Most famous for her National Book Award-winning children's novel When Zachary Beaver Came to Town, this young adult fiction writer also penned the popular Piper Reed books and such stand-alone titles as Keeper of the Night and The Water Seeker.
Her debut novel, My Louisiana Sky, was published in 1998.
She collaborated with illustrator Gabi Swiatkowska on a picture book titled Waiting for Gregory.
Born in Florida to a United States Navy officer father, she spent her childhood in Louisiana, Guam, and France. She later settled in Amarillo, Texas.
Her best-known book, When Zachary Beaver Came to Town, was adapted into a 2003 film starring child actor Jonathan Lipnicki.