I never planned to be a children’s author, and I still funnel most of my energy toward writing for adults. But after Marley & Me came out in 2005 and began climbing the bestseller lists, I noticed an odd thing at my appearances around the country: Even though I had written the book for adults, large numbers of children were showing up at my signings, clutching copies of my book. Given its candid description of marital relations, I knew it was too old for them, and yet they were in love with the eternally misbehaving Marley and were begging their parents to let them read it. The moms and dads, of course, were shooting me those nervous “Thanks a lot” expressions parents can be so good at. So I decided to adapt the book for young readers in the 8-12 range. That resulted in “Marley: A Dog Like No Other,” which has gone on to become assigned reading in many elementary and middle schools around the country. (And to all you students who have written me letters, thank you so much! I read every one and really get a kick out of them.)
I also noticed younger kids coming to my signings, and so I joined up with a really great artist, Richard Cowdrey, to write an illustrated kids story: “Bad Dog, Marley!” That hit #1 on The New York Times’ children’s bestseller list and led to a second illustrated book: “A Very Marley Christmas,” which also went to #1.
Now Richard and I are back with a third illustrated book in what, mostly inadvertently, has turned into a series (book #4 is in the hopper and book #5 is under contract). The new book is called “Marley Goes To School,” and it hits bookstores July 7. Richard and I agree it’s our favorite of all the Marley kids books to date. It certainly was the one we both had the most fun with. A misbehaving pooch gets loose in a school with an uptight principal… Oh my, I can’t imagine what might go wrong!
If you want to hear more about the new book and my accidental journey into children’s writing, check out my podcast that I recently added to my website:
Or simply click “Media Clips” in the bar at the top of this page.
Meanwhile, my memoir The Longest Trip Home is preparing to come out in paperback in October. More on that as we get closer.