My Books

The Year We Sailed the Sun
Winner of the PEN/Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
Working Writer Fellowship

A Junior Library Guild Selection

“A terrific novel, full of rich, early twentieth-century detail, told in a wonderful voice. It will have readers laughing one moment, wiping tears away the next, as they revel in the many richly drawn characters as well as the hard-won triumph of eleven-year-old Julia Catherine Delaney, teller of the tale. Lucky the kids who will have this read to them, for The Year We Sailed the Sun begs to be read out loud. Lucky, too, the teacher who gets to do the reading.”
--Avi, author of Crispin: The Cross of Lead

“A wonderfully descriptive novel set in early St. Louis, Missouri—you can see it, feel it, smell it—each well-crafted sentence a little gem. . . .”
--Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, author of Shiloh

“This exuberant book wraps its arms around you and lifts you off the ground. Thronging with vivid characters and bursting with energy, The Year We Sailed the Sun is an intimate and powerful testament to love and faith.”
--Susan Patron, author of The Higher Power of Lucky

“That there are writers like Theresa Nelson in the world fills me with both awe and joy. Julia is an unforgettable character, and her story had me gobsmacked: laughing, crying, holding my breath in suspense, pumping my fist triumphantly, and sighing with pleasure—a lot. I will be pestering everyone I know to read this book.”
--Linda Sue Park, author of A Single Shard

The Year We Sailed the Sun is a robust, boisterous novel so visual that reading it simultaneously creates a movie in your head. The plot proceeds forward with a flawless rhythm, and the ending brings with it an unqualified feeling of fulfillment. And on top of everything else, it’s a fun, highly readable story. Wonderful!”
--Cynthia Kadohata, author of Kira-Kira


Ruby Electric
An American Library Association
Notable Children's Book

New York Public Library: Best of 2003,
100 Titles for Reading and Sharing

New York Public Library:
Books for the Teen Age, 2004

Aspiring screenwriter Ruby Miller's vividly imagined movie world keeps getting interrupted by real life in the form of her little brother, Pete, their missing policeman/father, and two maddening classmates Ruby calls the "Dumb and Dumber of Rutherford B. Hayes Middle School."

"...Nelson weaves in a fantasy element as an escape from unsettling realities the heroine must face, and here the author integrates the escapist threads to stunning effect....Ruby not only uses her screenwriting skills to fabricate heroic scenarios of what has detained her policeman father, but also as she imagines the Los Angeles River, which runs near her home, restored to its original glory. All of these threads twine together in surprising and inventive ways, as Ruby learns the truth about her father and begins taking steps to live in the here and now....Smart and funny, Ruby will surely have the audience lined up for her next starring role."
--Starred review, Publishers Weekly

"Ironic humor makes for delightful relief from the serious issues....Nelson is superb in covering serious topics, but what really centers her work is the amorphous boundaries of nontraditional family and that those boundaries can encompass great love....Softer edged than The Beggars' Ride and much funnier, this novel will have wide appeal."
--Starred review, School Library Journal, 6/03

"Punctuated by snippets of Ruby's scripts, the present-tense narrative positively fizzes with emotion and goodwill. The happy ending is just honest enough not to be pure Hollywood, and thus is all the more satisfying. Thumbs up."
--Starred review, Kirkus Reviews, 5/15/03

"Fade in on a plucky, 12-year-old screenwriter, busily tapping out the script for the next Spielberg spectacular....It's hilarious--and heartbreaking--to imagine the potential this young girl has, if only she can navigate the twisted plot of her own puberty....Thanks to Nelson's spot-on reproduction of a precocious mind at work, here's a character we can't help but root for."
--M. Maschinot, St. Petersburg Times, 5/25/03

"...a humorous, compassionate novel with endearing realistic characters....Ruby's voice is electric, and she is an unforgettable character with courage, a cause, and imagination."
--Frances Bradburn, Booklist

"You'll laugh, you'll cry; and when you reach the end of Ruby Electric, you'll want to savor it all over again."
--Horn Book


And One for All
An American Library Association Best Book for
Young Adults

An ALA Notable Children's Book

A School Library Journal Best Book of the Year

The Horn Book: Fanfare

The Library of Congress/Children's Literature Center: Books for Children

Booklist: Editor's Choice

American Bookseller: Pick of the Lists

International Reading Association: Teacher's Choice

New York Public Library: Best of 1989,
100 Titles for Reading and Sharing

New York Public Library: Books for the Teen Age

A Selection of the Junior Library Guild

"A moving, beautifully crafted story."
--Starred review, Kirkus Reviews

"The value of this perceptive book is that it shows clearly that war is never...simple, nor for that matter is the love shared by friends."
--Starred review, The Horn Book

