Interview with Johanna Hurwitz

Click and type in a question or comment

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.

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?

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!

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.

It seems to me that you must have a book that once belonged to Carl. I've signed a lot of books over the years and sometimes they end up at yard sales, flea markets and used book stores.

Who is Carl in baseball fever? I have the signed book that say "for Carl...".

Hi AJ. I'm glad to know that you enjoyed CLASS CLOWN. I'll have to think about DETENTION ON THE DOUBLE. It's a great title! In the meantime, you can look in your school or public library for eight other books I've written about Lucas Cott and his classmates. Happy reading!

mi Aryamjose or aj for short i really enjoyd class clown and i wonder of you could write a book called detention on the doble by your be st fan Aryamjose

The book in question is TEACHER'S PET.

Dear Mrs. Horowitz,
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?
Tara DeRubeis

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 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?
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

P.S. please write back.

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.

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?

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

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

March 16th,

Dear K.R.

I am so happy that you liked FARAWAY SUMMER. I have good news for you. I have already written two more books about Dossi and Emma. They are called DEAR EMMA and THE UNSIGNED VALENTINE. If you look in your school or local public library you should be able to find those books. I hope you will like them.

March 6, 2015

Dear Johanna Hurwitz,

I am really curious about your book Faraway Summer. I really enjoyed it but it left so many in answered questions. "What happens to Ruthi?" "Does Timothy love Dossi (hopefully they love each other)?", "Is that all for the friendship of Emma and Dossi?", "What happens with Meyer and Ruthi?", and so many more. I couldn't find any sequels for this. If it is not much to ask please make another book or two if you haven't already. Maybe one could be where each summer, Dossi goes back to visit for three weeks instead and different adventures happen. Dossi and Timothy's love could progress and Emma and Dossi could become best friends and something would happen with Ruthi and Meyer. Maybe Ruthi could have a child. I read this book in less than a day and I can't wait to share it with everyone. I will check everyday to see if there is a new book coming out.

Thank you for taking out the time to read this and I hope you write a sequel to this.

K.R. In New Jersey

January 19th

Dear Franie, Eisen, Muta and Escher,

I am delightedf to know that you read and enjoyed PEEWEE'S TALE and LEXI'S TALE. That is the best news an author can get. Here is some good news for you: I have written two other books about PeeWee and Lexi. They are PEEWEE AND PLUSH and SQUIRREL WORLD. You can look for them in your school or local public library. I hope you will enjoy them. Perhaps someday I'll write about some interaction between PeeWee, Lexi and a pigeon. That's a good idea!

Your new friend, Johanna Hurwitz

January 18, 2015
Dear Ms. Hurwitz,
This is a letter from The New School. We are a book club. We loved reading Pee Weeís Tale and Lexiís Tale. Your books are really great. We were surprised that you thought of a squirrel circus. You write about things that people donít normally think about and we like how you write about animals. We liked that you made a squirrel and a guinea pig friends. We like the names of the animals in the books.

Frannie: I am seven and my favorite animal is a pigeon. Can you write a story about a pigeon?

Eisen: I am eight and I like reading.

Muta: I am nine and I have a dog named Tokie.

Escher: I am seven and I like Greek Myths.

And I loved visiting with you! Keep on reading.

I loved it when u came to j.f.k and signed our books! 3-5 grade was amazed by how u got your insperation for your books. Please come again soon!

-Abigail Nassimi

I'm so pleased that you liked my portrayal of Helen Keller but I can take no credit for the illustrations which were made by Neverne Covington. I've never actually worked with anyone who is blind but I do know a few people who are legally blind, like you. I've also worked with a couple of people with severe hearing loss but unlike Helen they could speak before they lost their hearing. Hence their speech was very clear. Good luck in getting your degree and in your teaching career.

Hello, I just finished reading your book Helen Keller Courage in the Dark. As a prospective teacher, I am getting my degree in elementary education, and someone who is legally blind, I was wondering if you have ever worked with blind or deaf children? I really enjoyed your portrayal of Helen. I also liked the vivid illustrations.

Dear Anjalee, Taylor, Samantha and your mystery classmate who didn't leave his/her name: I've written several books about Julio and Lucas and their classmates. If you look in your school or local public library, you may be able to find SCHOOL SPIRIT which tells about Julio after he becomes president of his 5th grade class.

If you read the "home" page of my website, you'll be able to find out what inspired me to become a writer. Happy reading to you all!

Hi my name is Anjalee an I have a question? What happen to Julio after the election? What did he use the money on?

Hello my name is Taylor. I'm a 5th grader I just got done reading your book Class President and I want to know what inspired you to become a writer?

Dear Johanna I like your book class President . But what happened to Julio.

Dear Johanna,I read your book class President .I like how you
Made it were Julio won but u leaved me hanging . like what happens to Julio was he a good President or a bad President. Your friend ,samantha Russell

Dear Hannah, You have almost the same name as I do!

My story of CLASS PRESIDENT is fiction. It didn't happen to me or someone I know but it could have. I'm really glad that you liked the book. As for what does the class buy with their money, that's for you to think about. Sometimes an author leaves a question in their story so that the readers can consider the possibilities. What do you think Julio's class would do with the money?

