Author: A True Story

( 2 )


Children's author Helen Lester describes her life from age three to adulthood and discusses how she writes.

Children's author Helen Lester describes her life from age three to adulthood and discusses how she writes.

Read More Show Less
... See more details below
This Hardcover is Not Available through
Author: A True Story

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 7.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1
  • NOOK HD Tablet
  • NOOK HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK eReaders
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$5.99 price
(Save 14%)$6.99 List Price
Note: Kids' Club Eligible. See More Details.


Children's author Helen Lester describes her life from age three to adulthood and discusses how she writes.

Children's author Helen Lester describes her life from age three to adulthood and discusses how she writes.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Lester's lighthearted look at how she came to write children's books will give aspiring authors of any age a lift and encouragement to persevere. Ages 4-8. (Aug.)
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Lester's Tacky the Penguin lighthearted look at how she came to write children's books will give aspiring authors of any age a lift-and encouragement to persevere, even in the face of learning disabilities as a child and multiple rejection slips as a novice writer. Candid and a little self-effacing, Lester tells of her struggles with the creative process, noting that both as an elementary school student and as a published author, "Often I can't come up with a single idea, and my stories get stuck in the middle, and I can't think of a title." She accompanies her breezy narrative with her own cheerful, somewhat rudimentary cartoons pictures, save on one spread where she drolly juxtaposes her childlike drawing of a pig next to a highly polished rendering by her frequent collaborator, Lynn Munsinger. Some of the best moments here are transitional: a picture shows the young Lester dreaming of joining the circus when she grows up; the next page continues, "Since no one from the circus came looking for me, I became a teacher." Her ending playfully concludes, "I'm glad I didn't join the circus.... I never dreamed I'd become an author. So this is better than a dream come true." Her admirers will agree. All ages. Mar.
Children's Literature - Uma Krishnaswami
Remember Tacky the Penguin? If you don't, in this reviewer's opinion, your education is incomplete. Lester is that singular bird's creator. In this funny little book she reflects with flair on that which every writer contemplates at some point-the messy, funny, topsy-turvy experience that is the writing life. She even takes a little dig at herself-ideas, first book signing, and the drawings in this book. Lester from three years through adulthood is an engaging character here. Idea files are now forever dubbed Fizzle-boxes. If this doesn't make the reader rush out to get every single book the Lester-Munsinger duo have turned out, I don't know what will.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 4Lester breezily reveals some truths about herself, her achievements, and nonachievements. Readers find out that even as a youngster, the author loved to write. She had to learn not to write backwards, she suffered frustrations, and spent a lot of time dreaming. She became a teacher, never became an artist, started writing children's books, suffered frustrations, and ultimately achieved her goal. In the course of telling her life story, Lester tells youngsters how she writes, why she writes, and what it's like to be an author. The narrative is highlighted throughout with exuberant childlike drawings, which indicate that although she never became an artist, Lester is certainly a competent illustrator. The book will interest her many fans and should encourage and inspire young writers. This unique picture-book autobiography is less detailed than titles in the "Meet the Author" series (Richard C. Owen). It's a delightful, jolly romp that should find a wide and appreciative audience.Marlene Gawron, Orange County Library, Orlando, FL
School Library Journal
K-Gr 4--A picture-book autobiography that looks at the genesis of a writer from childhood to first publication, with all of the setbacks along the way. Jaunty cartoons add just the right tone to this inspirational success story. (May)
Kirkus Reviews
A breezy look at the trials and triumphs of authorship from Lester (Princess Penelope's Parrot, 1996). She began her writing career at age three by inundating her patient mother with hundreds of scrawled grocery lists: "And the fun part was that I could turn each list upside down and the words said the same thing." She is disarmingly candid about her frustrations with writing in school, the discouragement of having her first six books rejected, and the labor of turning ideas into finished works. Always apparent is her delight in the process of creation and in meeting her audience: "This is better than a dream come true." Accompanying her words are her own cheery drawings, depicting herself with the same spiky blond hair and argyle tights from childhood on. Easy to read and reassuringly realistic.
From the Publisher
"Lester's lighthearted book at how she came to write children's books will give aspiring authors of any age a lift and encouragement to persevere." Publishers Weekly
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780613634953
  • Publisher: San Val
  • Publication date: 7/1/2003
  • Pages: 32
  • Product dimensions: 7.96 (w) x 8.10 (h) x 0.36 (d)

Meet the Author

Helen Lester is a full-time writer who makes her home in New York. Helen Lester and Lynn Munsinger have collaborated on many funny and popular books for children, including the stories starring Tacky the Penguin, Wodney Wat, and the new Laugh-Along Series.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3
( 2 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)