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Kids' Q&A

Melissa Sweet

Describe your latest project.
My new book, Tupelo Rides the Rails, is about Tupelo, an abandoned dog, and her sock-toy Mr. Bones. She's in search of a home, and meets up with a pack of stray dogs and a train-riding hobo, Garbage Pail Tex.

  1. Tupelo Rides the Rails

    Tupelo Rides the Rails

    Melissa Sweet
    "Sweet's beautifully detailed packed with feeling and story." Booklist (starred review)

    "[A] winsome tale laced with doggy humor." Kirkus Reviews

  2. Carmine: A Little More Red
    $6.95 New Trade Paper add to wishlist
    "A fetching retelling of Little Red Riding Hood..." School Library Journal (starred review)
Describe your most memorable teacher.
Mrs. Blockburger, and I'm not making up her name. She encouraged me to draw, and she gave all of us in her 3rd grade class a golden book for Christmas. Mine was The Princess and the Pea, a fitting choice. I worried for years she would become broke and destitute buying books for all her students.

Offer a favorite sentence or passage from another writer.
"It's love," they say. You touch
the right one and a whole half of the universe
wakes up, a new half.

—William Stafford, "Choosing a Dog," from The Way It Is

What was your favorite story as a child?
Miss Flora McFlimsy's Easter Bonnet.

What do you do for relaxation?
That's something I have to practice more. We live in a great place to walk and a hike, and I love to bicycle. I watch Project Runway, and I read as much as I can.

What's your favorite holiday and why?
Halloween, no question. I love walking around town and seeing witches and ghouls as if were the most normal thing on the planet.

Tell us about your pets.
I'm glad you asked that question. We have three cats all vying for our attention, but it's our dogs, Rufus and Nellie, who have us at their beck and call. Both of them are shelter dogs; Rufus is a shepherd mix, and Nellie, a sheltie, is a rescue dog from New Orleans. I'd have about seven more dogs if my family would let me.

If you could pick anyone to illustrate one of your books, who would it be and why? Conversely, if you're an illustrator, for what author would you like to illustrate?
There is no way I could pick just one author, so here's a short list in no particular order: Calvin Trillin, Tina Fey, Adam Gopnik, Malcolm Gladwell, Jack Handey. These are not authors who typically write for children, but they all make me laugh and that's worth a lot.

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Melissa Sweet lives on the beautiful coast of Maine. In addition to writing and painting, she enjoys gardening, hiking, biking, and cross-country skiing. And even though Melissa is 357 dog years old, she still loves walking her two dogs, Rufus and Nelle. For more information about the author and her work, visit


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