My name is Hannah and I read the book Class President in my class. I am wondering did this happen to you or someone you know or did you make it up? P.S. I really liked the book!

What does the class buy with their money from the bake sale in Class President or if they even spend their money?

Dear Olivia and your classmates too,

The genre of CLASS PRESIDENT is realistic fiction. I guess I was successful because I have you wondering which elements of my story are true and based on my own life.
No, I don't have two older brothers. No, I'm not Puerto Rican. No, no one ever misprounced my name or made fun of it. No, I never pretended that I disliked school. Almost everything in my book was made up from my imagination. However, I have met many boys like Julio and they have inspired me to write my book (his story). I am so happy that you have enjoyed it. Look in the public library for the other books that I've written about Julio and his family. I think you will like them too.

Hi my name is Olivia. I go to Hall`s Cross Roads Elementary School and I read your book Class President in my 5th grade reading class. I really loved the book and I wish you could of added more to the end when Julio goes home and tells his parents he`s class president.I have a lot more questions to ask.
1.What was your life like during 5th grade?
2.When you were in 5th grade did you do Class President?
3.Have you ever had a principal like M r.Herbertson and were scared and then finally spoke up?
4.Did you ever do a bake sale at your school?
5.Are you Puerto Rican?
6.Did people at your school ever make fun of your name with the sound like the kids in Julio`s class?
7.Is this based on a true story?
8.What Genre is this book?
9.Have you ever thought you were going to have a certain teacher and then got a new teacher instead, like Mr. Flores?
10.Did you act like you hated school and school lunches just to have friends?
11.Have you ever had a grandmother with Arthritis and help her out around the house?
12.Do you have to older brothers?
13.What Elementary School did you go to?

I know these are alot of questions and would really appreciate it if you can answer some of them!
Sincerely: Olivia Sheets

To all my 5th grade readers in Mrs. Norton's reading group at Halls Cross Roads School:

I am so delighted to know that you have enjoyed reading about Julio Sanchez in my book CLASS PRESIDENT. That is really the best news an author can get. Did you know that I have written several other books about Julio and his classmates Lucas and Cricket? If you look in the public library over the summer, you may be able to find FOURTH GRADE FUSS, SPRING BREAK, SCHOOL SPIRIT, STARTING SCHOOL and THE JUST DESSERTS CLUB.

It's important to read during the summer even when you aren''t going to school. That way you won't regress in your reading skills and you'll all be ready for the next grade.

Happy summer. Happy reading. Johanna Hurwitz

Dear Ms. Johanna Hurwitz
I love your books that you write for kids. My reading class and I are reading Class President. My reading class loves the book. Your book would make a student that did not want to run for class president want to run. For example, if a kid needed some pointers on how to be class president, I would recommend he or she read your book because some of the characters have great leadership skills. Your main character Julio is also a great spokesperson.

Micah Christy
5th grade- Halls Cross Roads Elementary School
Mrs. Nortonís Reading Group

Dear Mrs. Hurwitz,
I liked the book Class President because it taught me to speak up to for myself. I have a few questions:
1. When did you start writing books?
2. What made you want to do this?
3. How much fun is it to write books?

Kyle Snead, 5th grade
Halls Cross Roads Elementary
Aberdeen,Maryland Mrs. Nortonís Reading Group

May 22, 2014

Dear Johanna Hurwitz,

I loved your book Class President! Itís a good book about a boy named Julio and how he was a good role model for his fellow classmates. I think you should make a part two of Class President or make a movie of Class President.

From: Malik Guerrier
School: Hallís Cross Roads Elementary, Fifth Grade
Reading Teacher: Mrs. Norton

Dear Mrs. Johanna Hurwitz,
I love your book called Class President and I think it would be a good thing for other students to read this book. It is smart and it would give other people good advice if they were class president. Thank you for writing this book. I really enjoy it.

Gracelyn Moser
Halls Cross Roads Elementary
5th grade ĖMrs. Norton Reading Group

Dear Mrs. Johanna Hurwitz,
I love the book Class President. I read it in my reading class. I just wanted to keep on reading and didnít want to put the book down at the end of each class! I really wanted to see who won class president .You should have written a chapter 9. That would have been cool to see what Julioís family said about him winning class president. My teacher gave us different assignments. I picked to write about what Julio does when he get home after the election. What inspired you to write this book? Were you in fifth grade and this happened to you or did the idea just come you?

Katelynn M
Halls Cross Roads Elementary School
5th Grade-Mrs. Nortonís Reading Class
Aberdeen, Maryland

5/21/ 2014
Dear Ms. Johanna Hurwitz,
I like the book Class President and you did a great job. I am a 5th grader and we had to read this book in reading class. At first I did not want to read this book but now I am glad I did read this book because it taught me to improve in your self-confidence. I thought that Cricket and Lucas would get in to a screaming match about who should be class president. Instead Julio won. I think he deserved it.

Thank you,
Barbara Rostine
Halls Cross Roads Elementary School 5th grade

5/21/ 2014
Dear Johanna Hurwitz,

I like my reading class and the book Class President because itís easy to read. I also can understand the book and my reading class. They both explain things better. I liked how Julio helped me know about caring and being respectful to other people and having self Ėconfidence. Thank you for writing this great book.

