The inspiration for this page comes from the amazing students at the Bradbury School in Hong Kong. DSC_0971So in their honor, here’s a place where you can ask me whatever you want and I’ll answer as soon as I can! Thanks, Bradbury students, for all your marvelous  enthusiasm! xxoo

P.S. Questions may be posted in English, Chinese or Italian, and replies will be made in kind. Correct grammar, spelling, sentence structure and word choice not guaranteed.

111 thoughts on “Q&A

  1. Pingback: Styling Librarian Hong Kong Update Week 38 | The Styling Librarian

    • Hi Aidan! Thanks for asking. I have two favorite books that I love equally and re-read nearly every year. CHARLOTTE’S WEB by E.B. White, and TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD by Harper Lee. Everything that is said in these books is still true today. In light of the recent Trayvon Martin travesty, I would highly recommend Harper Lee’s work. You will see that the truth of that book still holds true — that there is NO JUSTICE for the black man in American society.


    • Hi Gabe, He doesn’t hate school, it’s just a scary place for him. Anything can happen in school, everything’s unpredictable, and it’s hard making friends. It’s a place of many anxieties for him.

      I became an author because I have no other talents.

      Thanks for stopping by!


  2. At first I thought it was going to be really boring, but when i started to get into the book it was great. Alvin is such a funny,exiting and awesome character! You never know what he’s going to do and how he’s going to do it. ps Do you recommend any Fun books?


    • Hi Finn, Thanks so much for loving Alvin! You’re right about Alvin being unpredictable. He’s very much afraid of the unpredictable, but he himself is the most unpredictable of all 🙂 ! As for fun books, I love Mark Twain. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (hey, that’s your name!) is full of mischief and hilarious. And anything by Roald Dahl is fun. The Nicholas books by Rene Goscinny are fun, and were a real inspiration to me when I started writing Alvin. Try some fun poetry too, such as Parents Keep Out, elderly poems for youngerly readers by Ogden Nash, and anything by the Canadian poet JonArno Larson. Enjoy!


  3. Dear Lenore,
    I love reading your books. What I read so far is Alvin Ho who is allergic to school, substitute teachers and girls. My question is why did you come up with an idea on being an author?

    I also have another question for you. Was Alvin made up or was he a person that you had in mind?

    Can you recommend any books to me so then maybe I can read them?



    • Dear Sam,

      Thanks for reading my books and for letting me know that you love them. That means more to me than you know.

      I became an author because I have no other talent. It’s the truth. Well, actually, I can park a car really well, but I can never find the keys … now that’s a real problem if you want to be a car parker.

      Alvin is made up. But parts of him came from different boys I know when they were Alvin’s age.

      As for book recommendations, have you tried my Ruby Lu books? They are not “girl” books, I assure you. She’s the opposite of Alvin, and just as funny. I wrote her before writing Alvin. Please see my above reply to Finn for more book recs.

      Thanks again for writing to me!


  4. Dear Lenore,
    I liked reading your books. I thought that they were pretty interesting but how many Alvin Ho books have you wrote? Also, do you enjoy enjoy writing these books? How long have you been an author?

    From, Kento.


    • Dear Kento,
      Thanks for liking my books! I’ve written six Alvin books, the last of which will be released next year (2014). You’re the first to know that the Alvin series is coming to an end. He’s kept me LOL since 2006, when he first started telling me about his scary adventures. It’s been super-duper fun to write about him, but now it’s time for me to move on and write something new.

      I’ve been an author since I was six. My first published book came out 31 years later.


  5. Hey, remember when Anabell said, “You may be Hansel, but I’m no Gretel.” Well, is Flea going to be Gretel? if not, that might be a good advice for a new Alvin Ho. Why not? Anyhow, I liked the book. I loved how you did some detail. Well, I’ve only read the first Alvin Ho. This is my teacher’s email.


