Introducing Michele Weber Hurwitz

I'm so excited to be joining Smack Dab in the Middle. I've enjoyed reading the blog for years and I'm thrilled to be a contributor now! I'll be posting on the 14th of each month.

I decided I wanted to be a writer when I was in fifth grade. That's about the time all big decisions are made, right? I wrote my first book that year -- The Chair That Knew How to Dance -- and it was one of the winners in a school contest. The prize? Reading my story to kindergartners. I still remember their excited five-year old faces as I turned each page, and it was right then and there that I realized this writing and reading thing was a pretty cool deal.

Oddly enough, my PE teacher at the time, Mr. Phillips, taught me an invaluable lesson about perseverance, and the experience stayed with me during years of writing rejections. Trampolines were still allowed in gym class back then and I was having a rough time mastering a flip. During one attempt, I knocked my knees into my face and got a bloody nose. Before Mr. Phillips let me go to the nurse, he insisted I try one more flip, telling me that if I didn't, I'd never get on the trampoline again. And that was the time I did it.

In college, I majored in journalism, then worked in public relations and wrote a newspaper column and magazine articles. The urge to write a book (not with crayon and construction paper) came when I was in book clubs with my two daughters. I fell in love with middle grade, perhaps even more so as an adult than as a preteen.

I'm the author of three middle grade novels (soon to be four). Calli Be Gold was published in 2011 by Random House/Wendy Lamb Books. It was nominated for state reading awards in Illinois and Minnesota, and named a starred Best Book by the Bank Street College of Education. The Summer I Saved the World in 65 Days, published by Penguin Random House/Wendy Lamb Books in 2014, was nominated for state reading awards in Florida, Nebraska, and Pennsylvania. It was a selection for several Girl Scout troop book clubs and has been a popular summer read in many school districts in conjunction with kindness and community service projects.

My newest release (this month!) is Ethan Marcus Stands Up. Narrated by five seventh-graders, it's the story of one fidgety kid who decides to take a stand against sitting by inventing his own solution to stop his constant squiggling in class. There's a sequel coming in fall 2018 -- Ethan Marcus Makes His Mark.

In addition to my two daughters, Rachel and Cassie, I have a son, Sam. They're all young adults now so I can't stalk them as much for ideas and dialogue like I did when they were younger :) I live in the Chicago area with my kids and husband, a CPA, which is helpful because math and numbers are my kryptonite. I walk every day -- it's essential to my writing process -- and I'm pretty fanatical about ice cream and chocolate chip cookies. And broccoli, when necessary. I'm an awful cook (except for banana bread) and have a terrible sense of direction (except in malls). I love to travel! This summer I went to Prague, Vienna, and Budapest. I can't wait to share my posts with you! Visit me at

Michele's books:


  1. I'm SUCH a fan of THE SUMMER I SAVED THE WORLD. I can't wait to meet Ethan!

  2. Welcome! I adore imagining the story of THE CHAIR THAT KNEW HOW TO DANCE. And can't wait to read your more recent work. :)


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