Mary Elizabeth Anderson

Author of Children's Books and Articles


Welcome To My Website!


A professional writer for over twenty years, Mary Elizabeth Anderson has written over one hundred stories and articles for publications and has had five books published with another one to be published in the near future.




"The love of reading is caught, not taught."

                      Jim Trelease

"Nothing you do for a child is ever wasted."

                      Garrison Keillor


"There are many little ways to enlarge your child's world.

                          Love of books is the best of all."

                      Jacqueline Kennedy


You can hear an interview of Mary at the following link:



Recent Events:
1. Mary was a speaker and panelist at an Author Book Presentation at the Jefferson 
Iowa Public Library on October 5. Mary lived in Jefferson before moving to 
Lincoln, NE in the 1970s. She is the second from the right in the front row.
Note: Mary is available to speak to your church or other organization
regarding: "All About Books: From A to Z". 
She's also available to speak to school students or Parent/Teacher Organizations 
regarding her books, the subject of bullying behavior and/or the topic of writing.

Teacher and Student Study Guides are now available for "Gracie Gannon."

Please contact the author at e-mail:



DID YOU KNOW everyday an estimated 160,000 kids in the United States don't go to school because of bullies?
DID YOU KNOW an estimated three out of every four American children will experience bullying sometime during their school years -- either as victims, bullies, or as uncomfortable bystanders. 

Gracie Gannon deals with the bullying from the “clique” of her sixth grade classmates. Instead of letting the exclusions, name calling, whispers and eye rolling get the best of her, Gracie rises above the tormenting, develops coping skills and becomes comfortable with who she is.

this book belongs in every home with a middle grade child, as well as in all middle school libraries.

Ordering information: "Gracie" can be ordered from the publisher RAYVE PRODUCTIONS at or by contacting the author at .


Middle School is where life begins to drastically change for  children, and Gracie Gannon is no different. "Gracie Gannon: Middle  School Zero" is Gracie's story of adapting to the harsh world of Junior High, where she seems to be at the bottom of the totem pole  and even her former best friend ignores her. She finds hope and happiness with people she'd never expect. A well written coming of  age novel, "Gracie Gannon: Middle School Zero" is highly recommended  for community library young adult fiction collections.


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Lincoln, NE writer, Mary Elizabeth Anderson captures the excruciating pains and laugh-out-loud moments of growing up and getting through the school day in Gracie Gannon: Middle School Zero (Rayve Productions). It wouldn't be a bad idea to make this required reading for all middle school students--for fun or as part of a class project. This book carries a great message. The story is fun to read without being preachy.

  -- Carol Bicak, Children's Review Editor, Omaha World-Herald  (Omaha, NE USA)

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As in her previous books, Anderson shows her ability to get into the feelings of her characters. Gracie is a middle school student who is the object of bulling and other issues. The popular girls make fun of her, and her best friend avoids her. There are problems with life at home too, and Gracie is beginning to feel hopeless, that she's a nothing. But then Gracie meets people who value her and help her to turn things around. She works through her trials and becomes a young lady with self-confidence, new friends and a greater understanding of others.
Middle school students as well as many adults will readily identify with Gracie, having endured similar experiences themselves in their teen years. This story shows young readers they are not alone in their social fears and self-doubts. Adults who have youngsters in their lives will buy this book to share with their kids, and it can be of use to teachers and other youth leaders when they address the subject of bullying.

  -- Ellen Campbell, Writer (Central City, NE)

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Gracie Gannon can't afford contacts (Dad was laid off), her clothes are a mess, and she struggles with math. Worse yet, her old friend has turned against her.

Gracie has something, though, that some girls her age would die for: two devoted parents. Through encouragement from her mother and her church group, Gracie overcomes her shyness by focusing on the needs of others. She befriends a deaf girl, and an overweight camper, and learns much from each. Her new-found wisdom enables her to enjoy these friendships to mutual benefit. She moves beyond her self-centeredness to self-confidence. Good lessons for any age.

This story shines a spotlight on alcoholism, shows the terror of learning someone you love has cancer, and a close-up view of divorce.

But all is not grim! Gracie feels the first stirrings of physical attraction. She gets a perm! Her schoolwork improves, with a little help from her friend. And during summer camp she envisions a future career, a worthy goal.

The girls in this story are believable. Hair is big in the life of the middle-schooler. Fashion reigns. And the dialog is true-to-life.

Mom, Dad, use this book as a chapter read before bed. It also makes a good car book, to be enjoyed on the way to school, on the daily commute.

  -- Mary Canvan, Editor/Book Reviewer.

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I loved the characters. I liked the short chapters. Everyone should read this. Brilliant.

  -- Alicia, Age 10.

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No one said attending middle school would be easy, challenging--yes, predictable--no. Gracie, the protagonist in "Gracie Gannon: Middle School Zero", takes us through the emotional highs and lows of school, friendships, birthday sleep-overs, and family life in this chapter book for readers of ages 8-12, and through the journey puts a spotlight on the hurts and damage caused by bulling.