    • Hey Nick,
      Thanks for stopping by and telling me you like the details in my books :). I’m so glad you noticed that there are details! And thanks too for the advice. I hope you read more Alvin books since you’ve only read the first. My favorite is Allergic to Dead Bodies. It’s also the scariest. So don’t read it in the dark. I hope you get your own email when you’re older so that your friends won’t think they’re busted when they see an email in their inbox from your teacher when it’s actually from you. Hey, wait, that sounds like a good prank . . . I mean it sounds like something I could use in an Alvin book ;).


      • Yes I like it. Alvin Ho is funny. Who is allergic to schools and girls? That would be weird! I’m not allergic to school or girls because I like school and I am a girl. Why would I be allergic?

        Emily S.


  6. Dear Lenore Look,

    We are the students of 3ren at Hong Kong Academy.

    We recently got to know Ruby Lu and Alvin Ho and your beautiful picture book Brush of the Gods. We enjoy all of your books – the way you make them really funny; the illustrators you work with and who give really good illustrations to both your chapter and picture books; how you catch the reader’s attention and make the reader want to read more and more; and how your stories describes so well how kids really feel. Most of all we enjoy that you write like you would talk to us and include many descriptive and funny words.

    While we learned a lot about you from your books and blog, we still have some questions and hope you have time to answer them for us:

    Where are you from?
    (We know you live in the United States but we think you have connections to Hong Kong and China because of the Cantonese words in your books.)

    Why do you like writing?

    What made you want to become an author?
    (We saw that you wrote to a student that you became an author because you have no other talents. Is this the only reason – because you are good at writing?)

    What is your favorite book that you have written?

    What do you do in your spare time?

    Do you have children?
    (On your blog there is a picture of you and a small child but we are not sure whether it is your child.)

    Do you like animals?

    From the amazing 3ren students at Hong Kong Academy

    (P.S. We wrote this together but are posting it through our librarian’s email.)


    • Hello Ms. Tanja and her amazing 3ren readers at Hong Kong Academy!

      Thanks so much for stopping by, and for reading my books! And thanks for the mention and photos on your website too! I didn’t know whether to post my answers here or there … so I’ll start here. Your questions are fantastic! Without further ado, here are my answers:

      I’m from Seattle, WA. My parents, grandparents and great-grandparents all emigrated to the U.S. from China’s Guangdong province. You can read about my first visit ever to my dad’s ancestral village in an essay entitled, “Facing the Village,” in the anthology, BEST AMERICAN ESSAYS 2001, published by Houghton Mifflin. My parents speak only Chinese to one another and to their children, so Toisanese, which is the country-cousin version of Cantonese, was my first language. I also understand Cantonese, which is more widely used, so I use it in my books.

      I like writing because it’s the only thing I do in which I don’t feel like I should be doing something else.

      I became an author because I truly have no other talent (that people would pay me money to do). Well, except now, they do pay me to visit schools to say that I have no other talent :). I made 25-cents a copy when I published and sold my own books in the first grade. Then I got my first real paycheck (still un-cashed because it’s a holy relic now) in high school when I won an essay contest. Then I won another one, with a college scholarship and a free trip to Williamsburg and Washington, D.C.. By then I was hooked! I gave up my dream of becoming a concert pianist and Bolshoi ballerina.

      It’s really hard to choose a favorite book among all those that I’ve written. It’s like asking a mother to choose among her children. They’re all my favorites. Each one is a gift of heart and soul, and is the result of many, many, many days of my life.

      When you’re an author, you don’t have much spare time, per se. You’re always working! I’m always reading or writing. If I’m not actually writing, I’m thinking of writing, and I’m constantly looking for inspiration and putting it in my writer’s notebook. But when I’m finished with a book, and all my speaking engagements are done for the year, I do like to TRAVEL before I start my next book. Travel makes me think differently. It changes me. It gives me different eyes. And different languages to learn. It makes me accept kindnesses from total strangers. As Mark Twain said, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”

      I have two daughters, but the little girl in the photo with me is my cousin Ella, who was born on my birthday four years ago. So I’m Elle (sounds like L) and she’s Ella, we are BBF (Birthday Buddies Forever).

