Friday, March 15, 2013

Author Dori Hillestad Butler

I'm thankful Dori Hillestad Butler's The Buddy Files: The Case of the Lost Boy (Book 1) was on the 2012 Monarch Award master list. I read it to the entire first grade. As soon as I finished reading the last page, many of my students shouted, "Can I check it out? Where is book two?"  Isn't it wonderful when you read aloud the first book of a series and it inspires kids to read the rest of the series on their own? 

I invited Dori Hillestead Butler on Watch. Connect. Read. to discuss her popular series, school visits, writing, and reading. I wrote the words in red, and she wrote the words in black. Thank you, Dori! 

The Buddy Files series is about a school therapy dog who solves mysteries. The books are told from the dog’s point of view and they’ve been a lot of fun to write. I think I’ve found my calling in chapter book series. Or maybe mysteries.
The Edgar Award is given to the best mystery fiction, nonfiction, television, and theater published or produced the previous year. Winning the Edgar Award for best juvenile mystery was truly a dream come true. When I was 14, I set my sights on simply being nominated for an Edgar at some point in my career. I never dared to imagine that I might actually win. That was the 4th best day of my life.

I have published nine picture books, which really surprises me when I think about it, because I don’t think of myself as a picture book author. I’m a chapter book author, a middle grade/YA author, a series author, and a mystery author.
My bullying and cyberbullying workshop has been as helpful to me as it has to the students because I’ve learned a lot about what the average kid today is experiencing and what he thinks about bullying and cyberbullying. Doing these workshops makes me want to write more about bullying and cyberbullying. And I’m certainly collecting material.

Kids often ask me where I get my ideas. I tell them ideas are all around us. I get idea from my own childhood, from my kids, from my friends, from visiting schools, from newspapers, radio, and TV. Ideas are everywhere! I love this Orson Scott Card quote: “Everybody walks past 1,000 ideas every day. The good writers are the ones who see five or six of them.” I would add to that “a good writer is someone who can take one of those ideas and turn it into a story. Idea and story are not the same thing.”

Reading is power. A book can take you anywhere you want to go…in this world or another world, and it can teach you anything you want to learn.
Series books are even more fun to write than I thought they’d be. As an author, I love being able to take a character beyond a single story and watch him grow. I think that’s what readers like about series books, too.
Mr. Schu, you should have asked me what else I have in the pipeline, and then I could have told you all about my Haunted Library series, which is launching in 2014. But, well…I guess you’ll have to wait until 2014.

I am giving away The Buddy Files: The Case of the Lost Boy (Book 1), The Buddy Files: The Case of the Mixed-Up Mutts (Book 2), and The Buddy Files: The Case of the Missing Family (Book 3). 

Rules for the Giveaway 

1. It will run from 3/15 to 11:59 P.M. CST on 3/17. 

2. You must be at least 13. 

3. Please pay it forward. 

Borrow Dori Hillestad Butler's books from your school or public library. Whenever possible, please support independent bookshops. 


  1. My students have really been enjoying these mystery stories. Excited to see the Haunted Library books come out starting next year. :)

  2. I had the great good fortune to have dinner at an ALA Annual with a group including Ms. Butler. She is a lovely person and showed such grace when "My Mom's Having a Baby" came under fire.
    Kudos also to Albert Whitman!

  3. I love these books! I think I have found my next read aloud. Thanks for your blog!