The Most Surprising Celebrities to Write Children’s Books
by Jennifer Lafferty
Writing children’s books has become a popular side gig for celebrities, even among some of the most outrageous entertainers. Many stars share their own inspiring or humorous childhood memories in the context of these stories, which often turn out to be popular with kids and parents alike. From Madonna to Perez Hilton, here are the most surprising celebrity children’s book authors.
She may be a master at reinvention, but everyone was surprised when Madonna conquered the children’s fiction market by penning bestseller The English Roses in 2003, launching a popular series of books about English school girls.
One of the wildest celebrities to write a children’s book is Rolling Stones’ guitarist Keith Richards, who wrote Gus & Me: The Story of My Granddad and Me, illustrated by his daughter Theodora Richards, in 2014.
It’s hard to imagine Whoopi Goldberg writing about little ballerinas, but the edgy comedienne has written an entire juvenile book series, Sugar Plum Ballerinas, about the antics of aspiring young dancers attending a ballet school.
Jay Leno utilized his famous sense of humor to write the memoir-based children’s story, If Roast Beef Could Fly, and the instructional joke book, How to Be the Funniest Kid in the Whole Wide World.
Actor, rapper, screenwriter and producer Will Smith added children’s author to his credits in 2003, with Just the Two of Us, a celebration of fatherhood, combining lyrics from Smith’s 1997 version of the R&B song with Kadir Nelson’s illustrations.
Reality star and entrepreneur Bethenny Frankel wrote the kids’ book Cookie Meets Peanut. Like many celebrities, Frankel drew inspiration for this 2014 picture book about a diva dog and a new baby from her own life.
Golden Globe-winning British comedian Ricky Gervais penned the wacky picture book series Flanimals, about a group of gruesome and very unique monsters. Fun rather than scary, the book reflects Gervais’ offbeat, irreverent brand of humor.
A big departure from his previous books, like Red Carpet Suicide, provocative celebrity blogger Perez Hilton authored the 2011 children’s story The Boy with Pink Hair, focusing on the importance of being yourself and embracing your individuality.
For a boxer, George Foreman can be surprisingly sensitive, even writing the 2005 children’s book Let George Do It! Inspired by his own family, the humorous story revolves around Big George and his five sons, all named George.
Outrageous TV personality Sharon Osbourne toned things down, but retained her feisty persona when she wrote the 2013 Disney Storybook, Mama Hook Knows Best: A Pirate Parent’s Favorite Fables, about the mother of Captain Hook.
Actor/TV personality Mario Lopez has written two children’s books, including 2009’s Mud Tacos with his sister Marissa Lopez Wong, and Mario and Baby Gia in 2011. The books are geared toward preschoolers and focus on family life.
Comedian and bestselling author Jerry Seinfeld put his hilarious observational humor to use writing the 2002 picture book titled Halloween. The book, featuring a character who strongly resembles Seinfeld, was illustrated by James Bennett.
Actor and pilot John Travolta’s 1997 book Propeller One-Way Night Coach: A Fable for All Ages, follows an eight-year-old boy who dreams of flying a plane and begins his journey when his actress mother decides to move to Hollywood.
Queen Latifah wrote the rhyming book Queen of the Scene, which centers on an athletic little girl who rules the playground. Latifah wanted to write this empowering read to show children the importance of believing in yourself.
A prolific celebrity children’s author, Spike Lee has written several kids’ books with wife Tonya Lewis Lee including: Please, Baby, Please, which could be the title of one of his grown up movies, and Giant Steps to Change the World.