      I love animals! I was born in the Year of the Tiger, I’m a Princeton tiger, and I have many tiger characteristics. Roaaaar! Do tigers love other animals? Yes they do 🙂 ! Do other animals love tigers? Not so much 😦 !

      Hope this helps!


      • Dear Ms. Look,

        Thank you so much for your quick reply and all the detail with which you answered our questions. Our students are currently on break and not all will be able to check the blog. But I know once we resume school early January, there will be so much excitement about your replies – and many more comments and questions will come your way. (And I better have more of your books in our library for check out 🙂

        Thanks again! You are truly an amazing author!

        Kind regards,


  7. Dear Ms. Look,

    We are Grade 3ai from Hong Kong Academy. We have been learning all about you and your books. We really enjoy your books and think they’re hilarious, especially Alvin Ho and Ruby Lu.

    We were still wondering a few things like…..

    Do you write nonfiction books?

    What did you do before you became an author?

    Did you like school when you were young?

    Do you have any kids? Do you like kids?

    Is one of your family members called Ruby?

    Do you like to write about kids in China?

    Where are you from?

    Do you have any siblings?

    We hope you can answer our questions. Have a rocking nice day!

    The 3ai students at Hong Kong Academy

    (P.S. This is the other grade 3 class. We also wrote this together as a class with our librarians Ms. Phyllis & Ms. Tanja and they post it or us.)


    • Hello Amazing Readers from 3ai at HK Academy!

      You guys have been busy! It must have been great fun to come up with so many amazing questions. I wish I could have been there! Anyway, thanks so much for reading my books and for your interest in me. Here are my answers:

      I haven’t written a non-fiction book yet, but I hope to! Although my books are fictional stories, they contain non-fiction details. Each Alvin and Ruby book, and each picture book, has been heavily researched and all the little details that I include are factually and historically accurate. For example, Johnny Astro is a real toy. Dryer lint is the fastest way to start a fire. You can’t go directly home from a Chinese funeral. It is often foggy on 20th Ave. S., and slugs do live on the sidewalk there. Chinese Sign Language is very different from American Sign Language. And on and on. Good fiction does not lie.

      I was a lifeguard, swim instructor and water polo player during my four years in college. Princeton had (and probably still has) a swimming requirement. You have to survive a minute in the deep end without drowning in order to graduate. I don’t remember how I got the job, but somehow it fell to me to give the freshman swimming test, fish out the non-swimmers, and sign them up for lessons, which I then gave. I’m little, but I’m a shark 🙂 ! I also worked as a lifeguard at Seattle public pools during my college summers, and can proudly tell you that I actually jumped in and did everything I was trained to do when someone started drowning in front of me. It happened twice. I saved two lives. Now you know why I have a swimming scene in RUBY LU.

      I liked school very much when I was little. Everyday was a new adventure and I would pop out of bed just like Alvin. Little did I know that I struggled in school — both academically and socially. When I do an author visit, I like to show a very dismal report card that I got — all my troubles were spelled out — but were unbeknownst to me at the time, and probably to my parents as well, because they didn’t speak/read much English. Who knew? All I knew was that I loved school and thought everyone there was terrific!

      I have two grown daughters 🙂 🙂 . I LOVE kids, can’t you tell from my books?

      I am not related to any Rubys. I just like the name. Sounds like a exuberant girl full of joie de vivre.

      I would love to write about kids in China. In fact, for my next project, I’m thinking of spending a year in China to research a book that I want to do, set in 13th Century Song dynasty in the city of Hangzhou. I’m sure that the kids I meet there will inspire me in so many unexpected ways.

