Author Guest Post!: “Trick or Read” by Judy Newman aka The Book Lady aka Pepper Springfield, Author of the Bobs and Tweets series


“Trick or Read”

When I was in fifth grade I made an awesome Halloween costume:  I was a jar of Skippy Peanut Butter.  No one could tell who I really was since my head was covered, but I got lots of compliments on my cool creativity.

However, that was the high point:  after that I was never able to figure out another Halloween costume I was comfortable wearing.

So, decades later, still blocked on finding a suitable costume, I decided to approach Halloween from another angle: I started giving out books, instead of candy, to trick or treaters.

Moaning like zombies, my family and friends told me this was not a good idea: “no one,” they said, “wants to trick or treat for books.”  “Halloween,” they howled like werewolves, “is for handing out candy.”  “No kids,” “they screeched like a scary witch, “will come to our house for books.”

But… they were all wrong.

Twenty-five years later I am still handing out books to hundreds and hundreds of kids on Halloween. And even though I still haven’t figured out a good costume for myself, I do have another persona: I am known in town as “The Book Lady.”

I have to leave work and my job as President of Scholastic Book Clubs early on Halloween, because kids and their families who come from all over town as well as from neighboring communities (and even in groups from community centers), start lining up early—around 3:30 in the afternoon—to make sure they don’t miss out on the reading FUN! The police come to help direct traffic and the whole community gets into the act.

It makes me so happy to see all these kids and their families—who come from miles around—line up just to make sure they get books! I live on a long, flat street, with wonderful neighbors, who are, for the most part, happy to answer the door with all kind of creative treats (including toothbrushes!) for the swarms of kids who make their way down the block after they leave the “Book House.”

It was all this Halloween excitement that inspired me to write Trick or Tweet, the third book in the Bobs and Tweets series, illustrated by Kristy Caldwell.

I got so much inspiration from all kids who have come to “The Book House” on Halloween: kids stuffed into vegetable costumes, like Lou Tweet.  Vampires and zombies, like the Bobs. Ninjas, and superheroes, and mermaids, and unicorns, (along with people handing out toothbrushes, and awesome decorations and…well you name it!)  Last year, a child came dressed as a jar of Skippy Peanut Butter, which as you can imagine made me smile.

The trick or treaters all want to tell me what books they want to read and how they enjoyed—or did not like — the books they got from the Book House last year.  There is nothing quite so thrilling for me as talking to hundreds of children dressed up in costumes, expressing their creativity and their ideas– and talking about books.

Most of us who work in children’s book publishing strive to help children discover books in which they can see themselves.  We know that when kids choose and own their own books they read more and start to see themselves as readers. In my day job, as President of Scholastic Book Clubs I am privileged to work with 800,000 classroom teachers and their students—from pre-K through high school–all across the country, creating book orders filled with affordable books for all children to choose and own.

In my Halloween role as “The Book Lady, “ it is so fun and inspiring to hand out books to super eager trick or treaters who all love lining up for books on Halloween.  And as, Pepper Springfield, the author of the Bobs and Tweets books, I am truly honored to engage with readers through my characters on Bonefish Street.

So… I guess I don’t need another Halloween costume for myself after all.

Happy Reading! Happy Halloween!

About the Author: Pepper (aka Judy Newman to PW readers, close friends, and family) was born and raised in Massachusetts. She LOVES rock ‘n’ roll and chocolate, just like Lou Tweet. And, like Dean Bob, Pepper loves to read and do crossword puzzles. Over the years, Pepper has loved all kinds of pets: dogs, cats, hamsters, turtles, fish, a bunny, and an imaginary monkey.

Bobs and Tweets: Trick or Tweet
Author: Pepper Springfield
Illustrator: Kristy Caldwell
Published August 28th, 2018 by Scholastic

About the Book: Lou Tweet and Dean Bob can’t wait to go trick-or-treating on Bonefish Street on Halloween. This year, they’re entering the Best Halloween Block contest, which means they need to visit every house and mark down each delicious treat that they receive.

But with spooky houses, a power outtage, and another big Tweets and Bobs family feud, will Lou and Dean be able to accomplish their task and win the contest? Find out in another spooky installment of Bobs and Tweets, this time with funhouses, new friends, and lots and lots of candy!

This third book in the Bobs and Tweets series is filled with full-color illustrations and high-interest rhymes that’s just right for reluctant readers. It’s Dr. Seuss meets Captain Underpants wrapped into one zany Halloween adventure! So go ahead, read and laugh and trick-or-treat with the Bobs and Tweets!

Thank you, Pepper, for showing how book lovers can spread the reading love on Halloween!

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