By Jessie Levine
Special to the Palisades News
Claudia Harrington is a mom, wife, realtor and children’s book author—a true jack-of-all-trades, and a Pacific Palisades resident of 22 years. On Jan. 14, she held a book-launch party for her second series of children’s books, at Children’s Book World, 10580 W. Pico Blvd.
Harrington’s newest book series (released by Abdo Publishing) is a set of four early chapter books, aimed at children aged 5-9, called Hank the Pet Sitter.
“Poor Hank! It’s the first day of summer and his bike was ruined by his own dad!” The series follows the silly adventures of young Hank as he gets into the pet-sitting business in order to pay for a new bike. Along the way, he meets lovable and comical characters of many species.
Books one through four are Otis The Very Large Dog, Pickles the Very Hungry Pig, Yum-Yum the Very Spoiled Fish and Elmer the Very Sneaky Sheep. All employ the timeless power of laughter to interest and entertain young readers.
Harrington, who grew up in Connecticut, said “While the books aren’t based on my childhood, there are certainly bits and pieces that found their way in. For instance, Otis is a lot like my childhood dog, and we had some family friends whose sheep wandered into their house all the time.”
Harrington first discovered her love for children’s books while she was in college at Northwestern University. The one elective course she was able to take was Children’s Literature, and she absolutely loved it.
After Harrington graduated and moved to L.A. more than 30 years ago, she pursued acting. “I got a fair amount of work, specializing in nurses and pregnant women, but eventually wanted something else,” she said.
Once she had children of her own, her love of children’s books was rekindled.
When she found the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) more than 20 years ago, it was a natural match. “I felt like I was home, I had found my people,” Harrington said.
She first published a set of six picture books on the topic of family diversity—a subject that she feels needs to be further explored and discussed with children. The series details the many different ways that family life can look, through the books My Mom and Dad, My Two Moms, My Two Dads, My Two Homes, My Grandparents and My Military Mom.
When she’s not busy writing, Harrington is a realtor with Sotheby’s in the Palisades. This dynamic ability to wear both the hat of a realtor and that of an author “keeps me fresh. It allows me to think creatively and outside of the box. I think it makes me better at real estate.”
Asked if her two chosen lines of work have any commonalities, Harrington noted that each requires “perseverance, dedication and always a good sense of humor.”
Readers of her writing can expect another set of four children’s books to arrive early next year.
Harrington and her husband Ken, an IT manager for a local law firm, have a son, Emmett Kallmeyer, a sophomore at Palisades High School. Emmett’s older sisters, Tess and Gretchen, have moved away from home to pursue academia and professional careers.