From: Destiny Orris
School: Halls Cross Roads, 5th grade
Teacher: Mrs. Norton

Dear Mrs.Hurwitz i love the books you write for us kids.I have a few question.One, what school did you go to k-12?Two, why did you start writing books? And three, where do you live? these are all the questins i have for tody hope you write me back

Here are the names of the schools I attended K-12:
P.S. (that stands for Public School) 35 , Bronx, NY K-6
J.H.S. (that stands for Junior High School) , Bronx, NY 7-9
William Cullen Bryant High School in Queens, NY 10-12.

hi Johanna hurwitz i love your amazing awesome books like one small dog teacher's pet and class clown you are one of my favorite authors!!!!!!!!!! TIPS UP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

hello Johanna i cant wait to meet you on June 6! i go to SFX!

And I can't wait to meet you! JH

Dear Mrs. Hurwitz,
I wrote a letter to you as a school assignment and I am supposed to mail it but cannot find your address. Do you have a mailing address for your readers?
Thank you,

Hi Casey, I bet the U.S. Post Office will be glad to know that your teacher wants students to mail letters the old fashioned way instead of using email.

my home address is 10 Spruce Place
Great Neck, NY 11021

Hello Ms. Hurwitz (and Mrs. Erikson's class)! I LOOOOOOVE Lucas Cott's First Adventure in the book "Class Clown." I can't wait to finish the second book of Lucas' adventure "School's Out." Please, please, please write a sequel to it for Mrs. Erikson's class at Norwood Ave. I love your books. Please write back. Thomas C

Dear Thomas C.

Here's some good news for you: I've written a total of nine books about Lucas Cott and his classmates. You can read them out of order if you wish. The other books are: TEACHER'S PET, FOURTH GRADE FUSS, CLASS PRESIDENT, SCHOOL SPIRIT, SPRING BREAK, STARTING SCHOOL and THE JUST DESSERTS CLUB. Look in your school or public library for these books. I hope you enjoy them all.

Dear Ms. Hurwitz,

Hi, we are third graders from Bartle Elementary School in New Jersey. We just finished our first whole class novel, Aldo Applesauce. We loved it! We have a few questions for you. 1. Why did you choose "Applesauce" for Aldo's nickname instead of something else? 2. What inspired you to have Aldo's uncle have a nickname too? 3. What helped you think of the traits you gave to each character? We also wrote you letters like Ms. Smith's class and we look forward to hearing back from you!

Happy Reading and Writing!
Ms. Thorne's Third Graders

Hi to my readers at Bartle Elem. Sch:

The moment I decided that Aldo's last name was Sossi (in MUCH ADO ABOUT ALDO), I thought with a name like that, I bet he gets teased. So that was in my mind when I began the next book about Aldo. I thought it would be funny if he had an uncle named Tom who had been teased when he was young - Tom-ato Sossi. Lots of kids of nicknames and some of them are funny. When I was young, my friends called me Jo-Jo.
As for my characters' traits, I thought about them a lot before I began writing. I needed to know a great deal about them before I could write my book.

Dear Ms. Hurwitz,
We just finished reading Aldo Applesauce! We were wondering where you got your inspiration for the books? Also, do you plan to write more about Aldo? We are big fans and we can't wait to read more of your books. We are also practicing our writing by writing letters to you- so keep an eye on your mailbox!
Ms. Smith's Class

Dear readers in Ms. Smith's class: Your letters haven't arrived at my home yet but I'll keep watching for them. My first book about Aldo grew out of an actual science project that a third grade class was doing. I was working as a school librarian and first the students came into the library asking for books about crickets. Then a week or two later they wanted books about chamelions. I asked their teachers about it and learned that they were studying about the food chain. That gave me the idea to write about a boy who didn't like the idea of animals, or people, eating animals. That's when Aldo became a vegetarian. You can find the whole story in MUCH ADO ABOUT ALDO.

Hi, i'm doing a book project on your book TOUGH~LUCK KAREN, and I want to ask u when u wrote this book and what inspired it. i also want to ask if u have any writing tips for me. I've wanted to become an author since i was 4!!! My librarian Kathleen Finn said Hi!!!!

I wrote TOUGH-LUCK KAREN in 1981 and it was published the following year - long before you were born. Karen is a sister of Aldo about whom I had already written three books: MUCH ADO ABOUT ALDO, ALDO APPLESAUCE and ALDO ICE CREAM. I thought it would be interesting to read a book from Karen's point of view and see Aldo through her eyes. As for writing tips, the best advise I can give is to read a lot and also keep on writing. The more you do of these activities, the better you will become with an increasing vocabulary and a better sense of the structure ofr a story. Keep on writing and good luck!

Good Afternoon,
I am the Reading Specialist in Glenwood City, Wisconsin and we are trying to locate your book Teacher's Pet published by Scholastic. Do you know where we could buy thirty books for our fourth grade classrooms?