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I loved everything about the story of Gracie Gannon. I shared it with my best friend and she loved it, too. We think you should write more Gracie Gannon books. I think you're a great author.

  -- Elizabeth Flint, Glenwood, IA

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"Gracie Gannon: Middle School Zero" is a story that will hit close to home for the 'tween who feels out of sync with her world. The book presents an upbeat story with a positive message that while not everything can be fixed, we can meet life with confidence and compassion. Sixth grader Gracie Gannon reaches out and discovers that friendship means being there for the bad times as well as the good.


 * * * * *

GRACIE GANNON: MIDDLE SCHOOL ZERO is a story about a sixth-grade  student, who thinks she is a misfit. Gracie is bullied and taunted by  
the school clique. As the story unfolds, readers watch Gracie come  into her own as she learns how to deal with the bullying by standing  
up and believing in herself. "Gracie" is an encouraging novel that  offers coping skills for middle-grade kids.

  --  Erin Murphy of the Lincoln-Journal Star (Lincoln, NE)



         "We read to learn we are not alone."

                                         C.S. Lewis



Join your children or grandchildren in a library adventure to foster a lifelong love of reading.








Nick McElroy, age six, Mary's youngest grandchild.


Mary Elizabeth, known as Mary, Mary Liz, or just plain Liz, can remember the first time she started to call herself a writer. "I was around nine or ten years of age, and had a favorite aunt who was very ill. I wanted to make my aunt feel better, so decided to create a weekly newspaper. I filled this newspaper with all sorts of information about my family, drew cartoons, and worked out some crossword puzzles. Just like the kinds of things you find in a regular newspaper. My aunt liked this paper so much that I soon started giving it out to other aunts and uncles, grandparents, and anyone else that wanted to read it. It took a lot of time, because everything had to be drawn or written by hand. I liked doing it, and decided at that time that I wanted to become a newspaper reporter when I grew up.

I grew up in Shenandoah, Iowa, where I attended school from kindergarten through high school. I spent lots of time at the public library during my childhood. For me, the library represented a magical place. A place where I could spend a summer's afternoon actually sitting on the floor and pulling out book after book--reading parts from each one, in order to find the perfect books to check out that day. I loved to thumb through all the magazines in the library. An exciting thing happened when I actually started to write for them.

My childhood library brought magic into my life. It swept me to faraway places, filled me with the love of reading, and instilled a dream within me to someday become a writer of children's books. In fact, I still remember the exact day I decided I'd like to become a writer of children's books. I can still feel the heat from the sun, feel perspiration dripping down my forehead, and can hear the crunching sound my sandals made walking on the gravel, as I made the long hot walk to the library. I remember looking down at the books I carried and thinking "Wouldn't it be the most wonderful thing in the world to see my name on the cover of a book someday?" And then I thought, "How cool that the book would be around for years and years and lots of kids would have a chance to read it."


The Shenandoah, Iowa Public Library


     The author at age 13 with older sister Pat and younger brother Dan.


The author at age 10.


My dream of writing didn't come to fruition until January 1991. The night  the Persian Gulf War began, I took my first writing class at Central Community College in Grand Island, Nebraska.  "Writing For Profit" intrigued me so much that I signed up for "Writing For Profit Two". These two courses stimulated and inspired me. They also taught valuable marketing skills. After these two classes I jumped right into the process and wrote an article about draft horses, which RURAL HERITAGE accepted. I then decided to write greeting cards for Blue Mountain Arts, and had several accepted. Many articles and stories later I started teaching "Freelance Writing for Profit & Pleasure" at community colleges throughout Nebraska.

Good friends from Iowa introduced me to the Lincoln Highway, the first transcontinental highway across the United States. This information aroused me to action. I decided to write a children's book titled LINK ACROSS AMERICA: A STORY OF THE HISTORICAL LINCOLN HIGHWAY. Because of this book I became acquainted with the Lincoln Highway Association and other people interested in the route. I started to give school visits, and also speeches about the highway to various civic organizations and book clubs.



Soon I became busy working on many book projects. JayJo Publishers published TAKING CEREBRAL PALSY TO SCHOOL in the fall of 2000.I dedicated the book to Chad Madson of Lincoln, Nebraska. I gathered valuable information concerning writing through my attendance at many writers conferences and workshops, and by consuming a shelf full of writing books. In August of 2001 two more book contracts IT'S ME AGAIN, GOD, and WHY DID THEY BUILD A FENCE? came my way. Three weeks later a contract from Warner Press for my manners book EVER WONDER WHAT TO DO.

appreciate everyone who has decided to visit my web site. I'd love to get to know you better. Please feel free to write, call or email me. See the "Contact Me" page for my phone number and addresses.

Thank you.