafts a powerful portrait of a girl wrangling with deeply relatable concerns, which will easily resonate with readers confronting a complex and uncertain world.
— PUBLISHER'S WEEKLY, STARRED REVIEW
I felt as if it was written about me even though the actual details were very different from my life. I think a lot of girls starting middle school will be able to relate to this book. This book is really hard to put down because it has a lot of twists and the characters seem very real.
— NAOMI, BOOKBAR KID & TEEN ADVISORY BOARD
Not only can this book serve as bibliotherapy for those with obsessive-compulsive disorder and high anxiety, but readers of all kinds will also find much here to ponder and discuss.
— SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL, STARRED REVIEW
 
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I started out with a pretty deep fear of words. I was a slow reader (missed half of first grade due to an accident) and dreaded the moment when a teacher might call on me to read aloud. So, kind of crazy that I would end up working as a writer, and even crazier that I would one day write a book— that terrible thing I wanted nothing to do with in first grade.

Along the way there were many stops, including a long stop in advertising, and another not-long-enough stop in Richmond, Virginia, where I met Marlene Paul and together we started a nonprofit called ART 180. Thanks to Marlene, ART 180 is still burning bright, bringing art programs to kids living in challenging circumstances,
and bringing their voices to the public through exhibits, performances, books and installations.

I now live in Portland, Oregon where I teach writing through Oregon Literary Arts’ Writers in the Schools program, co-host an art & literary event series called SHARE, and, thanks to a generous grant from the Regional Arts & Culture Council, teach writing workshops to sixth-graders dealing with anxiety.

Currently I'm working on a young adult novel and collection of short stories, some of which can be found in Los Angeles Review, Berkeley Fiction Review, Swink Magazine, Poor Claudia, The Night, and the Rain, and the River (Forest Avenue Press anthology), Writer's Digest, and elsewhere.

 
 

Events


Oregon Book Awards ceremony—April 24 at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall. (Thanks to this year's judges for selecting The Best Worst Thing as an OBA finalist)

Fearless Writers Reading & Celebration — 7pm June 5 at Velo Cult, Portland

Wordfest reading—June 13, 6-8pm, Cassava Coffee Shop, Longview, Washington

Burnt Tongue Reading Series — 4pm Saturday, August 19 at Crush Bar, Portland
 

Thanks


Oregon Book Award judges for selecting The Best Worst Thing as a finalist, and Oregon Literary Arts for the honor of receiving this year's Edna L. Homes Fellowship

Regional Arts & Culture Council for supporting my Fearless Writers workshops for 6th-graders with anxiety

Powell's Books for including The Best Worst Thing in its Midyear Roundup, Best Books of 2016 So Far and Staff Top Fives Favorite Books of 2016

Waking Brain Cells,  proseandkahn and Children's Book & Media Review for their beautiful reviews, and Junior Library Guild for naming The Best Worst Thing a JLG Selection
 

 
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I heart Ainsworth school's "super readers book club"!