Alas. TEACHER'S PET is out of print at this time. That means that neither Scholastic which brought the book out in paperback or Harper which produced the hard cover edition after they purchased the original publisher Morrow Junior Books have any of the books in stock. Someday it's possible that the book will be available as an e-book. In the meantime, you might be able to locate copies through Amazon. They sell both paperback and hard cover copies. Most are used but the condition of each book is noted at the Amazon site. Furthermore, you may be amazed to see that some copies sell for just one penny + postage. How is this possible? Well I discussed it with a man I know who owns a book shop and he said they make money on the postage. Good luck locating copies. Another option for you is to select an alternate title of mine which is easily available such as CLASS PRESIDENT or FOURTH GRADE FUSS. Both books are about the same group of students and both books are on the same reading level as TEACHER'S PET.

When was your book,The Mystery of the Missing Lunch published?

"The Mystery of the Missing Lunch" was written especially for a text book anthology in 2004. It was probably published the following year. If it every came out as an independent book, I never saw it.

Dear Mrs.Hurwitz,
My name is Carol,and I live in Saudi Arabia.I read your stories, "Hot and Cold Summer" and "Muddy Sneakers." In "Muddy Sneakers" Aldo wins the contest, but does he get to buy the ice cream freezer for his sister Karen?
Thanks Mrs. Hurwitz,

Dear Mrs. Hurwitz,
My name is Ahmed, and I live in Saudi Arabia. I read your stories, "Hot and Cold Summer" and "Muddy Sneakers." In "Muddy Sneakers" Aldo wins the contest, but does he get to buy the ice cream freezer for his sister Karen?
Thanks Mrs. Hurwitz,

Dear Carol and Ahmed,

I'm delighted to know that as far away as Saudi Arabia, students are reading THE HOT & COLD SUMMER and the chapter "Muddy Sneakers" which appeared in my book ALDO ICE CREAM. The problem with reading just one chapter is that you are left with questions. However, I'm happy to report that Aldo does indeed succeed in purchasing the ice cream maker for his sister Karen's birthday. Maybe you can locate the complete book in your school library.

Hello Mrs. Hurwitz,
Our reading group is a small reading group of four first graders who love to read! We go
to a public school in North Carolina. We are curious about where you get your ideas. We get ideas from our memories, our imagination, from movies and lots of books when we write our stories. Betzabeth says that she likes to get ideas from listening to other people's conversations and making up a story about it. Chris used to write only Ninja stories. Chris says that he still likes to write only action-adventure stories, but now uses more characters who are not Ninjas. Sarem gets some of her ideas from her dreams. Garrett likes to act out his stories. We are enjoying your book CLASS PRESIDENT and will soon be holding a class election, too. As first graders who can read chapter books, we definitely like to read a lot! Your books are nice because we feel like we are friends with the characters.
Thank you for writing and sharing your books with us!
Your fans and friends,
Betzabeth, Sarem, Chris, Garrett and Mrs. O.

Dear Betzabeth, Sarem, Chris, Garrett and last but not least, Mrs. O. too,

I am delighted to know that you are enjoying some of my books. You are amazing readers. There are not many first graders who can handle CLASS PRESIDENT.
The ideas for my books have grown out of my memories of my childhood and also remembering incidents in the childhood of my own children. Nora and Teddy in the Riverside Kids books are based on my children who are really named Nomi and Beni. And Russell and Elisa were actual neighbors of ours many years ago. The idea for PeeWee grew out of a newspaper article that I read and ONE SMALL DOG began as a conversation in the faculty room of a school that I visited. One woman reported about her dog biting her. That's not a good thing to happen but it was a good idea for my book.

Keep on reading. Have a great school year. Your new friend, Johanna Hurwitz

dear ms. Hurwitz,
our son like the book Lexi-tale!
it`s great to read a book thats goes about a squirrel and
guinia -pigs.
he likes guinia-pigs and everthing about them.
the book is translate in "dutch".
we hope that we can buy the other books,the other books from lexi,peewee & plush are not available in The Netherlands,who are translate
in "dutch" also.
best wish from;
fam ten cate
The Netherlands

It is always very exciting for an author to have their books translated into another language. I was thrilled when I learned that PEEWEE'S TALE and LEXI'S TALE would be available in Dutch. And now I am even happier to know that someone is reading my books there.

Will you write more books continuing "Fourth Grade Fuss?"


how many books have you published?

71. Book #72, MAGICAL MONTY, will be published in July of this year.

i love your books i am doing a project on: the just desserts club. im in the third grade i like to read your books a lot maybe i can be a writer some day.how did you come up with all the recipes in the book:the just desserts club?i will ask if i can make some of the recipes they sound really great (and healthy)

All of the recipes in THE JUST DESSERTS CLUB are items that I've collected and made over the years. Sometimes I would be visiting at someone's home and they would serve something that I liked and I would ask for the recipe. That's how I learned to make Zucchini Bread. By the way, although that is called "bread" it is really a type of cake. Once I was visiting at a school where the children served me dirt. I got their recipe and put that in my book too. Happy cooking.

Dear Mrs Hurwitz,

I love reading your books as a child. My elder sister of 6 years, who is now 30 years old, recommended your books to me when I was young as she said she enjoyed them. I fell in love one after another.

My question is, since some of your books are out-of-print, could you create ebooks or app and sell them? I would LOVE to buy them and as well as have them for my kids to read, when I have them of course. They I could read to them and continue to read and share your books!

Hope you would consider this and I'd be the first to buy!

