Friday Fiction: Celebrities Write for Children

North Shore Books, North Muskegon, MI

Last week, I talked about how celebrities (actors, comedians, politicians, etc.) often try their hand at writing books (last week’s post). You can add the word “author” to the bios of Carrie Fisher, Steve Martin, William Shatner, and Pamela Anderson. Celeb novels range in quality, but I did make a point of saying that Fannie Flagg is a wonderful author and, in my opinion, only a so-so actress. So I guess she at least has found her calling. 

There are plenty of celebrities also writing children’s books!  Here a few I’ve found: 

Julie Andrews – The Broadway and screen star of such beloved tales as The Sound of Music, Mary Poppins, and Princess Diaries, Julie Andrews has authored children’s books for over thirty-five years, including some co-written with her daughter Emma Walton Hamilton. Titles include The Last of the Really Great Wangdoodles, the Dumpy the Dump Truck series, and Simeon’s Gift. 

Jamie Lee Curtis – Known for appearances in Halloween, True Lies, and Freaky Friday, she starred in one of my favorite films – A Fish Called Wanda. But she began writing children’s books when she told her own story of adopting a child in Tell Me Again About the Night I Was Born. Since then, she has written several others, including Today I Feel Silly & Other Moods that Make My Day and When I Was Little: A Four-Year-Old’s Memoir of Her Youth.

Sarah Ferguson – Ah, what’s a duchess to do with her spare time! Apparently, one option is to write children’s books. Thus, Sarah Ferguson, the spunky Duchess of York, has penned Tea for Ruby and the Little Red series. 

Whoopi Goldberg – Comedian, actress, and talk show host Whoopi Goldberg authored Alice back in 1992, an urban retelling of Alice in Wonderland. But she is better known for co-writing the series Sugar Plum Ballerinas with Deborah Underwood. 

Fred Gwynne – Yes, he was Herman Munster. But did you know that he had a role in On the Waterfront? In addition, before his death in 1993, Gwynne wrote and illustrated several children’s books, with wordplay titles such as The King Who Rained, A Chocolate Moose for Dinner, and A Little Pigeon Toad. 

John Lithgow – Known for television roles in Harry and the Hendersons and 3rd Rock from the Sun, Lithgow also launched a children’s music career in 1999. Then he authored several children’s books, including The Remarkable Farkle McBride and Micawber. 

Madonna – If you had told me back in the 1980’s when she was wearing lace bustiers and singing about her sexuality that Madonna would one day write children’s books, I would have called you crazy. But motherhood can alter your priorities. And so Madonna indeed authored the much-touted The English Roses which has spawned a series. 

Henry Winkler – Arthur Fonzarelli is now Author Winkler. Having experienced dyslexia firsthand, he has co-written a series of books with Lin Oliver about a dyslexic adolescent named Hank Zipzer. There are seventeen books in the series now. 

Of the ones listed above, I have only read a couple of Winkler’s Hank Zipzer series and a few from John Lithgow. However, I distinctively remember reading Marsupial Sue by Lithgow to my children when they were younger. 

Do you know of any other celebrities who have penned children’s books? Have you read any of the above? If so, what did you think? Once again, do you have an opinion on actresses, politicians, and other celebs writing books? Do you think it’s a good use of their creativity or a diabolical plot to keep the rest of us from getting published?

6 thoughts on “Friday Fiction: Celebrities Write for Children

  1. I own Jamie Lee Curtis' book about adoption and still read it sometimes to my 12-year-old adopted daughter. It is really a great book, funny, super illustrations and kinda silly. I introduced it to my daughter at an early age and she always knew she was adopted and loves that she has another "family" with sisters and a grandma and grandpa. Her birth parents (after 10 years of being apart) got married a few years back and we went to their wedding!Patti

  2. It's definitely a diabolical plot to keep the rest of us from being published. Seriously. If you were an agent or editor and you saw a proposal from little ole me and one from Madonna, which would you read? It is what it is… and I only mind because I'm jealous. ;-)Great post. I had no idea there were that many celebrity authors or that each had that many books. Very cool to know.

  3. I did not realize that Whoopi Goldberg was writing Children's Stories – I wonder if they emit her own brand of humor. :)Fun post, Julie!

  4. Will Smith (yes, the Fresh Prince) wrote a book called "Just the Two of Us" which I love! It's based on song lyrics from the old Bill Withers song of the same title. It's cute.

  5. I've heard Jamie Lee Curtis's book is great! I didn't know about Will Smith, but I like him overall; maybe I'll check his book out. Joy Behar wrote a kids book? Maybe she and Whoopi have the same agent. 😉

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