Day 29: Meet the BBS – Gwendolyn Hooks

This is me, graduating from high school. I'm off to college to become a math teacher--my first passion. Years later, I discovered my second passion--writing for children.

WOW! I finished my first stint as a 28 Days Later blogger. After researching and emailing back and forth with five authors, I feel like I made lifelong friends.  Just reading about their accomplishments made me scurry back to my office and hit the laptop keys.

2011 was a great year for me. I had 10 early readers published, 11 if you count the Spanish translation of The Best Shoes. My Pet Club series of eight books was published by Stone Arch Books. They featured me on their website. I love writing early readers and kids seem to love reading them. I was ecstatic when a Lee Elementary teacher in Tulsa, Oklahoma told me “Thank you for writing books my second graders can read successfully.” That’s when I knew I had done a good job.

Because of my early readers, I was invited to the Humboldt County Authors Festival in Eureka, California last October. I had an amazing time visiting with students, sharing my writing life, and learning about theirs. I visited three schools and one had only eight students! An apple orchard surrounded the school. Students picked apples and the teachers baked a pie for me. I can still taste the warm apples and smell the cinnamon. Delicious!

So far this year, I’ve finished a picture book biography and have sent it out to find the perfect publisher. I have lots of ideas for other books I need to start researching. That reminds me that I need to head back to my office and laptop and start thinking about the next 28 Days Later.



HOOKS, Gwendolyn. Pet Costume Party. illus. by Mike Byrne. 32p. (Stone Arch Readers: The Pet Club Series). Stone Arch. 2011. PLB $21.32. ISBN 978-1-4342-2513-9; pap. $3.95. ISBN 978-1-4342-3053-9. LC number unavailable.
K-Gr 2–Andy and his pet goldfish are having a Halloween party and need costumes. They move through various choices but the fact that Nibbles can’t talk complicates matters. Ultimately, Andy does all of the brainstorming and the fish uses creative nonverbal methods to add her two cents. Throw in the bow on the top of her head and how she deadpans her displeasure, and Nibbles steals the show. Byrne’s vibrant cartoon drawings offer gentle humor to Hooks’s giggle-worthy story. Basic vocabulary combined with dialogue and slightly more complex sentence structures will help stretch beginning readers while keeping them engaged with the familiar. An excellent addition to most collections.–Sarah Townsend, Norfolk Public Library, VA

16 Responses to Day 29: Meet the BBS – Gwendolyn Hooks

  1. tadmack says:

    (I LOVE these pictures!!!) Ms. Hooks; full of bright-eyed enthusiasm for life, just launching out into the world from high school! And that enthusiasm just continues in so many of the early reader books that flow from the prolific keyboard of this author!

    I love reading about how working with children’s books can take writers places they never knew they would be. I think that’s another highlight of this month’s celebration. Thank you so much for each year inviting the rest of us along.

    • Gwendolyn Hooks says:

      You’re so right about “children’s books can take writers places they never knew they would be.” Both geographically and spiritually, I’ve travelled far beyond where I thought I’d be. Thank you, tadmack, for reading the posts so faithfully.

  2. Hannah says:

    Wow! Ten (11!) books published in ONE YEAR! That is AMAZING! And I’m sure your picture book biography will find the perfect home very soon. I can’t wait to read it!

  3. such a great year for you, gwen! i look forward to reading vivien’s story in the future! i love your high school picture. so cute.

  4. Susan says:

    Great interviews, Gwen. Love the pic… can totally tell you were destined to be a great writer:-)

    God bless,

  5. Gwendolyn Hooks says:

    Thanks, Hannah! I’ll be waiting in line for yours.

  6. says:

    Wow!!! Your so awesome! I love the older picture of you! All your books look so interesting!

  7. Sara says:

    You’re such an inspiration! Congrats on all your accomplishments!

  8. Jerrie says:

    Gwen, thank you so much for your contribution to the reading world. My grandchildren love your books, the stories are all truly inspireing. Your books are so clear and the kids understand it so well, I’m wondering if one day you would be inspired to write something on child hood sexual assualt. With the rise of sexual assualt and abuse against children, it really need to be explained in a way that children are not afraid but informed on how to detect it and how to tell. Thank you again for your awesome contribution and I wish you much success. Looking forward to meeting you in person one day.


    • Gwendolyn Hooks says:

      Give your grandchildren a hug from me. Keep them reading. And you keep reading the blog. I have a feeling that childhood sexual assault book is one from YOUR heart and is meant for YOU to write. Think about it.

  9. I love you spare, elegant language, Gwen. Nice Wheels is on my list of perfect books. Sharon

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