With love,
Azimah, 24, Singapore

Dear Azimah,

Thanks for writing and for your suggestion. I am delighted to know that you remember my books from your childhood. And here is an amazing coincidence: Just a few hours ago I was on the telephone speaking to one of the CEOs of a new company that is planning to bring many of my books out as ebooks. It will take a little while until all the paperwork is done and the illustrators are contacted and give their okay to reuse their art. However, long before you have any children to read them to, my books will be available in this new modern format.

hi mrs.hurwitz did you writer the book class president
with julio and lucas and cricket can you get back to me
today. i am doing a report on you and you can contact me
love you fan

Dear Mayston,

Yes, I wrote CLASS PRESIDENT. It's part of a whole series of books about Julio, Lucas and Cricket.
Good luck with your report.

Hi, my name is Preston. I am in 4th grade and my classmates and I read your book Class President. My question is what inspired you to write the book?

Most older classes hold elections. It seemed to me that Cricket, who wants to become a lawyer when she grows up and then someday run for U.S. President, would certainly want to be class president in 5th grade. It also seemed to me that there was no way Lucas would want Cricket to be president of his class. So he decided to run against her. But is there someone else who would be a better president than either Cricket or Lucas?

Which part of creating books comes easily to yu? what parts are most difficult?

This is a great question. The easiest part is creating new characters. Who am I going to write about? What do they do? What happens to them? It's much more difficult to decide what are these characters going to do. So I do a lot of thinking, talk to myself a lot and eventually I can answer myself and keep on writing.

Do you have a favorite book you've written? Why is it your favorite?

This is just about the most difficult question anyone can ask me. It's impossible for me to pick a favorite from among my books. I work hard to do the best job I can and when I finish, I'm proud of what I've done. However, if you read several of my books, you may quite possibly have a favorite. Let me know which one it is!

what is the point of view in the hot and cold summer

THE HOT & COLD SUMMER is written from the point of view of Rory Dunne although there are two other characters who are equally important in the story. My purpose was to show the interaction of the three youngsters and to show that three could be best friends, even if two are boys and the third is a girl. Rory doesn't like change. He doesn't want to make a new friend; he doesn't want to go to sleepaway camp. By the end of the book, he has been stretched and become open to a few new things.

what is your purpose in writing the hot and cold summer

I just finished One Small Dog. The book almost made me cry. You know, I had to go through that too. I got allergic to my puppy, Murray who I admired thoroughly but the good part is coming............. I GOT THE SWEETEST PUPPY named Duffy. He is my second true dog ( my other dog, Bogart died from cancer) and I love him! Anyways, what inspired you to create your masterpiece writing into this dramatic story? Did it happen to you?

~Sarah M:)

Did Sarah, Can you believe it that I actually cried toward the conclusion of ONE SMALL DOG. It was almost as if I was reading a story that someone else had written. I got the idea for the book by hearing a PTA mom at a school where I was visiting tell how her family had to give away their pet dog who was biting people. The son said that if the dog went, he would go too. And then the dog bit the son. There it was - the whole story. Of course, I had to add to it. Who was the family involved? where did the boy think he would run? etc.

How did you come up with the name Russell (my dad's name) for the rip-roaring character?

Russell was the name of a young boy who was our neighbor many years ago. I "borrowed" his name as well as the name of his sister, Elisa. Now both Russell and Elisa are grown adults and I am going to visit with them later this very week.

Sarah M:)

I read your book Spring Break and loved it! I am a great writer and hope to have my dream as becoming an author like you too! I attend Strawtown Elementary and am thrilled for your arrival as you are one of my favorite authors! I am in the fourth grade.

I am counting the days until I visit your school. Keep your fingers crossed that we don't have snow! (If schools are closed due to snow, I will be coming on a different date.) See you soon.
See you,

Sarah M:)

Who is your favorite character in Pee Wee & Plush and why?

My favorite character is PeeWee who shows himself to be very caring and resourceful. He figures out a way to protect his family and himself from the coming winter. I'm also very fond of Lexi who proves himself a great friend to PeeWee and Plush.

Dear Ms. Hurwitz,
We have also just finished reading Aldo Applesauce and we loved it. We have some questions for you that we hope you will be able to answer. Our first question is why did Aldo spill his applesauce on the ground instead of on someone else? Also why did you make Dede wear a moustache instead of someone else? Our last question is does Aldo get a dog in the next book? Hope to hear from you soon.

Mrs. Friedman's third grade class.

It would have been extra funny to have Aldo spill his applesauce on another student but I didn't think of it. Too bad. DeDe wears a moustache because she is the first student Aldo connects with and she becomes a mystery for him. Aldo gets four dogs in HURRICANE ELAINE. (He only keeps two.)

Dear Ms. Hurwitz,

We are third graders from New Jersey and we just finished reading your book, Aldo Applesauce. We have some questions for you. 1. Why is Aldo Applesauce and DeDe Takes Charge not on your website? 2. Why did you have DeDe wear a moustache? 3. Will you continue to write more books? 4. How many books have you written? 5. What is your favorite book that you have written? We will be writing you letters about our favorite parts so please check your mail!

Thank you,
Ms.Thorne's Third Graders

I have written 71 books and I didn't put all of them on my website because it would make the site too long. The reason why DeDe wears a moustache is answered before the end of ALDO APPLESAUCE. Perhaps you have reached that part in the book by now.

