The lovable, literal-minded Amelia Bedelia has been irresistible since she first arrived on our bookshelves fifty years ago. Amelia Bedelia really knows how to "dress" a chicken (in tiny clothes that fit just right). And when Amelia Bedelia is out driving, don't ask her to look for "a fork in the road!" Herman Parish has been writing fresh Amelia Bedelia stories since 1995, inventing new adventures for the beloved character his aunt, Peggy Parish, created all those years ago.
You can watch the interview below, view the interview transcript, read a short biography on Herman Parish, or see a selected list of his children's books. (This video is also available on YouTube and iTunes.)
Herman Parish was in the fourth grade when his aunt, Peggy Parish, wrote the first book about Amelia Bedelia — the beloved and very literal-minded housekeeper who has delighted children and adults for fifty years. Herman and Peggy had a close relationship, and he learned a great deal about writing and the character Amelia Bedelia by spending family summers with his aunt. After Peggy passed away in 1988, the family continued to receive fan mail from children who asked, "When can we read the next Amelia Bedelia book?" Having grown up with his aunt's tales of Amelia's humorous misadventures, Parish decided to carry on the legacy and published his first book, Good Driving, Amelia Bedelia, in 1995. Parish studied business at the University of Pennsylvania and left his career in advertising to take on this next generation of Amelia Bedelia stories. He spent a good deal of time analyzing his aunt's books before starting to write. In his own words:
"I'd had experience in writing advertisements. I reread the Amelia Bedelia stories to figure out what made them funny. I realized that everyday life overflows with idiomatic expressions, literalisms and homophones. It's amazing more people don't get confused — besides Amelia Bedelia!"
Parish has three children and is a resident of Princeton, New Jersey. He travels to libraries and schools across the U.S., speaking to young children about the adventures of Amelia Bedelia, the richness of the English language, and the importance of revising and editing in the writing process. He's written more than a dozen Amelia Bedelia stories, including a new series that shows us what Amelia was like as a young girl.
Visit the Amelia Bedelia website at HarperCollins Children's Books.