      I’m from Seattle, Washington. My paternal great-grandfather settled there when the earth was still cooling. My entire family still lives there.

      I have two younger brothers 😦 😦

      It was great fun to answer your questions 😀 ! I hope you enjoy my answers! If you have any follow-up questions, please feel free to send them along. Happy Holidays to you!!! xxoo


      • Dear Ms. Look,

        Thanks again for another long and detailed reply to our many questions. I know students will love reading the answers once they return from our December break. Hearing from you will make reading your books even more special for all of us.

        With best wishes for a happy holiday season and a wonderful start into the year 2014,



  8. Dear Mrs. Look,

    Thank you so much for writing to us and for answering all of our questions! We know so much more about you now. We love you and your books! 🙂

    You are an inspiration to us.

    We would love it if you could come to visit us in Hong Kong when you spend the year in China to research your next book. Please let us know when/if you can come. We have many more questions, for example about your new book.

    See you soon.
    Students, teachers and librarians of HKA G3


  9. Dear Lenore Look,

    I just finished reading Alvin Ho Allergic to Girls, School, and Other Scary Things. I really liked this book and laughed a lot. I think you are great at describing Alvin and other characters. I also liked the pictures, they help me imagine better. I think Alvin’s PDK was cool. The survive ideas seem very helpful. I’m going to make a PDK for things that scare me. How did you come up with Jonny Astro? I’m excited to read another Alvin Ho book.

    Tanner N


    • Hi Tanner,

      Thanks so much for stopping by and for letting me know you enjoyed Alvin! It’s great that you’re going to make your own PDK. I always carry one with me when I go to Chinese school on Saturdays. In it are a couple of snacks, my magic SB coffee mug (thanks to Aidan, Joey & Brennan who gifted it to me :)), my pack of color pens, my notebook and a roll of toilet paper. I want to carry my blankie too, but I think it would freak out my teacher and classmates to see me carry that, so I leave it at home.

      Johnny Astro is a real toy. I read about it in the NYTimes, then did some research on it. I don’t own one; it’s a collector’s item these days, and you can find them selling for a lot of money on the internet.


  10. Dear Lenore Look,

    I read your book Ruby Lu Star of the Show. I think this book is very entertaining. It’s very sad when Ruby’s dad loses his job. Ruby’s mom gets a job, which is good because the Lu family can make money. I like how Ruby Lu faces many problems. She thinks tutoring costs $300! She was happy to find out it was free. I also like how Elvis’s real name is Thunder. I think that Ruby and Flying Duck’s costumes for Halloween were awesome because they made a good pair! Have you written any other book series? I give this book six out of five stars! I really loved this book!

    Danny P.


    • Hi Danny!

      Thanks so much for reading and loving RUBY LU! Wow! Thanks for giving it SIX out of five stars!!! Yes, it is very sad that Ruby’s dad loses his job. Lots of kids’ moms and dads lost their jobs in recent years, and many are still without jobs. When I was little, my dad had lost his job making airplanes for Boeing. It was a very scary time. He used food stamps to buy groceries for us. We had no money for new clothes or new shoes. I remember wearing a hole in my shoe.

      I’ve written one other series, ALVIN HO. He’s the opposite of Ruby. I think you will like him too. Check it out, and let me know!


  11. 麗娜!很抱歉!我掉了你的EMAIL ADDRESS!我只能从GOOGLE里找你!才发现!你是那么的有名!非常了不起!虽然我还没有开始读你的书(我最近有一个很重要的考试,暂时没时间看你的书),但是我不会忘记给你写BOOK REPORT! (读后感!)我有写了我的名字和EMAIL ADDRESS,希望你和我发EMAIL.


  12. Pingback: {book} ruby’s magic madness | omphaloskepsis

  13. My son loves the Alvin Ho series. I sent you a Twitter picture of the cost him he made for favorite book character day he decided he wanted to be Fircracker Man! He actually met you a couple of years ago at a Random House event in Westminster Maryland. He drew a great picture of Firecraker Man. Thank you for writing awesome stories that our family enjoys.


