Archive for the ‘Awards + Nominations’ Category

Humphrey’s on a roll!

June 19th, 2011

I’ve had quite a lengthy hiatus from blogging but Humphrey does keep my wheel spinning busily! To catch up a bit, here’s the latest Humphrey news:

School UK coverSchool Days According to Humphrey will be released in hardcover June 30. It’s already out in the U.K. as School According to Humphrey. For a preview of the first chapter (with British punctuation and spelling), here’s the link to Tesco’s Book Club, which features a sneak peak. Click on the cover at this link:


I’m thrilled that School According to Humphrey has been shortlisted for the IBW Award in the children’s category. IBW stands for Independent Booksellers Week and I love indie bookshops!

Humphrey is now on the Illinois Bluestem Award list at
This list is a little different from other state lists. The award is designed for students in grades 3-5 who are ready for longer titles than found on the Monarch list, but not quite ready for the sophistication of some of the Rebecca Caudill titles. Named in honor of Big Bluestem which is the state prairie grass, the award may include both timeless classics and current titles, as well as books that have appeared on Monarch and Rebecca Caudill lists. Some of my favorites are on the list with The World According to Humphrey. Humphrey has won seven state awards, a Christopher Award, two Children’s Crown Awards and has been on 22 or 23 state lists – I’ve kind of lost count!

Trouble According to Humphrey was named an Honor Book for this year’s Children’s Crown Award. The World According to Humphrey and Friendship According to Humphrey previously won. Adventure According to Humphrey is on the list for the coming year.


Summer According to Humphrey coverYippee! Summer According to Humphrey, which recently came out in paperback,  is a bestseller in the Scholastic Book Club.  But wait! there’s more!









One of the brand new Humphrey’s Tiny Tales books, My Pet Show Panic, is a Richard and Judy book club book this summer! This is huge in the U.K. and the books will be featured at all the W.H. Smith Stores. People in the U.K. really love Richard and Judy’s choices and the fact that The World According to Humphrey was on their first children’s list really got it off to a blazing start there. You’ll find it at this link, at the bottom of the page.

Summer Fair Surprise coverAnd just a few weeks ago, Humphrey’s Tiny Tales: My Summer Fair Surprise was released in the UK. Next up will be Humphrey’s World of Pets, a pet care guide coming out in U.K. in October. And the next Tiny Tales book is called My Creepy-Crawly Camping Adventure – my favorite so far!

More good news : I am constantly asked in emails and snail mail if there will be more Humphrey books. I’m HAPPY-HAPPY-HAPPY to say there will. And I’m equally pleased to say I’ve finally got the time to do some serious work on a non-Humphrey book – a goal I’ve fallen behind on.

Next up: updating the website!

More Drama from Mother Nature

December 13th, 2008

Answer to last post’s mystery question: it’s a magnolia tree seed pod. The tree is actually in our neighbor’s yard. We frequently see the pods themselves but I’ve never seen those red M&M looking seeds before. Except for the skunks (and mosquitoes, etc.) nature is pretty grand.

Especially the owl I hear at 3 and 4 in the morning when I take Desi out in the front yard. It’s usually off in the distance but was really close night before last.

But there’s more drama than skunks and owls. Sitting in my quiet little office in the back of the backyard, I heard the loud crash of an avocado bouncing off the roof from the nearby (giant) tree. Actually, we have a very poor crop coming this year because we had the tree trimmed last year. But there was at least big one. I went to my (new) door and was face to face with one of our big, fat, smart squirrels. They really are the hugest squirrels I’ve ever seen, so avocados are definitely fattening.

He took the measure of me, decided to risk everything and check out the fallen avocado. And for the first time, I saw a squirrel carry a very large avocado up the tree. Here’s the sequence:

 Squirrel hears the avocado fall

Squirrel hears the avocado fall

Squirrel sees me, sizes up the situation

Squirrel sees me, sizes up the situation

Squirrel goes for it anyway

Squirrel goes for it anyway

Squirrel gets the prize

Squirrel gets the prize

By the way, my apologies to those who are iced in. This is Southern California in December but we’re supposed to have cold temperatures (highs in the 50s) the next few days and much needed rain!


June 11th, 2008

It wasn’t a tour, exactly, but it was a mystery – a big question mark that’s been on my calendar for months. And once the mystery was solved, it turned out to be a magical trip after all.

Last year, the Penguin marketing team came up with the idea of a Humphrey Drawing Contest. Last week, after over a thousand entries were looked at, a smaller group (about 15) were sent to me and after a lot of long, hard thought, we had a winner.

Since the grand prize was having me come to the winner’s school to speak (as well as free books for the entire class and a gift certificate), I didn’t want to know where each entry was from. After a rather strenuous travel year (away from home 8 weeks in various bits and pieces), I probably would have selected Los Angeles! So where was I going? Nebraska? North Carolina? Alabama? All were in the finalists.  But it was a little north of Alabama because the winner was (fanfare here):

Richard Roberts, Cliffwood Elementary School, Cliffwood, New Jersey!

(I ended up having to travel coast-to-coast after all. But I didn’t really mind)

Richard Roberts, Cliffwood Elementary School

The fun part was that my editor and Humphrey’s true best friend, Susan Kochan of Putnam’s, could come down for the festivities as well!