Dear Mrs. Hurwitz,
My students and I have read an excerpt from The Down and Up Fall and enjoyed it very much. We live in the Phoenix area which is very different from the rainforest and from New York where you live. Sam would like to know which of your books you have written is your favorite. My entire class would like to know if you would like to come to Phoenix to visit our school, Kyrene de la Esperanza. You are a very impressive author. Thank you for sharing your stories with the world!
Mrs. Terry's 4th Grade

I would love to visit Kyrene de la Esperanza. I have a goal to visit schools in every state. So far I have been to 45 but I have never been to Arizona. It's too late for the current school year but maybe you could arrange something for 2011-2012 school year.

i lioke you books!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!###########$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

thanks for helping. I am the little girl that wrote you a letter!!!!!!!!!


Mrs.Hurwitz its me Ariadna Silva again,I just type you these because I found on the internet that you won the bluebonnet with your book THE HOT AND COLD SUMMER!!!!!!!
Where could I found it?Because I want to read it to put the summary next to the piture I print.Please help me!!!!!!

THE HOT & COLD SUMMER is out-of-print. That means that you won't be able to buy a copy at your local bookstore. But the good news is that you can probably find a copy at your public library. Amazon and www.alibris.com both sell used copies of books - sometimes for only a few cents + postage. So you should be able to find a copy to read.

Can you make more Monty Books?

Here's some good news. I've finished a new Monty book. Now illustrator Anik McGrory is busy working on the illustrations. The book which is called MAGICAL MONTY will be published in the spring of 2012. We'll both have to be patient.

I love your books!you vistited my school the other day and you were very nice! you are my new idol!

Thank you. All the boys and girls who read my books are my idols!

Dear Mrs. Hurwitz,
Our class is reading an excerpt from your book School Spirit and we were wondering if there was a real life inspiration for Henrietta Armstrong and a real life school closing that inspired your story. Also, you say you are most like Cricket, so who was Julio like? Thanks!

A. The elementary school in my community was about to close. Everyone said what a shame but no one did anything to protest. That was my inspiration for the story of SCHOOL SPIRIT. And although Julio Sanchez is not based on any one particular boy, he resembles many students I have met over the years: enthusiastic,
caring, helpful, warm, and clever even if he isn't the smartest boy in the class.

Question: What is your favorite holiday?

My favorite holiday is Thanksgiving. I have memories of my childhood years when we celebrated the day together with family in New Jersey in a house filled with cousins and wonderful cooking odors (followed by a delicious meal). Nowadays, my husband and I have been invited to our son's mother-in-law to celebrate the day. There is a new generation of cousins, some of whom are our granddaughters, and more delicious odors and food. It's a happy holiday and takes place before winter snows can upset plans. Now I'm looking forward to next Thanksgiving.

In CLASS CLOWN, why did you want Lucas have twin brothers? I am also a twin and just wondered. :)

I am not a twin but I thought if Lucas's mom had twin toddlers she would be very busy and Lucas might act up to get more attention. That could explain why a bright boy like Lucas would become the class clown.

I am doing an author study on you. I really like your books.
love Avneet and Alyissa
PS. You rock!

Good luck with your author study. I hope this website is helpful and answers all your questions.

Question: where did you came up with the idea of becoming an author

Answer: I've always loved books. When I was young, about eight or so, I told stories to my little brother. He loved my stories and that gave me the idea of becoming an author.

Q.I read one of your books this year for 3rd grade called The Adventures of Ali Baba and I wanted to tell you that I like it.

A. Thank you for telling me. That's makes me really happy.

Q. Dear johanna Hurwitz what was it like when u was a little girl

If you look in your school or public library, you may find my book ONCE I WAS A PLUM TREE. That is my most autobiographical story and it tells a lot about when I was young - before there were computers and cell phones or even televisions. My friends and I jumped rope, played many games using a ball or drawing with chalk on the street. I lived near Yankee Stadium and so I got to go to baseball games and sometimes my parents took me on the subway into Manhattan to the Museum of Natural History or other interesting places.

Q.How old were you when you made your first book?

A. I made my first book when I was about nine years old. It was not published. I was 38 when my first book was published.

Q.dear johanna hurwitz how does it feel to be a writer

A. It makes me very happy because I dreamed of becoming a writer from a very young age.

Q.Dear johanna hurwitz witch one is your favorite book that u always read.

Q. Dear Mrs.Hurwitz
What inspired you to write "The Hot and Cold Summer".

A.I was inspired by a telephone call from a friend. Her grandchildren were coming to spend the entire summer in our community. My friend was very happy but I wondered if the grandchildren were happy too. It wouldn't be easy to make friends if they weren't in a school situation. Then it occurred to me that since there were two children they could play together. However, what if only one child was coming? I started thinking about that and before I knew it I was writing THE HOT & COLD SUMMER.

Q.Dear Mrs. Hurwitz,
Our fifth grade class has been reading The Hot and Cold Summer from our Harcourt anthology as well. We are wondering who really let Lucette out of her cage. We are really curious to find out if Bolivia let her out or if she just escaped.
Class 520

A.It was Bolivia. She has tamed her parrot enough to be able to let her out of the cage and catch her whenever she wishes to put her back inside. She has let her fly out the window to create some drama and indeed she does. Later in the book (in a chapter not in your Harcourt anthology) Rory attempts to do the same thing but he is less successful with some unpleasant consequences. Maybe you could find the book in your school or public library and read the whole story.

