Cover of Monster Academy by Jane Yolen and Heidi E Y Stemple

Monster Academy

It took Heidi and me close to fifteen years till this book finally came out. I tried it as a picture book, a middle grade novel, an easy-reader. When Heidi signed on and we did it together as a picture book (MUCH better than my first feeble attempt) we actually had a book. Scholastic bought it and put the very inventive John McKinley to work sketching the pictures. One sketch was of a Cyclops kid–who was not in the book, so he was quickly added to the monsters in the classroom. My favorite character is Ms. Mummy, the teacher, who slowly becomes unraveled during the long school day–but never loses her smile. Editor Bonnie Verberg was a mighty presence in helping us work out lots of other problems. A team effort!!!

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What reviewers have said:

  • “The story’s underlying message of accepting and embracing differences surfaces when Jo is revealed to be a much-feared human in costume–“‘I get it!’ says Vic. ‘We’re scary, but so is she!’” McKinley (the Ready, Freddy! series) doesn’t stint on goofy details.” — Publishers Weekly