11/17/15 — I find it hard to believe I have not posted any news in the last two years!  And yet it is true.  Please now follow me on Facebook at MH Herlong as I try to come into the 21st century.


Since the last post, a few things have happened:


Students across the country have been reading Buddy and voting for it  in their state-wide reading lists:


State lists that have included Buddy for the 2015/2016 school year:

Tennessee’s Volunteer State Book Award

Minnesota’s Youth Reading Award



Kansas’ William Allen White Book Award.  I was able to travel to Kansas to speak at the Fall Conference of the Kansas Association of School Librarians and then on to Emporia for the amazing award ceremony that involved a parade and a play and students gathering for an overnight on the campus.  In other words, it was amazing!

The Louisiana Young Readers Choice Honor Award.  I traveled to Baton Rouge, just up the road, to receive the award at the Louisiana Book Fest and to meet students from McKinley Middle Academic Magnet School, who had written poems, prepared a beautiful banner, and made an astonishing wreath–all of which may now be seen on my MH Herlong Facebook page.

The South Carolina Children’s Book Award.  I plan to travel to Myrtle Beach, SC, in the spring for the annual conference of South Carolina’s librarians.


State lists that included Buddy for the 2014/2015 school year (in addition to KS, LA, and SC)

Maryland’s Black-Eyed Susan Book Award  (Buddy placed third in the final vote!  I’ll take that!)



New Hampshire’s Great  Stone Face Book Award.  I was able to travel to New Hampshire in October to receive the award and to visit and speak at the Children’s Librarians of New Hampshire Annual Conference.


I have visited in many schools.

In 2014 I visited in about sixteen schools.

So far in 2015, I have visited in about seventeen.

I continue to be impressed by the students and educators I meet!  The world is definitely in good hands.


I have had the opportunity to teach creative writing this semester at Tulane University.  What a pleasure both to spout wisdom and to read delightful work!

It has been a busy and wonderful two years (two years!).  Now I will begin posting my news on my FB page.  So please follow me at MH Herlong


11/22/13 — Visitation of Our Lady, Marrero, LA


I visited with the 5th and 6th grade as they came to the book fair.  I loved their expressions when I read the first bit of Buddy and then stopped.  “But what happens next?” they asked.  Guess how I answered that question! “You’ll have to read the book.”  Thanks for a great visit, VOLs.


11/15/13 — Kenner Discovery Health Sciences Academy, Kenner, LA

Today I got a chance to meet the 5th and 6th graders.  We watched the Buddy trailer and had a spirited question-and-answer session.  It’s the first time I’ve been asked if I have any hobbies.  The answer is YES.  I applaud everyone’s dedication and effort toward creating a great new school.


11/4/13 – Riverdale Middle School, Jefferson, LA

I visited the Scholastic Book Fair and ended up speaking to the sixth graders.  What a treat!


10/21/13 – Signing books at Trinity Episcopal School’s Scholastic Book Fair.


10/1/13 – Buddy was nominated for the 2014/2015 William Allen White Children’s Book Awards of Kansas.  Thank you, Kansas.


9/2013 – Buddy is now available in a Scholastic edition.  Look for it at your school’s Scholastic Book Fair or in your Weekly Reader.


8/1/13 — Buddy was nominated for the Louisiana Young Reader’s Choice Award on its 6-8 grade list.  It is the only Louisiana-themed and authored book on the list.  Thank you, Louisiana.


7/21/13 —  Check out the San Jose Mercury News.  Joanna H. Kraus described Buddy as a “beautifully written, heartfelt story.”


6/24/13 – Eastern Virginia Writer’s Project, College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, VA

When you are a student in college, it is hard to imagine being the teacher but this is exactly what I got to do.  I was the speaker at my alma mater.  The Eastern Virginia Writer’s Project is a program where selected teachers gather for several weeks in the summer to develop both their own writing skills and programs for writing in their schools.  I am always inspired to speak with teachers and to see and hear their dedication.  On this trip, I was inspired by the attendees and especially by Susan Pongratz, who has been one of the directors of this program for years.


5/23/13 – Buddy was nominated for New Hampshire’s 2013-2014 Great Stone Face Book Award.  Thank you, New Hampshire.


5/13/13 – Buddy is out in paperback!  Look for the new Puffin edition.  Buddy looks so sweet on the cover.  I just want to hug that dog!


4/9/13 – Community School of Davidson, Davidson, NC

Everyone gathered in the gym and sat on the floor.  My special ambassadors got chairs and first dibs on questions.  What a great group of students!  So well behaved and enthusiastic.  I had a wonderful time sharing my thoughts on writing, on reading, and on what it is like to be in the sixth grade.  Best part:  At the end, one student asked me, “Were you reading all that or did you memorize it?”  Answer:  Neither.  I lived it!


4/8/13 – Friends of the Library, Winthrop University, Rock Hill, SC

A very special event indeed.  I shared the podium with my mother, Bela Herlong (more formally known as Dr. Ruby P. Herlong), who is a graduate of Winthrop.  Mama spoke about her several books, which are all historical research.  Her best one (in my opinion) is called Padgette’s My Name.  Every Sunday for ten years, she took down my granddaddy’s stores—and there are a LOT of them.  She compiled them into this book, which sounds just like Granddaddy talking.  Granddaddy’s voice is the voice I hear for Granpa T and one of Granddaddy’s stories inspired one story that Granpa T tells Li’l T.  When Mama was finished, I spoke about The Great Sea and Buddy and about what it is like to grow up in a household where the walls are lined with books, to be “out of a book” is a recognized crisis, and a six-year-old feels complimented when she is told she has a third eye.


