Growing up in a family of writers, it’s no surprise that Katy Kelly became one herself. Born and bred in Washington, D.C., Katy’s writing career began in journalism, working for People, USA Today, and U.S. News & World Report, where she is now a Senior Editor. A few years ago, Katy branched out into writing children’s books – and we’re tickled “to pieces and bits” that she did!
Her laugh-out-loud Lucy Rose series is not only critically acclaimed; the first (The Thing About Me) was recently adapted into a play! When she’s not busy writing about her spunky heroine (or working on the upcoming spinoff, featuring Lucy Rose’s friend, Melonhead), Katy enjoys spending time with her husband and two daughters, and thinking up new palindromes.
Nine-year-old Melonhead, a character in Kelly’s “Lucy Rose” series, is one of those kids who acts first, then thinks. He routinely alternates between being a hero and being a blundering fool. He and his friend Sam are determined to win the Reinvention Contest at school. Unfortunately, their repeated efforts not only fail, they often cause calamities like clogging up the tub with a form of Plaster of Paris. Melonhead and Sam have one misadventure after another as they move around their neighborhood–running across rooftops to get home on time, secretly keeping a snake they found (which of course gets on the loose in the house, as does a mouse purchased for the snake to eat). Scolded again and again by his parents for his lack of responsibility, Melonhead tries to adopt his dad’s mantra of looking at the big picture. That leads to combining all of his and Sam’s failed inventions into one clever albeit impractical reinvention, which wins Best of Show. Kelly writes in a breezy style with lots of dialogue, but the story begins to drag after a while and the boys’ contest victory makes the ending a bit too neat. Yet boys are likely to relate to Melonhead’s antics well and could enjoy this light, easy read. Illustrations were not seen. 2004, Delacorte, $12.95. Ages 8 to 12. Reviewer: Claudia Mills, Ph.D. (Children’s Literature).
Lucy Rose: Busy Like You Can’t Believe
Lucy Rose is back in all her glory in the third installment of her life adventures. Lucy Rose has entered fourth grade and has brought with her all the enthusiasm a fourth grader could possibly have. The thing about Lucy Rose is that she lives life to the fullest. Her two buddies, Melonhead and Jonique, are back as well and her least favorite friend, Ashley. In this story, Lucy Rose eavesdrops on a phone conversation and becomes convinced that her mother is starting to date. Lucy Rose gets all worked up until she sees that eavesdropping often gives you just part of the story, which is not always terrific. Along the way, there are lots of laughs and time well spent with an old familiar friend, Lucy Rose. 2006, Delacorte Press, $12.95. Ages 8 to 12. Reviewer: Joan Kindig, Ph.D. (Children’s Literature).
Lucy Rose: Working Myself to Pieces and Bits
This is the fourth in a series on nine-year-old Lucy Rose, a wiser than her years busy body who delights in being in the middle of everything. The main story centers on Lucy’s family friends, the McBees, who have just bought an old store to renovate into a bakery. They are limited in time and money, so neighborhood friends and family have chipped in to help. Meanwhile, Lucy has drama of her own at school with typical elementary aged jealousy and one-upmanship. The story is told in diary form by Lucy and is sometimes hard to follow, as a true 9-year-old’s thoughts and actions would be, but her take on life is humorous, generous, and loving as the story stresses doing the right thing, being a good friend, and the power of working together. Readers will get hooked on Lucy Rose and her wise cracking family. Occasional black and white illustrations add to the humor. 2007, Delacorte Press, $12.99. Ages 8 to 10. Reviewer: Meredith Kiger, Ph.D. (Children’s Literature).
For Katy’s school visits, she reads to the kids, talks about the process of writing books and her experience with writing in general, and then does opens it up for a Question and Answer session. With out-of-town students, she tells them a bit about the Washington, D.C. area as well.
The fees for Katy’s school visits are $500 for 1 session of 45-60 mins; $650 for 2 sessions; $750 for 3 sessions. She does as many as 120 kids at a time, but prefers 35-50. She will work with kids in the 2nd through 6th grade age range.
To learn more about Katy and her publications please visit www.randomhouse.com/kids/lucyrose/author.html.