Brooklyn Museum, this Saturday! Reading Dory @ 1:30 by abby hanlon

Illustration from  The Jacket  (2014), by Kirsten Hall. Dasha Tolstikova, illustrator

Illustration from The Jacket (2014), by Kirsten Hall. Dasha Tolstikova, illustrator

Ninth Annual Children's Book Fair

November 14, 2015

12:00–4:00 p.m. 

Martha A. and Robert S. Rubin Pavilion, 1st Floor

Join us for our annual Children’s Book Fair featuring your favorite Brooklyn authors and illustrators. This free event includes storybooks, picture books, graphic novels, and original hands-on art activities for all ages.

Readings and drawing with the illustrators in the Rubin Pavilion:

12:30 p.m. Julia Sarcone-Roach, author and illustrator: The Bear Ate Your Sandwich
1 p.m. Tad Hills, author and illustrator: Duck & Goose Colors
1:30 p.m. Abby Hanlon, author and illustrator: Dory and the Real True Friend
2:30 p.m. Scott Menchin, author: Grandma in Blue with Red Hat
3 p.m. Aaron Meshon, author and illustrator: Tools Rule
3:30 p.m. Michael Hearst, author (Young Adult):Extraordinary People

Other participating authors and illustrators:

Selina Alko, Artie Bennett, Sophie Blackall, Carin Bramsen, Peter Brown, Lauren Castillo, Mike Curato, Laura Lyn DiSiena, Zetta Elliott, Brian Floca, Gilbert Ford, Melanie Hope Greenberg, Meredith Hamilton,  John & Wendy, Nancy Krulik, Laura Ljungkvist, Yona McDonough, Christopher Silas Neal, George O’Connor, Kris Poluchowicz, Sean Qualls, Sergio Ruzzier, Daniel Salmieri, Louella San Juan, David Ezra Stein, Julie Sternberg, Naoko Stoop, Heather Swain, Dasha Tolstikova, Lesley Ware, Hyewon Yum

Mrs. Gobble Gracker Pumpkin by abby hanlon

I've been getting lots of Dory mail lately!  Here is one of my favorites.  This is Parker. She is six. She made this Mrs. Gobble Gracker pumpkin with her dad for a school project.  I love Parker's hilarious idea. Mrs. Gobble Gracker looks so good as a pumpkin now I'm thinking maybe Mr. Nuggy should turn her into a pumpkin head in the next book..?  

Dory Halloween ! by abby hanlon

What a happy Halloween to receive these photos sent by a reader. This is Emily dressed for Halloween as Dory! I love how her mom Kelly handmade her costume, and I'm especially in awe of Emily's determination to dress as a character who is not (yet at least) a household name.  That is true originality.  Thank you Emily and Kelly for this awesome tribute.  

Dory classroom read-aloud by abby hanlon

Vancouver teacher, Carrie Gelson, sent me this wonderful description of her class when she reads Dory aloud. Carrie teaches at an inner city elementary school.  She blogs about children's literature and her classroom here:  If you read her blog, you will see that her efforts to advocate for the children in her classroom and to connect them to books are truly extraordinary.    

Our first chapter book read aloud was the perfect pick for many children who have never listened to a chapter book read aloud. It is illustrated, it is full of kid humour and fun and it works a little bit like magic. As soon as I start reading it, these little bundles of energy and distractibility start to calm as they inch closer and closer to me to listen at the carpet. I think some of them even hold their breath as they listen. I feel little hands on my arm, on my shoe, on my leg as if touching me can bring them further into the book. When Dory explained about ketchup monster noises, there was a whisper, “So that’s what that noise is.” When Dory shot Mrs. Gobble Gracker in the butt with a sleeping dart, there was pure joy that their teacher said “in the butt” out loud! They laughed and giggled but they also shared knowing smiles that said, “How cool are we?” I hear them heading home at the end of the day debating whether Mary, the Monster is really a monster, really even real or some strange talking dog. :-) I will be forever in your debt Abby Hanlon for Dory Fantasmagory!

Carrie's blog link here

A Brooklyn Dory by abby hanlon

I was floored to meet a real life Dory at the Brooklyn Book Festival on Saturday. Five-year-old, Chloe, came dressed as the first and most adorable Dory I've ever seen.  From the striped socks on up, her awesome mom Kristin nailed every little detail of Dory's outfit from Book 2, including her dog lunchbox (dog drawn by Chloe) and banana phone!

Her mom says that she discovered the Dory books after reading Ralph Tells A Story. Chloe started getting on the phone with Mr. Nuggy herself which served as a portal for her own imaginary world. 


Here she is front and center listening to our panel discussion.

With my panel: Lenore Look, Jon Scieszka, and Anica Rissi. It is an understatement to say that it was huge honor to be on a panel with these giants, whose work I have looked up to for so long. Thank you to the Brooklyn Book Festival for this incredible opportunity. 

I got to sign a book by Kyle, called "How To Beat Up Mrs. Gobble Gracker. He is working on the sequel now, "Dory Learns Karate."



Here I am very happy to see my buddy Jenny Kelly, Dory book designer at Dial.

And I also got to hear revered Kevin Henkes (in conversation with Jon Scieszka) talk about his long career in children's books. He shared stories of how several of his beloved books came to be. Here he is with a slide of his childhood sketchbook.  I was completely overwhelmed by being in his presence.  He is just such a genuine and sweet guy who has worked soooooo hard.

And lastly, here is my daughter trying to hit my son with the Stinky Cheese Man. 


