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Herman Parish was in the fourth grade when his aunt, Peggy Parish, wrote the first book about Amelia Bedelia. The lovable, literal-minded housekeeper has been a member of his family ever since. Peggy Parish died in 1988. She would be proud and delighted to know that her nephew is carrying on—for a new generation of readers—the tradition she began years ago. Herman has added fourteen books to the series, as well as several new picture books about the young Amelia Bedelia.



In true Amelia Bedelia fashion, I backed into writing these books about the literal-minded housekeeper who children laugh at and love.

Amelia Bedelia was created by my aunt, Peggy Parish. Although she passed away in 1988, Peggy still received fan mail from children. They wondered when the next Amelia Bedelia book would be out. Then other children’s authors wrote and volunteered to continue the series.

I felt uneasy about Amelia Bedelia leaving our family. As I was in the fourth grade when she first appeared, I had literally grown up with her. So I decided to try to write a new Amelia Bedelia adventure. My two sisters and my family were very supportive and encouraged me.

I’d had experience in writing advertisements. As 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 that more people don’t get confused—besides Amelia Bedelia!

My first book, Good Driving, Amelia Bedelia, took me a year to think about and one night to write. I had been collecting ideas, homonyms, and expressions. Whenever I heard them, I jotted them down: on napkins in restaurants, on my newspaper while riding the bus, and on agenda sheets in business meetings.

I stockpiled these fragments in a folder until one Sunday night, with my family asleep, I decided that it was now or never. I sat down around ten o’clock and began to write. I was so focused on the story that I finished as the sun came up on Monday morning. Naturally the story needed revision, but the essence was captured in that all-night writing spree.

I was fortunate that my first editor, Susan Hirschman, and the illustrator, Lynn Sweat, had worked with Peggy on many Amelia Bedelia books. That helped make the transition from Peggy’s books to mine as seamless as possible.

I feel very lucky to be writing Amelia Bedelia books and continuing a family tradition. But the best reward was when a child wrote Peggy Parish a fan letter. It said that Good Driving, Amelia Bedelia was the best book Peggy had written. That’s the highest compliment I could hope for.


Artwork © Lynn Sweat and Lynne Avril


Learn More About Peggy Parish
Learn More About Herman Parish
Interview with Herman Parish
Learn More About the Illustrators


Want Herman Parish to visit your school or library? Find out how!