    • Hi Kat, Thanks so much for stopping by. And thank you for coming out to meet me at the event in Westminster. Visiting the Random House warehouse and meeting all the avid readers there remains a highlight for me. I’m so happy to know that your son wanted to be Firecracker Man! When you get a chance, would you mind sending me that picture of him again? I’d love to re-tweet it. Thanks again!


  14. Dear Lenore Look,

    I read Alvin Ho Allergic to Birthday Parties, Science Projects, and Other Man-Made Catastrophes. I thought it was funny when Alvin wished for a costume because most kids ask for toys. I liked when he thought his life was going to the girls and he kept saying you’ll be sitting with the girls every day. I also like how you always put funny things on the cover of the book like this one. Does Alvin like to write stories because in a lot of your Alvin Ho books, he writes how to survive things like a girl’s party? Where does Alvin live? Is this story based on a real person or true story? Are you ever going to make a book when Alvin has to do a science project? Alvin Ho was funny. Good luck with your next book.



    • Dear Tommy,

      Thank you for stopping by, and for letting me know how much you liked Alvin. It means a lot to me. Alvin does like to write stories . . . these stories, in a sense, are written by him — it’s in the first-person :). And he loves making lists because that’s what I like to do. My writer’s notebook is full of lists! Alvin lives in Concord, MA. He mentions it in every book because it’s a “creepy little town where famous dead authors are still in their homes leading tours.” The story is all made up though everything in it was inspired by something I saw or read. For example, Johnny Astro is a toy I read about in the newspaper.Rube Goldberg devices have always fascinated me. Alvin’s personality quirks are inspired too — a friend’s son couldn’t talk in school, and another friend’s son used sticks to dig in his yard. Flea’s eye patch was mine — I wore an eye patch for awhile after I accidentally caught a frisbee with my eye and had to have surgery. When I run out of ideas, I go and do research to dig up more stuff to use! You’ll see the stuff I dug up about China in my next Alvin book, Allergic to the Great Wall. It’ll be out Aug. 5, 2014. Thanks again for writing me and for all your good wishes! Keep reading and writing!

      Your friend,


    • Hi Crystal, Thanks for letting me know that your friend’s son is doing a book report on one of my books :). Normally, I wouldn’t think twice about telling you my birthday, but unfortunately it’s one of those pieces of information that identity thieves use. I’ve already had my identity stolen once, so I’m loathed to have it happen again. I hope you understand. If it’s at all helpful — I was born in Seattle.


  15. Hi Lenore!!
    My friend Crystal sent you a message regarding my sons’ book project on your Alvin Ho series. Thank you so much for replying we looked for your information for hours lol and we understand and respect your choice it’s very easy especially now with all this technology to get our information in the wrong hands.
    I was wondering if maybe you could send a reply to my son David telling him a few facts that he could use in his project tomorrow about you and about the series anything you would like to share would be great! He will be very excited. I will also love to send you a picture tomorrow of him with his poster board and all 🙂
    Thanks again for everything. It’s so great to see people taking the time to read fan message/feedback and actually replying.
    Have a fabulous day!


    • Hi Jessica! Okay, I will make a special post for David later today. If you subscribe to my blog or twitter account, you will get a notice when it’s up. I hope it’ll be in time for him to add it to his poster board before he makes a run for his bus in the morning ;)!!! I’ll be very excited to receive a picture of him — I’d love to add it to my post with your permission :). Many thanks for his and your enthusiasm!!! xxoo


      • Awesome!!! He is going to be out of his mind excited!! lol I am following your blog now but I don’t have a Twitter account or else I would follow that too =) Thanks again for replying and I am perfectly fine if you would like to use the the picture for your post. Take care and talk to you soon! Blessings!