An early draft by abby hanlon

After I read my son an early draft of Dory 3, he ran to get a piece of paper, and produced this, which he says is the narrative arc of the story.  Although not exactly what I was going for, I'm pretty happy with his interpretation.

Decatur Book Festival by abby hanlon

At Decatur's legendary children's bookstore, Little Shop of Stories, I got to meet my idol, Skippy Jon Jones' creator, Judy Schachner. We share an editor at Dial, the extraordinary Lucia Monfried.

Here I am with beloved authors Tui Sutherland (Wings of Fire), Terra McVoy (Drive Me Crazy)-- and Terra's real life best friend and editor, author Anici Rissi (Anna Banana) right before our panel discussion on female friendships. 

With 600 authors in every genre invited for a weekend of events, the Decatur Book Festival is a massive and joyous community coordination of book lovers.  I was so grateful and honored to be invited. And thrilled to be able to see fellow children's book authors in action: David Soman, Victoria Jamieson, Matt Holm, Drew Daywalt, Bob Shea and Jory John. 

Upcoming Events by abby hanlon

September 5, 2015, Decatur Georgia

I am thrilled to be attending the Decatur Book Festival this year, the country's largest independent book fair.

Title: Best Friends Forever
Date: Saturday, 9/05/15
Time: 3:15-3:45
Location: Children's Stage
Presentation Duration: 30 minutes long
Description: Terra McVoy, Anica Rissi, & Abby Hanlon

September 19, 2015 Brooklyn

Come to Children's Day at the Brooklyn Book Festival!

I almost fainted when I read that I'm going to be on stage with the Stinky Cheese Man himself.

12:00 PM--Young Reader Stage (MetroTech Commons) What’s in a Name?: Lovable, laughable, and unforgettable, favorite chapter book characters always have the best names and the most engaging personalities. Authors Abby Hanlon (Dory Fantasmagory), Lenore Look (Alvin Ho and Ruby Lu), and Jon Scieszka (Frank Einstein) come together to discuss their inspiration behind creating—and naming—their beloved characters. Moderated by Anica Rissi (Anna Banana).

November 14, 2015 Brooklyn

I will be reading from Dory And The Real True Friend at the Brooklyn Museum's Children's Book Fair. Details to come.

Big DORY by abby hanlon

It's hard to believe till you see it. Thank you to the marketing folks at Dial for this bookstore welcome from Dory. 

My First Year as A Teacher by abby hanlon

I was invited to post an essay on the Nerdy Book Club blog, a very active online community of readers, started by four book-obsessed passionately hardcore school teachers.

Every year they give out the "Nerdy Book Awards," honoring picture books to young adult. Here is their 2014 list, which includes Dory Fantasmagory!

On Sale Today! by abby hanlon

Nine months after the first book, Dory and the Real True Friend is on sale today! The book is dedicated to my kids, because they worked on every stage of the book with me, starting with the weird and magical games they play. 

Girls of Summer Reading List by abby hanlon

Dory Fantasmagory was selected for the 2015 Girls of Summer Reading List, one of 18 books that celebrate strong girls.  When I heard this news, I felt like Dory's proud parent.  Two authors, Meg Medina and Gigi Amateau curate the list, and it's a great resource for parents, and you can search their summer archives for the last five summers.

Meg Medina wrote about Dory for the website, scroll down a bit:

I love this sentence that she wrote, "Sprinkled into the hilarious scenarios are also the quiet moments of hurt and love we see in families."

And here is my interview for their website:

In the interview, they ask every author to finish the sentence, "Strong girls are..." My 8-year-old daughter and I put our brains together to come up with a definition.  And then we read other author's responses from past interviews. Here is my favorite response from author Hannah Barnaby:

Please finish this sentence: Strong girls ... Strong girls are complicated creatures. Strength in girls is often mistaken for something else, and it’s often given the wrong name. It’s labeled in ways that are meant to hurt us, punish us for being strong in the first place. But strong girls always manage to find each other, and strong girls tell their stories.

Travis Jonker reviews Dory and The Real True Friend by abby hanlon

WOW! I was thrilled to discover this review! I love that Jonkers chose to quote the part where Mr. Nuggy proposes to turn Dory's school into a pancake -- my personal favorite part... AND the book made it on his list of *Best New Books.* Yippee!!

This is the greatest review ever by abby hanlon

This was the first official review of Dory and The Real True Friend.  The reviewer is Molly, the eight-year-old daughter of a buyer at Classroom Library Company in St. Louis.  I was very lucky that a review copy landed in her hands.  I think she must have been the little bird on my shoulder cheering me on as I made the book.  Thank you Molly! 

The box came by abby hanlon

Our box from Dial has arrived, a couple weeks before publication. My kids have been waiting and waiting... dying to bring a copy to school before the end of second grade.  I love this kid in the middle who is at our house for all the important moments.

School Visits by abby hanlon

After finishing the artwork for Dory and The Real True Friend, I finally got to leave my house and visit some local schools.  I went to Brooklyn New School and PS 32 (Carroll Gardens), PS 295 (South Slope), and PS 15 (Red Hook).  The kids are awesome, they are great listeners, they ask the funniest questions, and their enthusiasm definitely fuels me.  The first graders at PS 295 made this welcome sign in the hallway, and also a huge poster of Dory in their classroom.

photo 1.JPG

I do a Powerpoint presentation to show the kids how I came up with the idea for the book, and my process of making a book. Here is a slide from the presentation.  (This is me when I was six years old, talking to my imaginary friend.)


I love getting letters and drawings from the kids after the visit.  This kid even created a space for me to put my phone number.

This one below is too adorable, "I like the silliness that you put into Dory Fantasmagory."