Amelia Bedelia

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Amelia Bedelia
The first book, Amelia Bedelia, featuring the most common depiction of Amelia (1963).

AuthorPeggy Parish, Herman Parish
IllustratorWallace Tripp, Fritz Siebel, Lynn Sweat, Lynne Avril, Barbara Siebel Thomas
CountryUnited States
GenreChildren's literature
PublisherHarper Collins Children's Books (I can Read Books)
Media typePrint
No. of books41 (List of books)
Statue of Amelia Bedelia at the Manning, South Carolina public library.

Amelia Bedelia is the protagonist and title character of a series of American children's books that were written by Peggy Parish from 1963 until her death in 1988, and by her nephew, Herman, beginning in 1995. They have been illustrated by Wallace Tripp, Fritz Siebel, and the two current illustrators, Lynn Sweat and Lynne Avril. In 1992 HarperCollins republished the three original stories (Amelia Bedelia; Thank You, Amelia Bedelia; and Amelia Bedelia and the Surprise Shower) with illustrations by Fritz's daughter, Barbara Siebel Thomas.

There is a statue of Amelia Bedelia in Manning, South Carolina, Peggy Parish's hometown.[1]

Many of the books are published as part of the I Can Read! series, levels 1 and 2.[2]


The stories involve Amelia Bedelia's repeatedly misunderstanding various commands of her employer by taking figures of speech and various terminology literally, causing her to perform incorrect actions with a comical effect. For example, she interprets a request to "put the lights out" as a request to physically put the light bulbs outside. Part of the reason given for this behavior is that she comes from a family who takes everything literally: their method of ridding their house of dust is to "un-dust" rather than dust the furniture. However, she almost always manages to win everyone over at the end with her excellent cooking, particularly of desserts. Much of her employment is as a maid for a wealthy couple known as the Rogers, who are astute enough to realize her literalism and write their requests as "un-dust the furniture" and "put the wet towels in the laundry and replace them with clean dry ones", as opposed to simply "change the towels".

Authorship change[edit]

Following Parish's death, children would send in fan letters asking about the continuation of the book series. Her nephew, Herman, felt uncomfortable to let her work be continued by someone not in the family. He then undertook authorship in 1995 with the full support of his family.[3]

In 2009, Herman began writing books about Amelia Bedelia's own childhood experiences, starting with Amelia Bedelia's First Day of School, illustrated by Lynne Averill.

List of books[edit]

Author Original series
Peggy Parish
  • Amelia Bedelia (1963)
  • Thank You, Amelia Bedelia (1964)
  • Amelia Bedelia and the Surprise Shower (1966)
  • Come Back, Amelia Bedelia (1971)
  • Play Ball, Amelia Bedelia (1972)
  • Good Work, Amelia Bedelia (1976)
  • Teach Us, Amelia Bedelia (1977)
  • Amelia Bedelia Helps Out (1979)
  • Amelia Bedelia and the Baby (1981)
  • Amelia Bedelia Goes Camping (1985)
  • Merry Christmas, Amelia Bedelia (1986)
  • Amelia Bedelia's Family Album (1988)
Author Adult Amelia cont. Amelia's childhood series
Herman Parish
  • Good Driving, Amelia Bedelia (1995)
  • Bravo, Amelia Bedelia! (1997)
  • Amelia Bedelia 4 Mayor (1999)
  • Calling Doctor Amelia Bedelia (2002)
  • Amelia Bedelia and the Christmas List (2003)
  • Amelia Bedelia, Bookworm (2003)
  • Happy Haunting, Amelia Bedelia (2004)
  • Amelia Bedelia Goes Back to School (2004)
  • Be My Valentine, Amelia Bedelia (2005)
  • Amelia Bedelia, Rocket Scientist? (2005)
  • Amelia Bedelia Under Construction (2006)
  • Amelia Bedelia's Masterpiece (2007)
  • Amelia Bedelia and the Cat (2008)
  • Amelia Bedelia Talks Turkey (2008)
  • Amelia Bedelia Bakes Off (2010)
  • Go West, Amelia Bedelia! (2011)
  • Amelia Bedelia, Cub Reporter (2012)
  • Amelia Bedelia's First Day of School (2009)
  • Amelia Bedelia's First Valentine (2009)
  • Amelia Bedelia's First Apple Pie (2010)
  • Amelia Bedelia's First Field Trip (2011)
  • Amelia Bedelia Makes a Friend (2011)
  • Amelia Bedelia's First Vote (2012)
  • Amelia Bedelia Sleeps Over (2012)
  • Amelia Bedelia Unleashed (2013)
  • Amelia Bedelia Means Business (2013)
  • Amelia Bedelia Hits the Trail (2013)
  • Amelia Bedelia's First Library Card (2013)
  • Amelia Bedelia Road Trip! (2013)
  • Amelia Bedelia Tries her Luck (2013)
  • Amelia Bedelia Joins the Club (2014)
  • Amelia Bedelia Goes Wild (2014)
  • Amelia Bedelia Shapes Up (2014)
  • Amelia Bedelia Chalks One Up (2014)
  • Amelia Bedelia Cleans Up (2015)
  • Amelia Bedelia Is for the Birds (2015)
  • Amelia Bedelia Sets Sail (2015)


Several theatre productions have been produced based on the series, including by the Serendipity Theatre Company in West Hollywood, California in 1994,[4] the Omaha Theater for Young People in 2001,[5] the San Diego Junior Theatre in 2002,[6] the SCERA Theatre in Orem, Utah in 2008,[7] and the Art Centre Theatre in Plano, Texas in 2011.[8]

Universal Studios and Playtone partners Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman reportedly bought the rights to produce a live-action feature film adaptation of Amelia Bedelia in 2005, but the project never materialized.[9]

In 2021, an episode of This American Life featured a segment based on the character, reimagining her as working from home.[10]


  1. ^ "HarperCollins Children's: Meet Amelia Bedelia. Retrieved June 16, 2010". 2010-05-27. Retrieved 2013-04-14.
  2. ^ "I Can Read! Amelia Bedelia". Harper Collins. Archived from the original on 2013-06-25. Retrieved 24 June 2013.
  3. ^ "HarperCollins Children's: Meet Amelia Bedelia". Retrieved 2016-11-20.
  4. ^ Meeks, Christopher (29 March 1994). "Review: Amelia Bedelia". Variety. Retrieved 11 June 2013.
  5. ^ "Come Back, Amelia Bedelia". Retrieved 11 June 2013.
  6. ^ San Diego Junior Theatre. "Shows: 2001-2002: Come Back, Amelia Bedelia". Archived from the original on 20 June 2013. Retrieved 11 June 2013.
  7. ^ Pugmire, Genelle (12 March 2008). "Stage review: 'Amelia Bedelia' will delight kids". Deseret News. Retrieved 11 June 2013.
  8. ^ Dallas News. "The Art Centre Theatre presents Amelia Bedelia". Archived from the original on 20 June 2013. Retrieved 11 June 2013.
  9. ^ Variety staff (21 April 2005). "'Amelia Bedelia' coming to big screen". Variety. Retrieved 24 June 2013.
  10. ^ "Amelia Bedelia Works From Home". This American Life. 2021-11-13. Retrieved 2021-11-15.

External links[edit]