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  17. Dear Lenore Look,

    Over the past couple of weeks, another group of third graders at Hong Kong Academy have discovered and enjoyed your wonderful books. We shared several read-alouds (chapters from Alvin Ho and Ruby Lu as well as the picture books Brush of the Gods and Love as Strong as Ginger), talked about the characters and themes in the books and explored your blog. We found answers to some of our questions but are left with many more wonderings. We know our list of questions below is long but we hope you will find time over the next couple of weeks to share some answers with us. We would love to learn more about you.

    Thank you!

    With best wishes for the festive season and the new year
    From your G3 friends, their teachers and librarians at HKA

    General Questions …
    Are you creative like the characters in your books?
    On your blog we saw that you added two sad faces behind a statement that you have two brothers – why?
    Who are your author friends? Grace Lin? Ying Chang Compestine?
    What is your favorite movie? Which of your books would you like to turn into movie – if any?
    Did you have many friends in school?
    Were you a superhero in school (like Alvin)?
    Do you like playing with words? (We wondered about that after seeing the word globby bloogie.)

    Questions about being an author…
    What interested you in becoming an author and writer?
    (We saw that you said you became an author because you have no other talents. But what gave you the idea in the first place to try out writing?)
    What is the best part of being an author?
    Do you ever get bored of writing and feel you might want to do something else?
    Have you ever failed at writing a story?

    Questions about the books…
    Is there a reason that all your books connect to China? (Is it because that’s where your parents, grand-parents and great-grandparents came from?)
    Which book are you most proud of?
    Is there a theme with which you try to connect all your books?
    How long does it take you to write a book?

    Questions about the characters in the books…
    Do you know someone like Ruby or Alvin? Maybe your daughters? Did real people inspire Alvin and Ruby?
    Do you like magic – or any of the other things Ruby and Alvin like to do?
    Do you also create cartoon characters too, especially for Alvin Ho and Ruby Lu (like having a comic)?
    Who is your favorite character in your books?


  18. Hi Lenore,
    We are so excited that you are coming to Memorial School in February! We just read Ruby Lu Empress of Everything, and think Ruby Lu is a great character! Interesting and complicated. See you soon!
    Mrs. Creste
    Memorial School


    • Hi Mrs Creste,

      Wow, thanks for letting me know! I can’t wait to come to Memorial and meet all your fantastic readers!!! We’re going to have a super-duper day together!

      xxoo, Lenore


  19. I go to Memorial School and I heard you were coming for an author visit. I can’t wait! Did you know we have this chair that every author signs when they come? I think you’re the third one to sign it!


    • Hi Esha!

      Thanks for writing me! I already feel so welcome to Memorial School that I feel like I’m there! Can’t wait to meet you and sign that chair! I’ll have to tell my author friends about it so that they can get in line! See you next week! xxoo


  20. Dear Lenore,
    I go to Memorial School. I can’t wait for you to come to Memorial School! I love the Alvin Ho books! If you write about Alvin having a P.D.K, do you have one?


    • Dear Cailin,

      Memorial School must be a super-duper fantastic place because I’m getting the warmest welcome BEFORE I even set foot in your parking lot. I mean I’m not even rolling up Route 17 yet!

      Thank you for your email! I DO have a PDK. Fourth graders at the FACTS school in Philadelphia made me one for author day. You can read about it in a post dated December 2014. Before that, my PDK was disguised as my CAR. In it, I have all that I need to survive for a few hours away from home: sunscreen, hat, passport & foreign money (you never know), rope, rock-climbing shoes, diving equipment, water-proof matches, candle, band-aids, mosquito netting, malaria pills, oxygen, flashlight, torch, cheese knife. The problem with packing your car as your PDK, is that it’d never make it through airport security.

      See you next week! xxoxox


  21. Hi Lenore,
    I’m so EXCITED!! That you are coming to my school on February 26! I go to Memorial School and I’m in 2nd grade! I love all your books including Alvin Ho. I bought some of your books and can’t wait to see it autographed!


