Mark HoldenThanks for visiting. I live in Seattle with my family. I taught third grade for sixteen years and love to create and enjoy children’s books. I also like to ride my bicycles, read books, listen to great music, and hang out with my family.

Have a look around.

My Writing Desk

A Story I Wrote At Age Seven

Childhood Favorites:

Pet: Cindy – best dog ever, she liked popcorn, carrots, and running (not walking) on the beach.

Vacations:  Camping mid-winter on Oregon coast and finding a glass ball on the post-storm beach, hikes with dad in Boy Scouts, long road trips across country, catching crawfish, and trout at Fishhawk Lake.

Snack:  Popcorn – by the handful and at a quick pace. This still applies.

First bike:  An old yellow banana-seated Schwinn that my dad later converted into a dirt bike with mag wheels. Sweet.

Books:  The Mouse and the Motorcycle, The Phantom Tollbooth, Chronicles of Narnia, Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh.

Authors I Admire: Kate DiCamillo, Rebecca Stead, Jason Reynolds, Jerry Spinelli, Linda Sue Park, Sharon Creech, Kwame Alexander, Pam Munoz Ryan, E.B. White, Kimberly Brubaker Bradley, Jeff Zentner. There are many more, including picture book creators (Javaka Steptoe, Mac Barnett, Jacqueline Woodson), but these are some biggies in regard to writers. I read a lot of adult literary fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, too.

How I Got Here:

I spent my childhood in the suburbs of Portland, Oregon. Every few weeks my neighborhood friends and I would reimagine our cul-de-sac into a different type of sports field (Nerf football, basketball, baseball, hockey, Frisbee, balled-up-sock ball, you get the idea). This play only stopped for school or for my family camping trips around Oregon (in dark, wet winter) and then across the country (during sweaty, driving-forever-to-the-next-National-Park summer). My summer library reading lists were always long. That is until too much sentence structure analysis in high school.

After I graduated from Oregon State and suffered the loss of a dear friend, someone mentioned I should head to a ski town. I loaded up my yellow Volvo wagon and moved to Ketchum, Idaho for the summer. For eight years I explored mountains (by boots, bikes, and skis), the local community library, and a ton of occupations. I met many interesting, wonderful people, read classics no one had told me about, and fervently debated what was meant by “a real job.” I also scraped enough money to fly across the Atlantic Ocean every so often.

After assisting in a first-grade classroom I was told I might make a good educator. That launched my teaching career. After graduate school in elementary education, a larger metro area beckoned so I moved to the San Francisco Bay Area where I taught third grade for six years. The pesky parents of one of my students set me up with their sister. We’re now married with two children. She led me to Seattle where I taught third grade for another ten years – this time all subjects as well as science for gifted children. I can’t help thinking like an educator.

Where I Write

Where I Write

A few people along the way said someday I would write a book. One did so while I was busy serving the patrons of her restaurant. I thought it was a ridiculous idea.

Years ago when I heard of a creative escape in the San Juan Islands where I might find peace and quiet after yet another busy school year I jumped at the chance. I wanted to try writing a children’s book. I’m suspicious that the universe was nudging me this way for a long time.

View of Seattle from the Ferry

The view from the ferry coming into downtown Seattle. My kids were most excited about the wakes.