An author of children's and young adult literature, he published Midnight Hour Encores in 1986 and No Kidding in 1989. His non-fiction works include Nature By Design and On The Wing: The Life of Birds from Feathers to Flight.
He received his undergraduate degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and later attended the Iowa Writers' Workshop.
His 1984 book, The Moves Make the Man, won numerous literary honors, including the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, the ALA Notable Children's Book Award, and the New York Times Notable Book of the Year Award.
His three sons--Alex, Spencer, and Drake-- were born between 1984 and 2006.
He and fellow American author, Cynthia Rylant, both received the Newbery Medal for their works of children's literature.