Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book


Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Mary Amato  

Pen Name: None

Genre: Youth

Born: 1961 in Belvidere, Illinois

Sites:

E-Mail:


Illinois Connection

Amato was born in Belvidere and grew up in Libertyville, Illinois.

Biographical and Professional Information

Mary Amato is the author of many acclaimed books for children including Please Write in this Book, which won the Maud Hart Lovelace Book Award as well as The Naked Mole-Rat Letters, which was nominated for six state awards, including the Rebecca Caudill Award in Illinois. A prolific songwriter, Mary also sings, plays the guitar, and teaches songwriting. Several of her books for young adults, including Guitar Notes, features original songs. Mary now lives in Maryland, but she returns to the Chicago area often and enjoys presenting and teaching. Her Skype sessions are also popular. You can visit her online at [http://www.maryamato.com www.maryamato.com] and learn more about writing your own music and the joy of thrumming at [http://www.thrumsociety.com www.thrumsociety.com].


Published Works Expand for more information


Titles At Your Library

The Word Eater
ISBN: 0823419401

Holiday House. 2005

Life is miserable for sixth-grader Lerner Chanse at her new school, where the MPOOE (Most Powerful Ones on Earth) Club ruthlessly rules over the SLUGs (Sorry Losers Under Ground). Then Lerner accidentally discovers that her pet worm Fip eats paper - with startling results...When he eats a label with the words "Mack's Thumbtacks", all Mack's thumbtacks instantly vanish and papers slip from bulletin boards everywhere! It seems that if Fip eats a word, that item simply disappears from the world - forever. Now that Lerner knows about Fip's magic, she has some extraordinary powers of her own - and some big decisions to make. Should she eliminate crime? Her mean neighbour Bobby Nitz's evil dog? Or simply wipe Cleveland Park Middle School off the face of the earth? Or will destroying anything cause effects that she can't imagine or predict? Lerner soon discovers that extraordinary power brings extraordinary responsibility - but will she learn her lesson in time?

Snarf Attack, Underfoodle, and the Secret of Life: The Riot Brothers Tell All
ISBN: 0823420620

Holiday House. 2007

Move over, Captain Underpants, a couple of new pranksters are in town. Narrated by fifth-grader Wilbur and featuring his third-grade brother, Orville, this hilarious story follows the antics of two boys with overactive imaginations and a comfortable sibling relationship. The action is divided into three “books,” with six chapters each. In the first, the brothers are determined to catch a crook. They make a windfall by giving lessons in being annoying to their classmates, are reprimanded by the principal (who is also their mother), and still manage to foil a bank robber on the way home from school. Next, while searching for treasure, they find a mysterious box in the closet. After they finally open it, they discover that the contents, although not worth money, are still valuable. The final installment has the duo building a catapult designed to overthrow a king and using it instead to defeat a bully. Full-colour illustrations

The Naked Mole-Rat Letters
ISBN: 0823420981

Holiday House. 2007

When her father begins a long-distance romance with a Washington, D.C. zookeeper, twelve-year-old Frankie sends fabricated e-mail letters to the zookeeper in an attempt to end the relationship in this story about family, friendship, and growing up.

Drooling and Dangerous: The Riot Brothers Return!
ISBN: 0823422046

Holiday House. 2009

Orville and Wilbur Riot have never been strangers to adventure, and according to Riot Brother Rule #15, You can't do the same mission twice. So now they're back with more games, more missions, and loads more fun. One day they are spies on the trail of dangerous criminals, the next they are movie stars in the making. But whether they're flinging insects while playing Bye-Bye Buggie or switching everything imaginable around for their [D]witch [S]ay, one thing is for sure: You'll never catch these brothers with nothing to do. After all, as the Riot Brothers say, A bad day is like bad breath. It just gets worse unless you do something about it.

Stinky and Successful: The Riot Brothers Never Stop
ISBN: 0823421961

Holiday House. 2009

Raved "The Washington Post", "If you liked "Captain Underpants", you should try "Snarf Attack", "Underfoodle", and "the Secret Life: The Riot Brothers Tell All," And just when you thought the Riot Brothers couldn't get any wackier or more hilarious, along comes the third book in the series, chock full of even more eye-popping, mouth-foaming missions, games, and sayings. Whether Orville and Wilbur are playing Sock Me a Story, trying to boil macaroni in their mouths, or pulling off the best April Fool's joke ever, one thing's for sure: they certainly will never be accused of being bored.

Please Write in This Book
ISBN: 0823421384

Holiday House. 2008

When a teacher leaves a blank book in the Writer’s Corner for her students to find, with the instructions “Please Write in this Book,” she hopes it will encourage her students to talk to one another in its pages. They do, and the result is an epic classroom battle.

