About

‘Pla’ is an odd last name. But if you go to Barcelona, it’s common, because it’s Catalan. Pronounced like “Blah,” but with a ‘P,’ it totally seems like it should have more letters. But it doesn’t. It means “flat,” like the plateaus in the Pyrenees, mountains between France and Spain. PLA-teaus.

I’ve thought of myself as a writer since I was in second grade at Mill Hill School in Southport, Connecticut. That was when my teacher, Mrs. McDonald, saw a story-telling glimmer and encouraged me. I had another wonderful teacher at Mill Hill named Mr. Simpson. Great teachers are like super heroes.

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I’m a big dog person. Here’s me as a kid with my dog Lucky:

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Here’s me now, with Leo, my giant golden-doodle pup. (Maybe not really THIS giant IRL)

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I know what it feels like to be neurodiverse, a little different, a little off, and very unsure, in a world that can be straight and narrow-thinking about what it calls ‘normal.’ I know what it feels like to be scared of pretty much everything. And to choose not to speak. Here’s a photo of me from the days when I was called too sensitive, too shy, and too silent. I was very fearful and bewildered by things. I mainly liked to spend time alone, in the quiet. And I loved the outdoors.

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I felt a lot of self-doubt and fear as a child. I think all of my writing so far is about learning to understand, accept, befriend, and move past Fear. About learning to feel more at ease in the world. Learning that it can get better, get easier. I hope my books will make you laugh, and also, feel little heart-pangs of recognition about everything we have in common, being human and all.

The Someday Birds is my debut novel. It’s about a 12-year-old boy named Charlie. He sees the world a little differently, in his own, unique, wonderful, autistic, sensitive way. So he takes you on a bit of an unexpected cross-country journey — and faces his own fears. It’s also about things such as war, chicken nuggets, OCD, rescue dogs, autism, un-extincting, and a quest for a mysterious bird guru who lives in a sanctuary marsh.

My second novel, will be published by HarperCollins Feb 6, 2018. It’s about Stanley Fortinbras, a 12-year-old comics fanatic who’s dreamed up a fantasy superhero named “John Lockdown” who he imagines will ‘save’ him from stuff like over-the-top-scary school danger drills. Stanley’s afraid of everything — but despite his fears, he dares to enter a giant comics-trivia treasure hunt. Much trouble, turmoil, and tumult ensue. The book’s title is STANLEY WILL PROBABLY BE FINE.

Benny, The Bad Day, and Me is my picture book, which will be illustrated by the wonderful Ken Min and published by Lee & Low. It’s about two little brothers, a grumpy day, and a fuzzy blue blanket.

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I’ve lived in New York, Connecticut, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, California, and Caracas, Venezuela, along with a bunch of time in France. I’ve loved each place. Right now I live in Southern California.

Well, that’s me. Now maybe you will write me sometime, and tell me a little about you!

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