Melanie Johnston is generally a lover of all dogs but especially pugs.
She lives in Piedmont (California not Italy but fortunately there are great Italian chefs nearby) and is on the brink of acquiring a new pug puppy, Pumpernickel or Puddles. The name is being debated by her family (her husband, daughter, son and daughter-in-law) and will probably take a while to decide, if it’s ever decided. Her sweet fawn Flo Jo is now in canine heaven and was the pug-snoring inspiration for The 13 Dog Days of Christmas. Melanie is currently at work on a novel about animal extinction in Africa and on another children’s dog book: Santa Paws and the Night Before Christmas.
Melanie began to write stories as a young girl but her true love was reading. When she found herself living in France with her parents, she used every cent of her allowance to buy books written in English which she craved as much as pommes frites. When she’d finish the latest book purchased, she resorted to devouring the International Herald Tribune and ultimately majored in Journalism and English in college. Even today she still avidly reads newspapers, hardcovers, paperbacks and on a Kindle and likes each of them for a variety of reasons, primarily that they’re all in English. At one time she was virtually fluent in French but now confesses that she only speaks French menu. Melanie’s goal as an author is to pull a reader down a path and take them away from their daily life and immerse them into another world far, far away.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
The 13 Dog Days of Christmas was inspired by PD Eastman’s Go Dog Go!
After years of volunteering as a tutor for first graders in Oakland who loved Go Dog Go and would be frustrated when it ended, 13 Dog Days aims to get younger kids counting and reading about dogs all at the same time. Perhaps Melanie’s favorite comment was hearing one six-year-old after she looked through the book, tell her grandmother that she wanted a dachshund. “Dachshund now, Grandma.”
Melanie has won awards for her work and enjoyed hearing from all sorts of big and little people about their favorite dog in the book and some breeds that weren’t included and should’ve been. (Her fav of course, is the sleeping pug.)
She is very grateful to Bob Reedy and his dog Edie for his true to dog life illustrations. And to Abby and Flo Jo’s antics for always making her smile and sometimes hold her nose.