4/8/13 – Sullivan Middle School, Rock Hill, SC

Sullivan Middle is lucky to have a wonderful conference/class room just off the library.  There I got to meet several groups of students and convince them that I grew up only an hour and a half away and that my hometown is WAY smaller than theirs.  I got to show them pictures of New Orleans, of my books, and of me in the sixth grade wearing cat-eyed glasses and pigtails.  Very impressive! 


3/13/13 – Trinity Episcopal School, New Orleans, Louisiana

I had a wonderful time speaking to students at Trinity Episcopal School as the guest of Media Specialist Michelle McCarthy.  It was easy to connect with these students because the first photo I showed them was of my four sons who are all Trinity grads.  It was so much fun to be back!


2/14/13 – Cypress Lake Middle School, Fort Myers, Florida

Once again Cypress Lake chose The Great Wide Sea for its One Book/One School program.  What they do with their program is absolutely astonishing.  Not only does the entire school read the same book but also every discipline is encouraged to use the book in the classroom in some way.  Dana Thomas, Media Specialist, organizes the event and is the mastermind behind the huge variety of projects it includes.  This year it included, for example, a “game show” in which the teacher partner of selected students was required to eat something really disgusting if the student failed to answer correctly a question from the book.  It was hilarious!  A local steel drum artist provided music.  The students wrote poems.  We had a “Meet the Author” luncheon.  And I spoke.  I had a great time, and I think all the students and faculty did as well.


1/5/13 — New York Public Library

Today I visited the New York Public Library where I met Louise Lareau, who was on the committee that selected Buddy for the NYPL’s 2012 list of 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing.  She gave me a printed copy of the list so I was able to read the title Buddy right there on the page.


1/4/13 —  Manhasset Secondary School, Manhasset, New York

Today I visited and spoke at Manhasset Secondary School as the guest of Mrs. Sally Doulton, Dr. Dean Schlanger, and a special group of students who had all read Buddy.  The students had done so much impressive work with Buddy.  One student had built a two-foot tall replica of Buddy’s shed, complete with the sign on the front.  Another had built a three-foot-tall pecan tree with bird, bird’s nest, and attacking squirrel.  One had made pralines.  There were replicas of Li’l T’s various signs.  Several students had done ambitious poster/research projects on subjects like the levees, pet rescue, and New Orleans sites before and after Katrina.  All of them had kept detailed Buddy journals with all their work for the last 3-4 weeks including letters to Jamilla, pieces of the story from Buddy’s viewpoint, etc.  Just amazing!


12/5/12 —Library Media Connections awards Buddy a Starred Review in its January/February issue, saying:

“Herlong has written a stirring book, the theme of love is accented with the devastation of Katrina and the trials of families affected, as well as organizations aiding in the rescue of animals. The author’s skill allows the reader to fully experience all the emotion.”


11/27/12 —  The School Library Journal says that Buddy is “more than just a dog story.”  It is a novel with “strong, well-developed adult characters” who “teach Li’l T about right and wrong, about being part of a family, and about responsibility.”


11/13/12 — Buddy is selected for the New York Public Library’s list of 100 Books for Reading and Sharing


11/6/12 — Metairie Park Country Day School, Metairie, Louisiana.

Today I visited Country Day.  I spoke to an assembly of Middle School students, signed books at the book fair, and visited a classroom of eighth graders who were getting ready to compare Scout and Mattie Ross.  That would be a fun job!  Great day in a great school.


10/19/12 — Check out today’s Washington Post, which features Buddy as “a great dog book.”


10/7/12 —  Check out today’s Cedar Rapids Gazette.  Children’s book author Dori Hillstad Butler says that Buddy

“is among the best books I’ve read this year. . . . Li’l T’s earnest voice will remain with you long after you’ve closed this book.”


10/5/12 —  Page & Palette Book Shop, Fairhope, Alabama

Today I was the guest of Page & Palette Book Shop at the Fairhope Grand Festival of the Book.  I had the chance to speak, answer questions, and sign books right in the middle of the street!  Such a beautiful day.  Such a fantastic group of book lovers!


9/16/12 —  Check out today’s New York Times Book Review.  John Grogan, author of Marley and Me, says,

“What makes “Buddy” memorable is not just the tale of a boy’s fierce love for his dog but its harrowing portrayal of one of this nation’s most traumatic natural disasters.  From start to finish, “Buddy” is a testament to the human capacity to endure, to find hope in the sodden ruins of destroyed lives.”


9/13/12 —  Welcome to the world, Buddy!  May you find friends!


8/10/12 —  Even before it arrives in stores, Buddy has been named a Fall 2012 Selection by the Junior Library Guild.


7/15/12 —  Leading the way Kirkus Reviews gives the first review of Buddy, calling it

A touching tale of hope, of holding on when you can, and of letting go when it’s the right thing to do.”


Buddy will be in book stores on September 13, 2012, but is available for pre-order online right now.