With Children’s Author, Mary Amato

The ABC song is one of the first fun songs we teach our children to sing. Why? Because the alphabet is the backbone for learning to read and write. For some people, reading and writing is not fun at all. 

My new series, ABC’S OFF THE TOP OF YOUR HEAD offers a new way to have fun with Mary amatothe alphabet. Every week, a children’s author, illustrator, literary agent or editor will share their ‘top of the head’ answers to the ABC category list they were given, A to Z. Following their answers, I ask a few questions to gain a little insight into their world.

Feel free to play along, maybe your answer off the top of your head will match theirs. Enjoy!

Our contestant today is children’s author, Mary Amato! Known for her spectacular humor and heart books and series.




But these aren’t all. Here are a few more to tease you:



Below is Mary’s list of categories from A – Z along with her off of the top of her head answers.

ANTONYM FOR AWFUL:  chocolate cream pie

BREAKFAST CHOICE: chocolate chips, melted in oatmeal

COLOR:  purple, I know, but I just don’t get tired of it


EVERY CHILD: should get to grow up


GENRE (MUSIC): gothic film score (I’m writing a spooky book right now)

HAPPINESS IS…: singing harmony with people you love (but only as long as they can sing in tune)

INVENTION:  the 0.5 mm Pentel deluxe mechanical pencil with Sliding Sleeve

Technology, but I wish it would come with a cap because the tip of lead breaks off in my purse.

JUNK FOOD:  BBQ Potato Chips or Salt & Vinegar Potato Chips

KEEPSAKE:  my parents’ love letters, not gushy, just adorable


MOST LIKELY TO:  multi-task! Why can’t I stop? Right now, I’m filling out this form while cooking dinner, listening to a podcast, stretching my neck muscles, and chastising myself for not getting enough done.

NATURAL WONDER’:  the fact that every single kid has a unique personality. This blows me away every time I do an assembly at a school and look out at 247 kids. 

OUTDOOR ACTIVITY: the only thing I ever do is walk. It’s enough for me.

PICTURE BOOK:   into That is Not a Good Idea by Mo Willems right now, and I wish he hadn’t written it so that the idea could fly into my brain, but I’m also glad that he wrote it because it’s hilarious.

Q NAME:  Quinnie

RIVER:  Styx

SPORT:  Solo Synchronized Swimming

TOOL:  belt

UNIQUE ANIMAL:  platypus

VISIBLE FROM YOUR WINDOW:  A porch swing with a sign on it that says “It’s probably not a good idea to sit on this.”

WISH:  to live in the Netherlands for three to six months

X-RAY VISION (BENEFICIAL, YES OR NO & WHY?):  Archenemy of Imagination

YUMMY TREAT:  dark chocolate, always and forever

ZANIEST THING YOU’VE DONE:  filled out this form

ME:   You had me at ‘I’m writing a spooky book right now.’ (and all of the chocolate answers ) My absolute favorite books and stories to read are spooky ones, so when your book comes out, please e-mail to let me know so I can buy it!

Okay, on to a more serious subject: Why should people not sit on the porch swing outside your window?

MA:  Since you love spooky things, you might want to sit on it. The swing creaks and moans as if it is made of the bones of sad dead people who might get a kick out of collapsing into a heap whenever someone sits on them.

 ME:   You are correct…I now want to sit on it. 😊

What specific months would you want to live in the Netherlands for? And would you watch or participate in solo synchronized swimming while you were there?

MA: February, March, April, May, June, and July would take me from pensive winter into the tulip-induced ecstasy of spring and then the sweet lull of summer. I wouldn’t swim there if you paid me. Too cold.

 ME:   Great answer!

Curious, why Tuesday?

MA: Tuesday is my favorite work day. On Monday I’m still in a Sunday fog. By Wednesday, I’m thinking about Thursday night, which is when my husband and I go to the farmer’s market and a beer tasting. Tuesday is my favorite work day because I’m focused only on Tuesday. 

ME:   Tuesdays are the perfect work day; perfect too for the imagination to let loose because I am not thinking about Friday yet (well maybe a little).

I agree that x-ray vision is an archenemy of the imagination. Another superpower would be better. If you could have any superpower, which one would you choose and why?

MA:   Flying without a doubt. I wouldn’t do anything with it. Just enjoy it.

ME:   Oh the sights you would see if you could fly!BBQ potato chips

What do you think about BBQ potato chips with a dark chocolate chaser?

MA: No way. I’m a total purist with class. They have to be separated by at least ten minutes and a glass of bourbon. 

ME:   Agreed, except for the bourbon. Ate too many bourbon balls as a kid which did not taste good coming up.

Using as many of your answers as possible, will you write a synopsis for a children’s book off the top of your head?

MA: A lonely Dutch pencil named Quinnie wants to find a cap for her  head so that her lead doesn’t keep breaking. As she sets off, she faces many obstacles along the way—horrible people that abuse her by using her for boring things like keeping synchronized swimming scores, tracking pollution levels in the River Styx, and listing ingredients for junk food. But with the help of an adorable harmony-singing platypus, on a lovely Tuesday morning she finally makes an origami cap out of dark-chocolate bar wrappers that is sturdy yet stylish. This captures the attention of a nice young man named Jack who proceeds to use the pencil to write love letters to his wife-to-be Jan. They have a child who becomes a children’s book writer and continues to use the pencil to write stories with humor and heart. The End. 

ME:  I really want to read that story now, endearing and humorous! I also smiled when I read that a keepsake for you is your parents love letters. Would you ever write a young adult using those letters as mentor texts for the book? And speaking of possible projects, please elaborate on any upcoming projects you have right now.

MA:   I have a YA coming out next fall called Open Mic Night at Westminster Cemetery, which is also a musical. A new funny series for ages 7-10 called Lucy McGee will debut next fall, as well. I’ve finished the first two books and will work on book three after the holidays. I’ve just written the first draft of my first adult novel, which I’m revising now. As for future projects, I have three or four I’m trying to decide between.

ME:   Wow! You have been busy!!! I have so much reading to catch up on in the next few years. 😊 OPEN MIC NIGHT AT WESTMINSTER CEMETERY sounds intriguing. The fact that it is a musical is phenomenal and great for theater everywhere. I hope it goes to Broadway!  

Mary, this has been delightful playing the ABC Game with you. Thank you for being a contestant!

Readers, if you would like to connect with Mary on social media you can find her:

Twitter: @maryamato

If you would like to know more about her and her books go here:


p.s. Books make great gifts throughout the year for all ages.

Thank you for stopping by today’s edition of ABC’S OFF THE TOP OF YOUR HEAD. If you like this post, please share it. And feel free to leave a comment for Mary or me.

#justkeepwriting #justkeepwriting









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