    • Hi Tricia,

      Wow, Memorial School must be a magical place. You’re the first and only second-grader that can spell “autographed.” Wow! Good for you!!! I can’t wait to meet you and give you a big hug!!! You’re super-duper! I hope your school adopts me!!! Hint! Hint!



  22. Dear Ms. Lenore Look, Greetings from Sharjah Book Authority. SBA is the organizer of world’s fourth largest book fair Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF). We are very much interested in your work as an award-winning author of children’s books and would like to invite you as our honorable guest for 2016 edition of Sharjah Children Reading Festival (SCRF) which will be held from 20th to 30th April.
    Could you please advise the best way to be in touch with you to send the formal invitation.
    Eagerly awaiting your reply. Thanks.


  23. Hi there!

    One of our third grade classes is absolutely obsessed with your Alvin Ho series! We were wondering if you would be available for a Skype visit since we are located in NW Iowa. Please let me know, as we currently can’t keep your books on our library shelves!

    -Natasha Adams
    District Teacher-Librarian
    East Sac County Schools


  24. Hi Lenore. I just wanted to thank you for your books. I’m the mom of a 9 year old girl who has a severe anxiety disorder called selective mutism. What it means is that she isn’t able to speak in certain situations–including to her friends at school, a lot like Alvin. I really can’t tell you how much it has meant to me and to my daughter to discover a series of books about a kid who struggles with anxiety–especially because the books aren’t all about that–they’re just about Alvin’s awesome adventures, and his anxiety is just one thing about him. Also, the books are hilarious. I’ve been recommending them to people on selective mutism message boards, as well as to all our friends. As I’m sure you know, it’s such a powerful thing for a kid to see themselves reflected in a book. So, thank you thank you thank you, from the bottom of my heart. 🙂


    • Hi Anna, Thank you for writing me and letting me know how much you and your daughter have enjoyed Alvin. It means more than you know, to hear that my work has helped your daughter in some way, and brought some chuckles to her too! Thank you for recommending them to your friends. There’s nothing more powerful than a personal sell on a book from a mom!!! Thank you again!!!! XXOXOX


    • Dear Liza, Thank you for your very good questions. Well, I can’t make a seventh Alvin book because my publisher has ended the series. But IF I WERE to make a seventh one, I think that I would very much like to move the Ho family to another city, and have Alvin explore all the scary things of moving away, facing a new school, making new friends (maybe even — gasp!– with a few girls), learn the scary history of his new surroundings, maybe struggle with a scary foreign language, and meet new, dead historical figures who are still in their homes leading tours. You know, facing the same fears in a new place. He just can’t get away. Poor Alvin!


    • Hello Mrs. Serafini’s Class! After writing the Ruby Lu series, my editor asked me for a “boy book.” I don’t have sons, and don’t normally hang out with boys, so I had to do two years of “boy research,” which meant following the sons of my friends around. I went to skate parks, Little League practice, hockey practice, and to dig holes in a backyard. I even learned kung fu! I took lots of notes in my writer’s notebook, and I used practically everything I saw. One of the boys suffered from selective mutism, and when I saw how much he struggled to speak in school, I knew I wanted to give him a voice by giving Alvin the same struggle. I then had to do a lot of research on selective mutism and social performance anxiety disorder. I met experts and asked a lot of questions to get it right. I also spent years traveling to Concord, MA, to learn my way around town so that I could describe the birthplace of the American Revolutionary War with accurate detail. I found a ton of interesting facts about the town’s history and the people who lived there, in the William Monroe Special Collections at the Concord Public Free Library. My Alvin books are filled with the stuff that I found among the rare manuscripts, but I have enough material for several other books, unrelated to Alvin. See what happens when you spend time at the library? It’s fantastic!!! Thanks again for your great question!


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