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Dedicated to the parents, grandparents, teachers, librarians and unofficial family members
who nurture joy, courage, enthusiasm, and curiosity in the children whose lives they touch.



First, last, and always, I am so grateful to my husband, Joe Merkt, for his support and encouragement
as I struggled to bring Belinda to life. He believed in me–and in the story–and I am so grateful.

And I am deeply grateful to my first readers. My daughter, Rachel Fisher, who is a talented novelist.
My friend and writing mentor Terri Lewis. They encouraged me to let Belinda be Belinda, let her make a mistake sometimes.
Let her be silly. And above all, make sure she never forgets to ask questions three at a time!


Cover Illustration:


Dayne Sislen created the beautiful cover and the chapter illustrations of the book. She deserves special thanks.  
I wasn’t sure anyone would see the Belinda that I saw. But Dayne saw and captured a child who almost exploded with life, energy, and joy. 



David Aretha, Editor Extraordinaire, helped me align the words with the story.
After years of business writing, it was hard for me to tell a story for young children without using big words!
David helped me match the words to the story, and I am so thankful.
Otherwise, I would have to hope that seventh graders would fall in love with Belinda!