Q.How many kids did u have?

A. I have two "kids" but now they are grown adults: a daughter Nomi and a son Beni. They in turn have children of their own (my grandchildren!). There's Ethan who is Nomi's son and Juliet and Fiona who are the daughters of Beni. Lucky me!

Q. Hi Johanna,
My students and I have just read an excerpt of your book The Hot and Cold Summer from our reading anthology. Since we only have exposure to part of the book, we are having trouble deciding if Rory and Derek are just friends or if they are brothers. We also find reference to a Mrs. Curry but are wondering who she is.
The excerpt appears in the Collections series from Harcourt.
We would really appreciate some help.

A.I guess I wrote a mystery book without even knowing it if there are so many unanswered questions. Rory and Derek are best friends. And Derek's last name is Curry so Mrs. Curry is his mother. The editors of text books select individual chapters because they feel certain points are covered in them. I always hope that the students who read these chapters will be inspired to look for the complete book in their school or public library.

Q.what was your inspiration for writing one small dog

A. My inspiration for ONE SMALL DOG came when I was in the faculty room while visiting at a school. One of the teachers spoke about the trouble her family had with a newly adopted dog. The dog bit the money and she said, "That's it. We have to get rid of this dog." However, her son said that if the dog went, he would go too. Then the dog bit the son. With those pieces of information, I created a story about a family and a dog with problems.

Q.Would you recommend that students read books that have the same characters in them in the order in which you wrote them or can they jump around if they so choose?

A.Because I worked for many years as a children's librarian, I know that you can't always find books in the order they were written. Therefore, when I write books in a series, I try hard to make the story understandable and enjoyable regardless of the order in which they were written.

Q. How old are you? You seem old.

A.Do I seem old from my photograph or from my date of birth? I don't feel old.

Q. How long have you been doing your writing job?

A. I wrote my first "book" when I was about nine years old. It was never published but a friend illustrated it and I attached all the pages together with a paper fastener. If you read it, you'll see it's not very good. However, it is proof that I started out writing books a long, long time ago. I still have my copy of that first book and the little girl who illustrated it, who is now a grown woman like me, is still my good friend.

Q. Why on the list of books you wrote is Once I was a Plum Tree not there?

A. I have written more books than I can fit into this website. I omitted ONCE I WAS A PLUM TREE because it is out of print at this time. However, it is available at many libraries and can be ordered through book dealers selling older books on line (such as www.alibris.com)

Q.How many books have you written? As of today, 71.

Q. Are there any interesting facts about you?

A.If you read my entire website, I think you may find some interesting fact

Q.What is your favorite book to read?

A.Nowadays I love reading British novels. My all-time favorite novel is CRANFORD by Mrs. Gaskell. I discovered it long before Masterpiece Theatre on PBS-TV. I also love the Mapp and Lucia books by E.F.Benson. In addition, I read autobiography and travel books. The books I read when I was young are listed below.

Q. Are you in any of your stories?

A. Of course. Authors are always in their books. Sometimes I write about myself (Gerry Flam in ONCE I WAS A PLUM TREE; Cricket in TEACHER'S PET and the other books in the CLASS CLOWN series; the mother in BASEBALL FEVER and Nora and Teddy's mom in THE RIVERSIDE KIDS) and sometimes I write about the way I would or should have reacted had I been in the situation in which I've placed my characters.

Q. How many books do you plan to write?

A. I think that's like asking a baseball player how many home runs they plan to hit. I don't have a specific goal, but like the baseball player who wants to hit as many home runs as he can, I want to write an many books as possible. Maybe one of those future books will be your favorite.

Q. Have your books won any awards?

A. My books have been the winners of the Children's Choice award in nine states. Children in Texas, Wyoming, Mississippi, Kentucky, South Carolina, Florida, West Virginia, New Mexico and New Jersey (two times)voted for books of mine as their favorite. In addition, my books have been honored as ALA Notable Books, Parents Choice Award, Junior Library Guild, Weekly Reader Book Club, and National Christian Schools Award. Also, as a result of my writing, I was made an honorary citizen of Topeka, Kansas and a day was named after me in Tonawanda, New York.

Q. What were your favorite books when you were young?

A. HEIDI by Johanna Spyri I loved the fact that the author and I shared the same first name and there it was on the cover of a book.
THE LITTLE HOUSE BOOKS by Laura Ingalls Wilder
THE BETSY-TACY BOOKS by Maud Hart Lovelace

Q. What is your favorite color?

A. Blue-green. Sometimes it's called turquoise.

Q. What is your favorite food?

A. Anything made with cheese: lasagna, pizza, grilled cheese sandwich, feta cheese omelet, cheese cake, etc.

Q. Do you have any pets? What are their names?

A. Despite my stories, I don't have a dog (THE LAW OF GRAVITY, ONE SMALL DOG), guinea pig (PEEWEE'S TALE), bird (THE HOT & COLD SUMMER, AMAZING MONTY)or a llama (A LLAMA IN THE FAMILY, LLAMA IN THE LIBRARY). However over the years I have owned several cats. Currently I own a large black male cat with green eyes. He is named Ollie.

