Kristy Dempsey

Kristy Dempsey is the author of 8 picture books, including Me with You, Surfer Chick and Superhero Instruction Manual, a 2017 ILA/CBC Children's Choice selection and 2017 Southern Book Prize nominee. Her titles have received starred reviews in Kirkus, Booklist, and School Library Journal, and A Dance Like Starlightwas named a JLG selection, ALA Notable Book, Bank Street Best of 2015, CCBC 2015 Choice, and the winner of the 2015 Golden Kite Award for Picture Book Text. Kristy is a member of SCBWI and a speaker and teacher at writing conferences, most recently for SCBWI Carolinas and the Highlights Foundation. Since 1998, Kristy has lived in Belo Horizonte, Brazil with her husband and three children, where she works as a middle school and high school English teacher at The American School of Belo Horizonte. She is also a frequent presenter at schools nationally and internationally, where her programs inspire students' love for (and skills in!) reading and writing, as well as ideals of empathy, personal responsibility, and perseverance. Find out more about Kristy's school visits, as well as forthcoming titles, at

Most Recent Book
Papa Put a Man on the Moon book

All Over the World

I grew up in a small town in South Carolina but I've lived in Brazil since 1998. Brazil is the largest country in South America and the only South American country that speaks Portuguese. I'm fluent in Portuguese now (I even write some of my books in Portuguese!) but I teach English at the American School of Belo Horizonte. I love teaching and helping my students learn to love reading as much as I do. I think reading is one of the best ways we can get to know the world. But I also love traveling, another really great way to get to know the world. I've done author presentations in Peru, Panama, Guatemala, Brazil, Thailand, and the US. Author visits are one of my favorite ways to share my books with children, especially if I have the chance to write with them!

Ten Things You May Not Know About Me:
1. I eat chicken hearts. (Don't worry. This is actually really common in Brazil. They're cooked on a skewer over a grill.)
2. I've run two marathons. (I really want to run another one!)
3. I climbed a 10,000 foot mountain above Machu Picchu.
4. My favorite book is The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate Dicamillo.
5. I have never broken a bone.
6. I competed as a gymnast until I was 15 years old.
7. Even though I live in Brazil, I am still an American citizen.
8. I am not very organized. (I have lots of little piles of papers hidden in drawers. But I know where everything is!) (My husband would say this is not my best quality.)
9. I do not currently have a dog, but some of the dogs I've had are Beauregard, Pepper, Camo, and a dog named Jackie O'Bookie who I occasionally borrowed and pretended was mine.
10. I dream of performing on Broadway.



When is your favorite time to work?

I wake up every morning at 5:00 am so that I can write for an hour before I go to my teaching job. I have a rule: I have to be working on a story when I take my first sip of coffee!

What do you hope young readers experience from your work?

My desire is that more than anything they experience hope and joy. I think the two most important feelings are hope for the future and joy in today. If I can make my readers laugh, or dream a little about their own lives, then I feel like I've done something of value.

What world have you created in a book that you'd most like to live in?

I'd love to live in Floyd Cooper's beautiful brownstone, soft wash illustrations in A Dance Like Starlight!

What advice do you have for parents and others who are trying to raise readers?

Let's all read. Every day! First, be a reader yourself. Secondly, read out loud to your kids. And never stop. I teach middle school and high school English and I still read out loud to my students!

What do you hope to be remembered for?

I want to be remembered for making people feel loved, whether it's through personal contact with me, or through my books.

What do you do to brainstorm for new ideas?

I keep a notebook! In it, I draw pictures. I make word lists. I jot down phrases that come to my mind. I'm especially fond of brainstorming catchy titles for possible books and then trying to write them. That is exactly how my book Surfer Chick came about.

How has reading influenced your life?

I think reading has given me emotional rehearsal to prepare for difficult things in life. If every story has a problem to solve, then I think I've learned the most about problem solving (and sometimes about not taking life so seriously) through the books that I've read. To tell the truth, I think the same about the books I write. Sometimes I figure out what I believe or feel just by writing a story.

board Books

Ten Little Toes, Two Small Feet book
numbers · babies · counting · the body
Ten Little Toes, Two Small Feet
numbers · counting · the body · babies
Ten Little Fingers, Two Small Hands
A Hop Is Up book
movement · playing · rhyming · dogs
A Hop Is Up
Me with You book
bears · grandpa · rhyming
Me with You

picture Books

astronaut · the moon
Papa Put a Man on the Moon
summer · dads
Surfer Chick
Superhero Instruction Manual book
superpowers · superheroes · heroes
Superhero Instruction Manual
A Dance Like Starlight book
hope · race · hard work · dance · ballet · dreams · perseverance
A Dance Like Starlight
animals · vehicles · rhyming · humor


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Lori Richmond
Jane Massey
Henry Cole
Mark Fearing
Christopher Denise
Floyd Cooper
Bridget Strevens-Marzo
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