Born July 31, 1930.
Taught by Mom, Sally, began reading easy books.

Had rheumatic fever at 8 and spent 3 months in bed. Did lots of reading and dreaming. First thoughts of becoming a writer.

Went through poetry period. Sent stuff to school newspaper. Hid my writings from my Mom.

Average student in high school, excelled in writing.

Brooklyn College, 1947. Proved I could not do chemistry, calculus. On leave since 1948.

US Army, Germany, 1951-53.

1954: Married Claire Medney, who later became my best editor and literary agent. She made me happy and was the mother of Heidi in 1962 and Roger in 1967.

Advertising copywriter from 1957 to 1969. Polished my writing and learned discipline.

1970: became fulltime writer.

Following Claire's death I married an old friend, Margery Nathanson, in 2000. We've been married 17 years, so far - all glorious.


It's no secret that I am a serious chocolate lover. Twenty years ago my friend, Barbara Wexler, gave me this recipe for the deepest, darkest, fudgeyist brownie I ever tasted. Now I am sharing it with friends and readers. Warning:
they are habit-forming.

1 stick butter, 1/​4 tsp salt
3 sq. unsweetened chocolate
1 cup sugar, 2 eggs
3/​4 cup flour, 1/​4 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp vanilla,
6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips

Melt butter with chocolate. Let cool. Add eggs. Beat well. Add dry ingredients, vanilla, beat until very smooth. Fold in chocolate chips. Grease 8"x 8" pan with butter or shortening. Bke at 350 exactly 29 minutes. Brownies can be cut, wrapped in foil and frozen. Delicious out of the freezer or slightly warm.

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The Squeaky Wheel


I've long considered "The Squeaky Wheel" my best work. Now, after being out-of-print, it is once more available. It's a story that deals with a tough subject, divorce, without flinching or sugar-coating anything. You'll like Mark Baker and root for him when his nice simple world falls apart. Right from the beginning when he faces a new start in a new school where he has no friends. And living in a small apartment instead of the sweet house he'd always adored. When is Mark going to see the Dad he loves again?

Leavened with laugh-out-loud humor, the story begins on the first day of school and ends at Thanksgiving. If you liked 'Chocolate Fever" or "The War With Grandpa, you won't want to miss "The Squeaky Wheel."

Available only online at:​​Barnes &

Chocolate Fever

My first kids book that's become a classic. It's a wild and wacky adventure with lots of surprises and laughs. Winner of the Massachusetts Childrens Book Award...about a boy who loves his chocolate bitter, sweet, light, dark and daily!

The War With Grandpa

Winner of 11 State Reading Awards, Grandpa is probably my best pure story. When Grandpa moves into the house and takes Peter's room, he has to fight back. But declaring war on Grandpa may be too much. A fast and funny read, but touching and important in what it says.

The War with Grandpa is being made into a major motion picture, opening in February, 2018!!

Jelly Belly

Kids have told me Jelly Belly is my funniest book. But I remember being the fattest boy in fifth grade and that wasn't funny to me. I hope you get to read it and make up your own mind. Winner of 3 State Reading Awards. Ned Robbins is a hero I admire.

Mostly Michael

Michael Marder is a lot like me when I was breezing through school without ever studying or trying too hard. But Michael gets a diary as a present, and writing things down sure concentrates his mind. It's a year-in-the-life of a kid with a lot to learn. So why does reading the ending bring tears to my eyes?

Bobby Baseball

What happens when a Little Leaguer can't live up to his own dreams of glory? It's tough. I spent five years managing my own son's team through glory and disaster before I wrote Bobby Baseball. If you love baseball, this one's for you. "Smith delivers his most satisfying performance," says BOOKLIST in a starred review.

Sadie Shapiro’s Knitting Book
- an adult novel

Sadie Shapiro is the heroine of one of the funniest, warmest novels in years. Sadie is seventy-two years old, or perhaps, seventy-five (she isn't quite sure) and lives in the Mount Eden Senior Citizens Hotel. When she submits 50 of her best knitting patterns to an ailing publishing firm, the course of her life changes. Not only is her book published, but Sadie becomes the peoples' darling, the pure-gold TV talk show guest who knits herself into the fabric of myth. A big-hearted, moving, hilariously irresistible book.

Jane's House -
an adult novel

The most moving, beautiful, realistic book about loving, losing and picking up the pieces and getting on with life that I have read in a long time, maybe ever," says Judy Blume. Jane's House is an American Library Association "Best Book for Young Adults" and a nationwide best-seller.