Photo by Amy Wilton


Melanie Ellsworth is the author of HIP, HIP…BERET! (HMH, 2021), CLARINET AND TRUMPET (HMH, 2021), and BATTLE OF THE BOOKS (Little Bee, 2022). She has worked as a literacy specialist and an ESOL teacher, meeting fascinating students from all over the world. Now, she writes picture books and middle grade novels in Maine where she lives with her husband, daughter, and coworker dog. New book ideas often strike on her daily walks through the meadow and down to the river. Melanie is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and the Soaring ‘20s High Flying Books for Kids and Teens. She also volunteers to plan events for the New England SCBWI’s Equity & Inclusion Committee.

See my Press Kit for standard author bio and high-res images.


I grew up in Massachusetts, next to the town of Concord where lots of interesting writers have lived – Louisa May Alcott and Henry David Thoreau, just to name a few. 

Taking my dog on walks is one of my favorite activities; we observe the way the landscape changes with the changing seasons.

my previous coworker, who lived 16 wonderful years – the goofy and inspiring Baxter


my current coworker, Marvel, who spent his first 2 1/2 years in a shelter and now has a new home and a new job as my muse!

When my daughter joins our walks, we usually have a stop or two along the way so she can climb a tree. Once upon a time, I was a pretty accomplished tree climber myself and could find all of the coziest hollows. 

Traveling is another favorite pastime. As part of an AmeriCorp NCCC team in ‘95/’96, I visited several of our country’s western states doing trail building and educational work. I’ve also lived in Costa Rica (for a year) and backpacked around Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and Africa.

These days, reading is my substitute for traveling. Books have always transported me to far-flung places and times. When I was around 10 years old, my mom read aloud to me from Charles Dickens’ novels! 

a few of my favorite childhood books

I grew up in a musical family, and my years playing the clarinet inspired one of my first published picture books, CLARINET AND TRUMPET. 

I enjoy volunteering when I can. My daughter and I walk dogs at our local shelter every Sunday. That’s how we met and ended up adopting Marvel! Some of my favorite volunteer experiences have been:

  • working together with a Peace Corps volunteer and a neighborhood organization to build water tanks in Bomet, Kenya
  • volunteering at a hospice care facility
  • choosing new books for my daughter’s school library and creating bookshelf displays