The Chicken of the Family
ISBN: 0399241965

G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers. 2008

Henrietta?s two older sisters love to tease her. When they try to convince her that she?s actually a chicken instead of a little girl, it?s pretty hard to believe at first. But the evidence is all there: her legs are kind of yellow, and her toes are kind of long. The feathers she finds beside her bed the next morning settle it, and Henrietta heads off to the farm to find her real family.

The chickens welcome her with open wings, and this lovably gullible heroine?s joyful acceptance of who she really is will have readers squawking with laughter.

Invisible Lines
ISBN: 160684010X

EgmontUSA. 2009

If there’s one thing I’m good at it’s making people laugh because when I’m standing up I’m what you call a stand-up comedian, and when I’m sitting down, I’m just plain funny.



Trevor is just plain funny, and he’s lucky he is. Because this year he needs a sense of humor. Moving to a new home is hard enough—the sign reads hedley gardens, but everyone calls these projects deadly gardens. And the move to a fancy new school is even harder—all the kids from Deadly Gardens seem to be in the same classes and keep to themselves, but somehow Trevor’s ended up in an advanced science class with kids who seem to have everything, and know everything, including how to please their strange new teacher.

Someone else might just give up, but Trevor has plans. This is going to be his year.

And he is going to use whatever he has, do whatever it takes, to make it at this new school. He may not have what these other kids have, but Trevor knows he’s got some stuff to show. No one is better at juggling in soccer, and he knows he can draw—he calls himself the Graffiti Guy.

But Xander, a star in the classroom and on the soccer field, has other plans for Trevor. He doesn’t like anyone trespassing on his turf and begins to sabotage Trevor at every opportunity. Who is going to believe Trevor over the school star? Is there any way that Trevor can achieve his goals against a guy who is as good at bullying as he is at everything else he does?

Edgar Allan's Official Crime Investigation Notebook
ISBN: 0823422712

Holiday House. 2010

First Slurpy is fishnapped, then other things from Mrs. Blackwell's room start to disappear. Odder still, whoever is committing these crimes leaves a note written in poetry. Edgar has it all covered in his "crime investigation notebook"--but so does Patrick Chen, who has copied Edgar and is trying to solve the case first. Yet as Edgar keenly observes his surroundings, he notices many interesting things about his classmates. The more closely he watches two "suspects," the more he begins to think they might make pretty good friends. This warm and humorous story puts writing, friendship, and mystery into a short, accessible chapter book.

Take the Mummy and Run: The Riot Brothers Are on a Roll
ISBN: 0823422739

Holiday House. 2009

Orville and Wilbur Riot are back in the hilarious fourth book of the Riot Brothers adventures. Whether hunting for lost mummies or creating their own water park, there's never a dull moment. A companion to "Snarf Attack", "Underfoodle", and the "Secret of Life: The Riot Brothers Tell All"

"Drooling and Dangerous: The Riot Brothers Return!"

and "Stinky and Successful: The Riot Brothers Never Stop".

Guitar Notes
ISBN: 1606841246

EgmontUSA. 2012

A "sweet story of two different loners finding their counterpoint" (School Library Journal) from a star of state master and children's choice lists making her YA debut. Clean YA with the emotional resonancy of John Green and Sarah Dessen.

On odd days, Tripp Broody uses a school practice room to let loose on a borrowed guitar. Eyes closed, strumming that beat-up instrument, Tripp escapes to a world where only the music matters.

On even days, Lyla Marks uses the same practice room. To

Tripp, she’s trying to become even more perfect—she’s already

a straight-A student and an award-winning cellist. But when Lyla

begins leaving notes for him in between the strings of the guitar, his life intersects with hers in a way he never expected.



What starts as a series of snippy notes quickly blossoms

into the sharing of interests and secrets and dreams, and

the forging of a very unlikely friendship.

Challenging each other to write songs, they begin to connect, even though circumstances threaten to tear them apart.

From beloved author Mary Amato comes a YA novel

of wit and wisdom, both heartfelt and heart­breaking, about the power of music and the unexpected chords that draw us together.

Good Crooks Book One: Missing Monkey!
ISBN: 1606845098

EgmontUSA. 2014

A funny, silly new series perfect for fans of Dav Pilkey. Mary Amato is a star of state master and children's choice lists and returns to the age category of her popular Riot Brothers chapter book series with this new venture.



When their parents steal a monkey from the zoo to help them pick pockets, our heroes rush into action and return the wily animal using disguises, inventions, and old-fashioned shoe leather. They also learn what a monkey can do in 11 minutes: 1) Stick his fingers in your right nostril. 2) Lick your eyebrows, pick his teeth, and then wipe his finger on your shirt.



