Discussion

Letters from my readers


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Was your idea for per wee from when a man facing eviction let his animals out in central park?

Yes. I read a newspaper article about how many guinea pigs were discovered running about in Central Park in New York City. It turned out that a man's landlord threatened to evict him if he didn't get rid of all his pets. So he did and suddenly I had an idea for a new book.

Dear Mrs. Hurwitz,

We really liked your PeeWee and Lexi stories! We are twin sisters and we are 5 and three quarters years old. We have read all of the PeeWee and Lexi Park Pals Adventures! I liked how PeeWee and Plush had a family, and I like how at the end of every story it turned out fine (Emily). I liked all the characters and I liked that there was a family of guinea pigs living in the park (Abby). And I liked how Lexi taught PeeWee how to live in the park and how PeeWee taught Plush how to live in the park (Abby). We liked all of these stories really much and we can't wait to know if you have more. We hope you will write more PeeWee stories. Maybe in the next story, you could include the next litter of baby guinea pigs. How did you get inspiration for these stories?

From,
Abby and Emily
(dictated to Abby and Emily's Mommy)

PS - (from A&E's Mommy) I read PeeWee's Tale aloud to my daughters last week in one sitting - they would not let me put it down! We then had to get all of the other books and we read each one with great enthusiasm. We all really enjoyed these delightful adventures and today we are going to our park (at my daughters' request) to see what animals live there and maybe make up stories about them! Thanks for your many wonderful contributions to children's literature!

Dear Abby and Emily and your Mom too. Thank you for your lovely comments about the Park Pals stories. It makes me very happy to know you enjoyed the stories. I have more ideas in my head and perhaps someday I will write them down. The idea for the series grew out of a newspaper article about a part worker who discovered many guinea pigs running abut in Central Park in New York City. I thought it would be fun to write about those guinea pigs but rather than write about loads of guinea pigs, I settled on writing just about one.
I've written lots of other books that you may enjoy even I they are not about guinea pigs. One book is even about a pair of twin sisters. They don't have any guinea pigs but they each own a ferret. You could look for the book THE TWO AND ONLY KELLY TWINS in your local public library.




out of all the books you wrote which one is your favorite
Believe it or not, I don't have a favorite among my books. I work hard to do a good job and I am proud of all my books.

what is your favorite color
My favorite color I blue/green. Sometimes it is called turquoise.

how old are you
I am old enough to be your grandmother.



Dear Mrs. Hurwitz,
A number a years ago you spoke at a school in New Rochelle. You described how you find story ideas in everyday life. You then went on to describe how you watched a woman place her ring between her teeth because there was nowhere to put it while she washed her hands. You used that as an idea in one of your books. Which book did you use the idea?
Thanks,
Tara DeRubeis

The book in question is TEACHER'S PET.



Dear Johanna Hurwitz,
I really like your book, Class Clown. I liked it because you use descriptive words. I also liked it because they were wrestling. My favorite part was the haircut. Where did you get the idea of Lucas, Marcus and Marius? Where did you get the idea of Class Clown? Where do you live?
From,
Jimmy John

Dear Johanna Hurwitz,
I like the Class Clown book.It was very good. Didn't you also make Aldo Applesauce? I also read it and it was also good. I like a lot of parts and hope you make another Class Clown book. Maybe you can call it A Class Clown's summer
Sincerely, Julien
P.S. please write back.

Dear Jimmy John and Julien,

I'm so happy that you both enjoyed reading CLASS CLOWN. I have visited many schools and seen lots of boys (and some girls too!) acting like class clowns. Once I even saw a boy stick his head through an opening in a chair. That was the moment that Lucas Cott was born in my imagination. I wrote about that chair incident in my book.

I've written several other books about Lucas and his friends including SCHOOL'S OUT which is about Lucas in the summer, just as Julien suggested. You can look for that book in your school or public library.

I live in a community called "Great Neck" on Long Island which is part of New York State.




Dear Ms. Hurwitz,

I teach 6th grade ESL and it can be difficult to find books that the students enjoy and are excited to read. Well, a few weeks we ago we started to read Baseball Fever and all the boys loved it! They were so excited that there a was a book in English about a boy who loved sports (like them), had a Jewish name (like them) and parents who did not always understand them (just like them!) Thank you!

The students would like to know which baseball team is your favorite?

What great news to know that BASEBALL FEVER was a hit with your students. My own children, who love baseball, have often urged me to change the name sof the players that I wrote about as many have retired since the book was first published. However, I remind them that no sooner would I change the names than the newer players might retire or at least change teams.

When I was young, I lived in the Bronx, walking distance from Yankee Stadium, and so of course I was a Yankee fan. Nowadays, I live on Long Island, a short train ride from Citifield where the Mets play and so I've become a Mets fan.

I've written loads of other books which your students might enjoy. Suggest they look in the school or public library for THE ADVENTURES OF ALI BABA BERNSTEIN, ONE SMALL DOG, A LLAMA IN THE FAMILY. and a collection of short stories called BIRTHDAY SURPRISES for starters.




If you could describe yourself in five words.What would they be?

five words: Mother, Grandmother, Booklover, Friendly, Cheerful




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Your excellent books--like Lara Ingalls Wilder's--were unknown to me until my 30s, Aldo and Ali Baba Bernstein and Once I was a Plum Tree. Born in Minnesota and moving from rural Wisconsin to North Dakota in sixth grade, I still find urban Jewish childhoods fascinating. I often commend your Even Stephen to adults who may not share my love of books for children. Thank
you for so many wonderful stories! jan kjerne, Lutheran pastor's daughter



Selected Works

Short stories
A collection of stories all based on the same premise of someone playing a trick on someone else.
Fiction
The first book in my early chapter series starring a shy boy who comes into his own.
Monty is mighty enough to take karate in a funny, true-to-life sequel with surefire appeal for early chapter-book readers.
A new sibling is just one of the surprises some good, some not so much awaiting Monty in another story for early chapter book readers.
The first grade hero of this series continues in his resourceful and clever activities as he deals with the unpredictable everyday events in his life. Monty, and the reader, are in for several surprises and some laughs too when they read this book.

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