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Candlewick Press

Copyright © 2013 Lisa Moser
Illustrations Copyright © 2013  Valeri Gorbachev

Plant Wreath 6

The story

The Monster in the Backpack is the story of a lively little monster and the girl who comes to love him.   Annie is shocked to discover that her new backpack comes with pink and blue flowers, a zipper, and a monster!  Happily unaware, the monster eats Annie’s lunch, plops bubble gum in her boots and tears up her homework for a parade.  Frustration grows until the monster surprises Annie with his kindness.  Annie discovers that she loves the monster, too.  The Monster in the Backpack is about coming to appreciate and love someone totally different from yourself.

Flower Garland 5

How it was written. . .

The story

I got the idea for The Monster in the Backpack  from our dog, Hawkeye.  When he was a puppy, he was a definite rascal.  Here is a list of the things he ate or chewed up:

● a birthday cake
● two pumpkin pies -a picnic table
● four bushes
● one tree
● a telephone cable.  He had to dig down about two feet to get to it first, though.
● a big dictionary
● bubble gum
● several crayons
● even his own doghouse

The funniest thing Hawkeye ever ate, though, was my students’ homework.  I was a fifth grade teacher in Worthington, Ohio, and I brought home some assignments to grade.  I put the papers on the coffee table and went to get a Diet Coke to drink.  When I returned, Hawkeye had chewed every single paper into tiny little bits. It looked like it had snowed in our living room!  You can imagine my embarrassment when I went to school the next day and had to say to my students, “My dog ate your homework!”  They didn’t mind because I gave them all A’s for that assignment.  I think they may have even secretly wished Hawkeye would do that again, but he didn’t. 


In spite of all the trouble he caused, we loved Hawkeye very much.  He brought us great joy and happiness, and I hope The Monster in the Backpack does the same for every reader.  


Lisa Moser - slide 1.jpg

This is the guy that inspired The Monster in the Backpack. I wonder what he just finished chewing?

Lisa and Sindy in It costumes.jpg

My mom made these monster costumes for the Kids' Day Parade. I'm the green one, and my sister is the pink one.  We matched our favorite "It" dolls.


  • A Parenting magazine (Dec./Jan. 2007) “Book of the Year” selection for the newly independent reader category.  Ages 5-9

  • Spirited and offbeat alternative to easy readers depicting more orthodox friendships.—The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

  • Author Lisa Moser’s training in elementary education and reading is obvious. She captures the mindset of her school-aged readers while using attainable vocabulary.
    —Richmond Times-Dispatch

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