Q. If you were an animal what would you like to be?

A. A duck so I could both swim and fly.

Q. If you could meet a story book character, who would it be?

A. Babar the Elephant. I've loved him since we were first introduced when I was a child.

Q. How old are you?

A.I'm too old to tell and too young to brag about my age.

Is there anything else that you'd like to find out about me?

Click and type in a question or comment

In what book can I find "the Imperfect Perfect Book Report" story?

how does rory flling change in the story the hot and cold summer

If you could be an animal instead of a person, which would you choose? I would choose to be a cat because they are playful, cuddly and they can be moody like me. Especially when they hiss. Sometimes I feel like hissing at my brother.

And I would chose to be a duck. See above for my reasons.

Dear Johanna Hurwitz,

I like your Elisa books, and I was wondering . . . where you like Elisa when you were younger?

No. I don't think I was like Elisa. She acts the way she does in reaction to many things that her older brother Russell does. She is also the middle child. Unlike Elisa, I was the oldest child in my family.

what point of view is your book Hurricane Elaine in ?

HURRICANE ELAINE is written from the point of view of Aldo's older sister Elaine. I wanted you to see Aldo from her point of view.

What is the title of the first book you wrote? How many pages did it have? How long did it take you to write it?

BUSYBODY NORA is the title of my first published book. It has 64 pages. It seemed to take my whole life until it was written and it drew on events from my life too.

Where do u live?

I have two different addresses: during the autumn, winter and spring, I live on Long Island in a community called Great Neck. I spend my summers in Wilmington, Vermont. I also live inside whatever story I am working on.

Dear johanna hurwitz
I am a student of class 520 and I want to know if Rory and derek become good friends with Bolivia?

At first Rory intensely dislikes Bolivia. Derek tends to listen to Rory and act accordingly. However, in time, both boys come to like Bolivia and they are sorry when she has to leave town.

do you like your job as a writer? and do you still write books for kids my age like 10 and 9 even if your that old

I love my work. If I didn't, I would do something else. And yes indeed. I write books for 9 and 10 year olds because even though I am so old, I can remember what it felt like when I was a kid.

what are your hobbies?

I love to spend time browsing in second hand bookstores. I never know what I might find but almost always there is an old, out-of-print book that I never heard of that strikes my interest. It was discovering a British book called MR. FOTHERGILL'S PLOT which was published in 1931 (years before I was born!) that gave me the inspiration to create BIRTHDAY SUPRISES and I FOOLED YOU.

Other hobbies are knitting, baking, picking wild berries in the summer and then making my own jam (so I can spread a bit of summer on my toast in the middle of the winter), following baseball, playing with my grandchildren, traveling, writing paper letters and keeping in touch with old friends (I have four friends who I've known since first grade), etc.

What are important events and people in your life?

My marriage and my husband Uri; the birth of my children Nomi and Beni; the publication of my first book which was the start of my writing career, the birth of my grandchildren Ethan, Juliet and Fiona and lots more.

Are you working with the Hartford Children's Theater?

Yes. I've written a play version of CLASS CLOWN which is tentatively scheduled for production March 11-20, 2011 at the Hartford Children's Theatre. It's an exciting venture and I can't wait to see my characters on stage.

Who are the main characters of The Hot and Cold Winter?

The main characters in THE HOT & COLD SUMMER are Rory, Derek and Bolivia. They are also in three other books: THE COLD & HOT WINTER, THE UP & DOWN SPRING, and THE DOWN & UP FALL.

I'm a fourth grade teacher. We're currently doing an excerpt from teachers pet - the imperfect/ perfect book report.
my students want to know what made you include this chapter in your book? what were you thinking when you wrote this section? was there any particular indecent that inspired the chapter? (a story you heard, or something that happened to you?)

This chapter grew out of the memory of always making posters and charts on oaktag paper when I was in elementary school. Because I was very neat, and had good handwriting teachers probably thought I was brighter than I actually was. Cricket is blowing up her book report by making an unnecessary cover for it.

how old are you NOW? also how old is this website?

This website was "born" in November 2009. I was born in 1937. Do the math and you can figure out how old I am.

Selected Works

Short stories
A collection of stories all based on the same premise of someone playing a trick on someone else.
Here is a new book about first grader Montgomery Gerald Morris, known to all as Monty. Recently a boy asked me if I wrote any books of magic. I said "no" because no one becomes invisible, is able to fly, or walk through walls in my books. Even Magical Monty is just about a boy who is given a magic set and learns to master simple tricks which fool the eye. It isn't really magic. And then I realized that my answer should be "yes". Nowadays many of the books that I wrote and which were published in the traditional book format have become available as ebooks. That means there is no book to hold, no pages to turn, no volume to place on a shelf. Ebooks are electronic copies of printed material, complete with the original pictures. These ebooks can be read on a Kindle or Nook or by using some other sort of electronic device. When you are not reading them, they are stored on a cloud. Isn't that magic? So if you can't find a particular book of mine in a library or bookstore, check to see if it's available as an ebook. It's a new way of reading!

Quick Links