Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Mary Amato  

Pen Name: None

Genre: Children

Audience: Children;

Born: 1961 in Belvidere, Illinois

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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 [] and learn more about writing your own music and the joy of thrumming at [].

Published Works

  • The Word Eater , Holiday House , 2005
  • Snarf Attack, Underfoodle, and the Secret of Life: The Riot Brothers Tell All, Holiday House , 2006
  • The Naked Mole-Rat Letters , Holiday House , 2007
  • Drooling and Dangerous: The Riot Brothers Return!, Holiday House, 2008
  • Stinky and Successful: The Riot Brothers Never Stop, Holiday House , 2008
  • Please Write In This Book , Holiday House , 2008
  • The Chicken of the Family , Putnam Juvenile , 2008
  • Invisible Lines , EgmontUSA, 2009
  • Edgar Allan's Official Crime Investigation Notebook, Holiday House , 2010
  • Take the Mummy and Run: The Riot Brothers Are on a Roll, Holiday House, 2010
  • Guitar Notes, EgmontUSA, 2012
  • Good Crooks: Missing Monkey, Egmont, 2014
  • Good Crooks: Dog Gone, Egmont, 2014
  • Good Crooks: Sniff a Skunk, Egmont, 2014
  • Get Happy, Carolrhoda, 2016
  • Our Teacher is a Vampire and Other (Not) True Stories, Holiday House, 2016

Selected Titles At Your Library

The word eater /
ISBN: 0823419401. OCLC Number:

Holiday House,. New York :. 2000.

Lerner Chanse, a new student at Cleveland Park Middle School, finds a worm that magically makes things disappear, and she hopes it will help her fit in, or get revenge, at her hated school.

Snarf attack, underfoodle, and the secret of life :
ISBN: 0823420620. OCLC Number:

Holiday House,. New York :. ©2004.

Contains three stories in which brothers and best friends Wilbur and Orville Riot catch a thief, overthrow a king, and find a treasure, and includes rules to some of their made-up games.

The naked mole-rat letters /
ISBN: 0823420981. OCLC Number:

Holiday House,. New York :. ©2005.

When her father begins a long-distance romance with a Washington, D.C. zookeeper, twelve-year-old Frankie sends fabricated email letters to the zookeeper in an attempt to end the relationship.

Drooling and dangerous :
ISBN: 0823422046. OCLC Number:

Holiday House,. New York :. ©2006.

Three more hilarious, gross-out stories featuring Orville and Wilbur Riot.

Stinky and successful :
ISBN: 0823421961. OCLC Number:

Holiday House,. New York :. ©2007.

Orville and Wilber Riot rescue a damsel in distress, are mad scientists, and defeat a bully through Operation Armpit.

Please write in this book /
ISBN: 0823421384. OCLC Number:

. .

When Ms. Wurtz leaves a blank book in the Writer's Corner with a note encouraging those who find it to "talk to each other" in its pages, the students' entries spark a classroom-wide battle.

The chicken of the family /
ISBN: 0399241965. OCLC Number:

G.P. Putnam's Sons,. New York, NY :. ©2008.

When her older sisters tease her into believing that she is actually a chicken, Henrietta runs off to a farm to be among her own kind.

Invisible lines /
ISBN: 160684010X. OCLC Number:

Egmont USA,. New York :. 2009.

Coming from a poor, single-parent family, seventh-grader Trevor must rely on his intelligence, artistic ability, quick wit, and soccer prowess to win friends at his new Washington, D.C. school, but popular and rich Xander seems determined to cause him trouble.

Edgar Allan's official crime investigation notebook /
ISBN: 0823422712. OCLC Number:

Holiday House,. New York :. ©2010.

When someone takes a pet goldfish, then other items from Ms. Herschel's classroom, each time leaving a clue in the form of a poem, student Edgar Allan competes with a classmate to be first to solve the mystery.

Take the mummy and run :
ISBN: 0823422739. OCLC Number:

Holiday House,. New York :. ©2009.

Story shows that guts, brains, and a little slobber are all you need to have a ripsnorgling good time.

Guitar notes /
ISBN: 1606841246. OCLC Number:

Egmont USA,. New York :. ©2012.

Tripp, who plays guitar only for himself, and Lyla, a cellist whose talent has already made her famous but not happy, form an unlikely friendship when they are forced to share a practice room at their high school.

Missing monkey! /
ISBN: 1606845098. OCLC Number:

. .

Tired of being pressured to help commit crimes and yearning for a more normal life, twins Jillian and Billy band together to do good deeds while their parents kidnap a monkey from the zoo, hoping to teach it to steal. Includes activities.

Dog gone! /
ISBN: 1606845101. OCLC Number:

. .

When their thieving parents steal a rich and famous dog, twins Jillian and Billy, who have grown tired of being crooks, must find a way to get Poochie Smoochie back to her owner. Includes activities.

Sniff a skunk! /
ISBN: 1606845993. OCLC Number:

. .

Unlike their thieving parents, ten-year-old twins Billy and Jillian Crook like to do good deeds, including rescuing a baby skunk. Features activities.

Get happy /
ISBN: 151242627X. OCLC Number:

. .

"On her birthday, Minerva, a seventeen-year-old singer/songwriter, hears from the father she has never known and her placid life is turned upside down"--

Our teacher is a vampire and other (not) true stories /
ISBN: 0823435539. OCLC Number:

. .

A notebook that is passed from student to student around a classroom becomes a repository for wild rumors, heartfelt confessions, and creative writing and helps the students cope when their teacher has medical emergency and they must cope with a rigid substitute as they worry about their beloved teacher and her family.


General Awards

Speaking Engagements

Speaking Engagement Availability (Yes)

Please contact for details. The author is represented by Gallt.