Celebrity Authors—October 21, 2011
There are many authors who write books for children for a living. However, there are a number of books in the children’s collection that were written by people who are better known for something other than being authors.
“Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters” by President Barack Obama is a picture book tribute to thirteen Americans and the ideals that have shaped America. Former president Jimmy Carter wrote “The Little Baby Snoogle-Fleejer,” which was illustrated by his daughter Amy Carter. Former first lady Laura Bush and her daughter Jenna Bush collaborated on “Read All About It!”, the story of a boy who doesn’t like reading and the teacher who changed his mind.
Sandra Day O’Connor, the first woman to serve on the United States Supreme Court, wrote “Chico,” an autobiographical story which tells of an important lesson she learned about taking care of herself and her horse and overcoming her fears. Journalist Katie Couric has written two picture books, “The Blue Ribbon Day” and “The Brand New Kid.” Garrison Keillor also has two picture books: “Cat, You Better Come Home” and “Daddy’s Girl,” which contains four songs he wrote for his daughter and a CD of Keillor singing the songs.
Actors who have written picture books for children include Billy Crystal, Will Smith, Julie Andrews, Jamie Lee Curtis, Jason Alexander and John Lithgow. Julie Andrews has also written several chapter books for older children under her married name of Julie Edwards. Henry Winkler authored a series of chapter books about Hank Zipzer, a young boy who is dyslexic. This is a subject that is dear to Winkler’s heart, as he himself suffers from dyslexia and was not diagnosed until he was an adult.
Some comedians have become authors of children’s books. Jerry Seinfeld wrote “Halloween,” a picture book that reads just like one of his comedy routines. “When I Grow Up” by Al Yankovic tells, in rhyme, the dreams of a young boy as he shares them at show-and-tell. Carl Reiner’s book “Tell Me a Scary Story…But Not Too Scary!” includes a CD with the author reading the story. And Jeff Foxworthy has written a collection of humorous poems entitled “Dirt on My Shirt.”
Some well-known musicians have also authored picture books. Dolly Parton turned “Coat of Many Colors,” her first best-selling song, into a book for children. The story is based on her own childhood in Tennessee. “Jag” by LeAnn Rimes tells the story of a young jaguar who is afraid of the water and worries that everyone will laugh at her when they have swimming lessons at school. Folk singer Pete Seeger tells the story of a giant in “Abiyoyo” and “Abiyoyo Returns,” and his lullaby “One Grain of Sand” became another picture book. Alan Jardine, an original founding member of the Beach Boys, created “Sloop John B: A Pirate’s Tale,” an adventure story based on the classic folk song, and this book also includes a CD of the song.
Athletes have also entered the literary field. Kristi Yamaguchi, ice-skating Olympic gold medalist, wrote “Dream Big, Little Pig,” the story of a young pig who wants to be a star of the rink. “Let George Do It” was written by two-time heavyweight boxing champ George Foreman, and “Shaq and the Beanstalk and Other Very Tall Tales” was written by NBA superstar Shaquille O’Neal. And NFL stars Tiki and Ronde Barber have collaborated on several picture books and chapter books about football, including “Teammates,” “Game Day,” and “Kickoff!”
Do celebrities make good authors? You be the judge! Look for these and other titles in the children’s department of the library.