"Evokes the tension and divisiveness of the homefront during the Vietnam War....A well-crafted story of friendship and family relationships and an accurate emotional barometer of the times."
--Starred review, School Library Journal

"Heartening in its integrity and wrenching in its effect."
--Starred review, Booklist


Boston Globe/Horn Book Award:
Honor Book, Fiction, 1995

American Library Association: Best of the Best

Bank Street College: Child Study Award, 1994

ALA Best Book for Young Adults

ALA Notable Children's Book

ALA Quick Picks for the Reluctant Young Adult Reader

School Library Journal Best Book of the Year

New York Public Library: Best of 1994,
100 Titles for Reading and Sharing

New York Public Library: Books for the Teen Age

L.A. Public Library: FOCAL Award, 1995

Children's Literature Council of Southern California: Award for Distinguished Fiction, 1995

"Amazing power."
--Starred review, The Horn Book

"This special book should find a wide audience."
--Starred review, School Library Journal

"Surprising--and convincing--affirmations of life itself."
--Starred review, Publishers Weekly


The Empress of Elsewhere
A Booklinks Lasting Connection

New York Public Library: Best of 1998,
100 Titles for Reading and Sharing

Houston Chronicle: Bestselling Children's Books

"Recounts a memorable East Texas summer with immediacy and humor."
--Publishers Weekly

"By turns comic and heartrending...and populated by a cast of memorable characters."
--Terri Schmitz, The Horn Book

"The action never falters."
--Kirkus Reviews

"Energetically drawn from top to bottom."
--John Peters, Booklist

"You'll laugh, you'll cry and you'll love The Empress of Elsewhere!
--Liz Moglia, New York Kids (WNYC)


The Beggars' Ride
An American Library Association Best Book for Young Adults

An ALA Notable Children's Book

A School Library Journal Best Book of the Year

The Library of Congress/Children's Literature Center: Books for Children

New York Public Library: Best Books of 1992,
100 Titles for Reading and Sharing

New York Public Library: Books for the Teen Age

The Horn Book: Fanfare

"Survival adventure in the truest sense...sure to keep readers on the edge of their seats until the final ride."
--Starred review, School Library Journal

--Starred review, Kirkus Reviews

"An unvarnished, compelling and, sadly, relevant story."
--Starred review, Publishers Weekly

"Highly recommended."
--The Book Report


Devil Storm
National Council on Social Studies/Children's Book Council: Notable Children's Trade Book in the Field of Social Studies

Master List: Vermont,
Dorothy Canfield Fisher Award

"A spellbinding survival tale...Nelson's strong sense of place, poetic style and inspired characterization make this far more than just an enthralling adventure....A fine story that should also be popular."
--Starred review, Kirkus Reviews

"The writing is powerful...A fine work, integrating nature with character."
--Starred review, The Horn Book

"A splendid affirmation of an earlier promise of talent."
--Publishers Weekly

"A superb, action-packed tale."
--United Press International

Now available again in paperback:


The 25 Cent Miracle
A School Library Journal Best Book of the Year

Winner: Washington Irving Children's Choice Award

A Selection of the Junior Library Guild

"Readers will rejoice."
--Starred review, School Library Journal

"Few readers will be dry-eyed....Needy, dreaming Elvira's stubborn caring inspires a miracle."

Now available again in paperback:

Ordering information and more:

Imagine a door....
Eleven-year-old spitfire, Julia Delaney, fights her way out of the infamous Kerry Patch in St. Louis, 1912, to find her beloved brother Bill.
Now Playing!
Better put on your rubber-soled shoes. She's got the POWER, man. . .
Homefront, USA: The Vietnam Years
Geraldine's close relationship with her older brother Wing and his friend Sam is tested when Wing joins the Marines and Sam leaves for Washington and joins a peace march.
More Award-Winning Fiction
Slim looks for a miracle to save her father, as his struggle with AIDS reaches its climax.
A runaway monkey, a mysterious East Texas mansion, and a magical island called Elsewhere give a trio of unlikely friends a summer to remember.
Fleeing an unhappy homelife, Clare tries to survive on the boardwalk in Atlantic City with a gang of teenage misfits and runaways.
Reprint Editions
Tom the Tramp risks his life to save a family stranded on the Texas Gulf Coast during the Great Storm of 1900.
11-year-old Elvira Trumbull looks for a new mother and finds instead the father she scarcely knew she had.