Bouwman, H.M.

Contact Info

Lives in: St. Paul, MN

Email: [email protected] 


Author of: Children’s Fiction

Age Group: 5-12 Years



Gossamer Summer. Novel. Atheneum/Simon & Schuster. 2023.

A Tear in the Ocean. Novel. Putnam/Penguin Random House. 2019.
“Bouwman masterfully infuses old fairy tales and legends into her alternate-universe adventure, meticulously weaving times and storylines into a riveting plot….that will have readers reflecting on their own experiences of grief, longing, regret, survival, and overcoming.” Kirkus Review
“Bouwman elegantly twists and twirls the two narrations, finally bringing them together in…an engaging and original coming-of-age story with an unpredictable and adventurous plot, sure to captivate middle-grade and middle-school fantasy buffs.” —Horn Book Magazine

A Crack in the Sea. Novel. New York, NY: G. P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers/Penguin Random House. 2017.
★ “Through the captivating interwoven tales of these three sibling pairs—and with assistance from Shimizu’s powerful ink illustrations—Bouwman crafts a moving narrative about family, magic, morality, the power of storytelling, and the cyclical nature of history.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review.
“This novel touches on sensitive and tragic moments in history and gives them fantastical remediation for a provocative, immersive read.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Fans of Grace Lin will love this wholly original book that reads like a fairy tale. A moving and thought-provoking choice for library collections.”—School Library Journal
The Remarkable & Very True Story of Lucy & Snowcap. Novel. Tarrytown, NY: Marshall Cavendish. 2008. [Out of print.]

Early Chapter books:

Owen and Eleanor Move In. Early chapter book. Beaming Books, Minneapolis. 2018. Reviews:
“Faith and friendship are at the heart of Bouwman’s new chapter-book series. …A sweet start ripe for more installments.” —Kirkus
“The author handled diversity of thought, race, and experiences so masterfully. Authentic and relatable … it is simply one of the best books on friendship, transition, and family, I’ve read this year.” –Osheta Moore, author of Shalom Sistas

Owen and Eleanor Make Things Up. Early chapter book. Beaming Books, Minneapolis. 2018.

Owen and Eleanor Meet the New Kid. Early chapter book. Beaming Books, Minneapolis. 2019.

Book Awards

H.M. Bouwman is a recipient of a McKnight Fellowship for children’s writing (2011). Both A Crack in the Sea and A Tear in the Ocean were finalists for the MN Book Awards; A Crack in the Sea was also a finalist for the Midwest Booksellers Choice Awards, the Sunshine State Young Readers Award, the Maine Student Book Award, and it was a VOYA Top Shelf pick. Owen and Eleanor Move In was a Junior Library Guild selection and a finalist for the Cybils in the chapter book category.


H.M. Bouwman lives in St. Paul with her family and is a Professor of English at the University of St. Thomas, where she teaches creative writing. Heather loves to travel and is probably right now trying to come up with a reason to go somewhere with a book and a small suitcase.

Presentation Title & Description

*Also available for virtual visits via Zoom

Overview: I love to talk with kids in interactive presentations about stories and about writing; most of my presentations and workshops for kids focus on character and world creation and on getting stories started, with a lot of emphasis on imaginative play. I also love to work with adults. In lectures and workshops for educators and other adults, I often talk about ways to get kids started writing and letting their imaginations loose; revision strategies; teaching fantasy literature; writing fantasy; research process and organization strategies; writing book-length manuscripts; and fairy tales as models for storytelling and writing. (Some of these talks also work well with older kids.)

Here are a couple of examples of workshops with kids that I’ve given or will be giving. Please email me if you have a particular topic in mind that isn’t listed below.

• The Fairy Tale as the Heart of a Story: One way to start a story is to think about a story you already know, a fairy tale or folk tale that you’ve heard many times. In this workshop we look at several versions of a well-known tale such as Little Red Riding Hood, studying the key elements of the story; we brainstorm about ways to twist the story, modernize it, or use it as a springboard to an entirely different story; and students begin to write their own story. I share a short excerpt from my novel A Tear in the Ocean to show how I embedded a well-known fairy tale into that book, with surprising results. This workshop can be adjusted for age groups from K through adult. [Key teaching connections: story structure; writing process (research, brainstorming, drafting, revising); development of creativity; genre (fairy tales and folk tales)]

• Fairy Gardens and Character Creation: One way to create characters for stories is to think about the kind of world they live in. In this workshop, I’ll read an excerpt from my novel Gossamer Summer and explain how I created the unusual fairy world in the novel; students will then work to create their own (unusual) fairy characters and fairy world through writing and drawing—a character and world that they can build a story about. This workshop is primarily for age groups in K-5th grade. [Key teaching connections: character as a key component of story; developing characters for stories (flat versus round, character growth, etc); worldbuilding; development of imagination and creativity; development of artistic capacities]

• Revision is the Best Part of Writing: In this workshop, I share examples from one or more of my novels, briefly explaining the revision process, including multiple drafts, feedback from peers, queries and comments from editors, etc, to show the deep joy involved in making a manuscript the best it can be. With younger kids, we might move to a group writing activity, drafting something together on the spot and then getting feedback and revising. With older kids and adults, we’d discuss revision strategy in more detail/depth (how to approach macro- versus micro-revision, for example) and each workshop participant would be asked to look at their own current project and create some strategies for revision, applying principles from the workshop. This workshop can be adjusted for age groups from third grade through adult. [Key teaching connections: revision strategies and attitudes; how a manuscript becomes a book]


Please contact Heather to inquire about availability and fees. She is willing to work with you to fit your budget and needs.