Giggles and guffaws will be the result of anyone reading Book One of Good Crooks.

Good Crooks Book Two: Dog Gone!
ISBN: 1606845101

EgmontUSA. 2014

A funny, silly new series perfect for fans of Dav Pilkey and Tony Abbott.

Mary Amato is a star of state master and children's choice lists and returns to the age category of her popular Riot Brothers chapter book series with this new venture.

When their parents steal a Hollywood star (a white poodle) to hold it for ransom, our young heroes leap into action. Too bad the spoiled star will not raise a paw to help.

Barks and howls will be the result of anyone reading Book Two of Good Crooks.

Good Crooks Book Three: Sniff a Skunk!
ISBN: 1606845993

EgmontUSA. 2015

A funny, silly series perfect for fans of Dav Pilkey, Tony Abbott, and Nancy Krulik. Mary Amato is a star of state master and children's choice lists and returns to the age category of her popular Riot Brothers chapter book series with this new venture.

Good Crooks Book Three: Sniff a Skunk! brings back our favorite pair of do-gooder crooks in a hilarious adventure about an odiferous encounter with a skunk.

The first two books in the series are Book-of-the-Month-Club selections.

Releases simultaneously in hardcover (ISBN 978-1-60684-598-1) and eBook (ISBN 978-1-60684-600-1) formats.

Praise for Good Crooks Book One: Missing Monkey!

"A new chapter-book series about do-gooder thieves...Scrappy song lyrics, energetic illustrations and plenty of potty humor keep the hilarity high for reluctant readers."--Kirkus Reviews

"...will have beginning readers eager for more chaotic misadventures from these well-meaning Crooks."--Publishers Weekly

Get Happy
ISBN: 151242627X

Carolrhoda Lab TM. 2016

Minerva has been raised by her single mother after her father left them. On her 17th birthday, she is shocked to discover that he has been trying to keep in touch, and that her mother has been sabotaging his attempts. Furious at her mom, Minerva begins to investigate her dad, a famous marine biologist, only to discover that he has a new family, including a beloved and perfect, stepdaughter—a girl Minerva already knows and despises.



As Minerva tries to build her songwriting career, jealousy takes over and threatens to derail her life completely. It is only through the efforts of her best friend, Fin, and the introduction of Hayes, a new young man in her life, that she is able to see clearly who she is and who makes up her family.

Our Teacher Is a Vampire and Other (Not) True Stories
ISBN: 0823435539

Holiday House. 2016

It all begins when Alexander H. Gory Jr. passes around a notebook in which he reveals a tantalizing secret: he has proof that their teacher, Mrs. Penrose, is a vampire. Soon the entire class is speculating and adding their opinions to the notebook until . . .

it lands in Mrs. Penrose’s hands. It turns out that Mrs. Penrose has been keeping a secret: she is expecting a baby. But since the notebook is encouraging her students to write and improving their spelling and grammar, Mrs. Penrose allows it to continue circulating.

The notebook becomes a terrific place for jokes, poems, stories and the correspondence between the students and their favorite author.

The notebook serves an even more important role when Mrs. Penrose’s baby comes too soon, and she is replaced by a no-nonsense substitute. The students begin to express their fears for their teacher, their frustrations and their hopes.


Awards

-- General Awards:

National Magazine Writing Award, Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators

Keisler Prize for Poetry, Indiana University The Chicken of the Family

Buckeye Children's Book Award, State of Ohio, 2010

Starred Review, Publishers Weekly

Cooperative Children’s Book Center Choice, 2009

Read on Wisconsin!, Book Club Choice Summer, 2009

Starred Review, Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

Imagination Library program selection, Dollywood

Starred Review, Center for Children’s Books

Blue Ribbon, Center for Children’s Books, 2008

Highly Commended Title, Charlotte Zolotow Award Committee, 2009

Junior Library Guild ChoiceThe Word Eater

The Grand Canyon Reader Award for Young Readers, State of Arizona, 2004Please Write in this Book

Maud Hart Lovelace Award, State of Minnesota, 2011-2012

Children’s Choice, IRA, 2007

Children's Choice, CBC, 2007

Book of the Month Club, 2007

November pick for Read On!, State of WisconsinSnarf Attack, Holiday House

Pick of the Decade for 4th grade, NJ State LibraryDrooling and Dangerous

KC 3 Reading Award, Greater Kansas City Association of School Librarians, 2008-2009

Best Children’s Book of 2007 in humor category for ages 5-9, Bank Street Children’s Book Committee

Children’s Choice, IRA, 2007

Children's Choice, CBC, 2007 Stinky and Successful

KC3 Book Award, Greater Kansas City Association of School Librarians, 2009-2010Guitar Notes

Beehive Book Award, Utah