I have to say, Richard’s teacher, Susan Kyvelos, librarian, Susan Rardin (yes, there were lots of Susans there), the principal  (whose name has escaped me even though she is the Most Important Person at Cliffwood Elementary) and the whole staff at Cliffwood pulled out all the stops! The library was turned into Humphreyville with all the streets listed in TROUBLE ACCORDING TO HUMPHREY. There are so many talented artists at Cliffwood – I loved all the big drawings of the characters from the books.  Great food, the newspaper there to take photos, and Richard’s enthusiastic parents and grandmothers were on hand as well.

So, how did we determine the winner? It was tough, I have to tell you. Once the finalists were chosen, I looked and looked and looked and my eyes kept going back to Richard’s. While many entries illustrated the scene where Humphrey hits Clem with the rubber band – and they were all very cute – his drawing showed an exact moment in the book and it was action packed. The rubber band has just that second hit Clem’s nose. Read the chapter and you’ll see Richard captured it all with verve and imagination. When I talked to him about it, Richard said that he had done a couple of drawings before it but wasn’t quite satisfied. That’s so much like writing, when I rewrite and rewrite and rewrite some more. And it’s always worth it.

Winner Richard Roberts drawing I like the little cartoon bubbles. Fanny is saying “Blub,” Humphrey is saying “Take this, Beast” and Clem says “Ouch!” There’s the rubber band mid-air, too!

Still it was a tough decision! Especially since Sasha Quattlebaum from Omaha, NE had a wonderfully imaginative take on Aldo and the hallways of Longfellow School at night. And Mary Beth Judge from Waxhaw, NC also captured a colorful scene between Aldo and Humphrey. They both received First Prize Awards.  Honorable Mentions went to Glen Nolte of Anniston, AL, a truly talented artist, and Lexi Rose Reynolds, also of Waxhaw – I loved Clem’s big nose as seen through Humphrey’s eyes. There were two other Waxhaw students in the finalists. Rea View Elementary is a very special place.

I’ll try to get those up on my photo gallery soon. They deserve to be looked at.

By the way, Richard’s 9th birthday was the day before I came to his school but I didn’t find that out until later. So Happy Birthday, Richard!

I will be signing Humphrey books at the L.A. Times Festival of Books on Saturday, April 26th at 10:00 a.m. (sorry, that’s early) at the Mrs. Nelson’s Toy and Book Shop booth in the children’s area. Hope to see you there – it’s a great event! And you can wish me a happy birthday on my actual birthday!

Not much time to blog but I did receive the Oklahoma State Award, the Sequoyah, yesterday before an audience of 500 kids. I also signed books for over three hours with no apparent damage to my hand! I received more good news which I will share very soon.

with-sequoyah-2.jpg I’m off to give a speech at the Oklahoma Library Association luncheon and then driving to Broken Arrow, OK for visits to Indian Springs and Park Lane Elementary Schools. OK!

What would writers do without librarians? Or without libraries. I visit my own Studio City branch once or twice a week. As a part of the vast Los Angeles Public Library system, I can go online, order any book in the system and pick it up near my house within a few days. Brilliant – especially since many of the books I want are out of print.

Naturally, I spend a lot of time in libraries and with librarians. This has been especially true in the last month and a half.

First, I had the great honor of going to Yakima, WA to the Washington Library Media Association conference to receive their Sasquatch Award for The World According to Humphrey. There I was greeted and entertained by a very enthusiastic group of librarians. Margaret Martin, Children’s Librarian at the Mercer Island (WA) Library presented the award, entertained me, and made sure all the details were taken care of. Didi Kearsley, Librarian at Lakeridge Elementary School on Mercer Island was an unofficial hostess and a great help as well. Here I am with the award, and a furry friend


And here’s the fun-loving Sasquatch Committee (that’s Margaret Martin in the light-colored dress, holding the book).


Judy Schachner (author/illustrator of the joyfully rollicking Skippyjon Jones books among others) was the ebullient speaker at the luncheon and we ended up flying to Seattle together on a very odd flight from Yakima … we managed to yak the whole way!


Finally, this past weekend, I spoke at the CSLA (California School Library Association) conference in Ontario, CA. The Seven Wonders of Sassafras Springs is on the California Young Reader Medal list (yay!) and it was great to hear so many librarians’ enthusiastic response to that book.

I spoke on Friday, then returned on Sunday for an author/librarian brunch where I met even more interesting and lively librarians, and visited with writer friends, such as Mark London Williams (Danger Boy series), Hope Anita Smith (The Way a Door Closes ), Lisze Bechtold (Buster & Phoebe), Alexis O’Neill (pictured below with The Recess Queen – we both look a little blurry bu tI think I look better blurry), and I got to make some new acquaintances such as Kate Hovey (Ancient Voices), Caroline Arnold (Taj Mahal) and Barbara Bietz (Like a Maccabee). Barbara Bietz and I had each other’s lunch tickets and thus, ate each other’s lunches. I only wish my pal Barbara Bottner (of Wallace’s Lists fame) had been there so we would have had three BBs signing in a row! (Children’s writers love alliteration, even in their names. Think Lois Lowry!)


with Alexis O’Neill

And I also got to schmooze with Susan Dubin, L.A. librarian extraordinaire, who happens to be a relative! My dear stepdaughter, Rebecca (mother of Remy), is married to Suzie’s nephew, Gary (father of Remy), and we’re all one big happy family.