BOOK SPOTLIGHT w/ INTERVIEW: Double or Nothing with the Two and Only Kelly Twins by Johanna Hurwitz


What's the same about identical twins -- and what's different? Sleepovers, poetry projects, and new haircuts are in play as seven-year-old Arlene and Ilene start coming into their own.
Arlene and Ilene love so many things about being identical twins. They like sharing a room, sharing friends, and wearing matching outfits. But they're in different classes at school, and one twin has a scar that the other one doesn't. One morning, their friends Monty and Joey point out a new difference that takes the sisters by surprise and gets them thinking: if they are identical twins, why are there differences between them at all? Their tongues must be the same, so why do they like different kinds of ice cream? Why does Arlene wear pink nail polish while Ilene thinks it's silly? Why is Ilene sleeping soundly when Arlene is awake, wondering how she can be sure that she is Arlene, not Ilene? Revisit the funny, lovable characters from The Two and Only Kelly Twins and take a peek at the wonders -- and puzzles -- of being an identical twin.



Johanna Hurwitz is a former children’s librarian and the award-winning author of more than seventy books for children, including The Two and Only Kelly Twins and four books about Arlene and Ilene’s friend Monty, who lives on their street. Ms. Hurwitz divides her time between Great Neck, New York, and Wilmington, Vermont. To learn more, and to download a free curriculum guide, visit her website:

Johanna Hurwitz’s lovely interview with the NYPL.

“These realistic predicaments with warm resolutions will fare well with the chapter-book set. Singletons' interest in twins will be piqued while multiples will find much to relate to.”
—Kirkus Reviews

“Accessible text and frequent illustrations make this a friendly pick for young readers tackling their first chapter books. Themes of identity and self-discovery join amiable characters reminiscent of Clementine, Ivy, and Bean, making this a solid addition to early chapter-book collections.”


*What did you enjoy most about writing a story about twins?

Although I was not a twin, nor ever gave birth to twins, suddenly by writing about Arlene and Ilene, I did indeed become their mother. I thought about what they might say and do together, how they would get along and how they might sometimes argue. In other words, they were just like all siblings with the added difference that they didn’t appear different at all.

*What do you enjoy/dislike the most about writing in general?

Just as reading books has expanded my world and allowed me to travel anywhere and in any time period, similarly I love writing because I enjoy the chance to do the same thing while sitting at my desk. Even writing fiction, authors do research to help fill in the blanks in their knowledge. I visited a llama farm when I wrote A LLAMA IN THE FAMILY, read old newspapers on microfilm when I wanted to know more about the tornado that my mother had lived through in Lorain, Ohio in 1924 when I wrote THE RABBI’S GIRLS, visited the Baseball Hall of Fame when I wrote BASEBALL FEVER. I’ve learned so much by writing fiction.

What do I dislike about writing? Sending off a completed story and discovering that an editor didn’t like my efforts.

*What advice would you give to a child wanting to be a writer?

The best advice I can give to a child wanting to be a writer is to read, read, read. All writers read a great deal. By reading one learns how to pace a story and make it interesting and exciting. The other piece of advice that I give children and adults too is to believe in oneself. Do you know how many times J.K. Rowling’s first book about Harry Potter was turned down?

*What do you enjoy reading?

I love to read novels, memoirs, books with humor, and books about travel. 

*What is something that most people don’t know about you?

I am still friends with the fourth grade classmate who illustrated my first “book.” Of course the book was never published because it really isn’t very good. But my friend Marilyn made wonderful pictures and I’ve kept the book all these years to prove to everyone that I started writing a very long time ago.  


One lucky winner will receive both books featuring the Kelly twins--THE TWO AND ONLY KELLY TWINS and DOUBLE OR NOTHING WITH THE TWO AND ONLY KELLY TWINS (U.S. addresses), courtesy of Candlewick Press.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Thanks for the interview today! I will have fun reading this book--I've never read a book featuring twin protagonists before. I already love these characters based on the synopsis. We love to read in this house.

  2. First I have To tell you its so great to offer actual books. Dnt get me wrong the internet is great but I miss people holding a book. The smell of books. The worn pages and even when someone maybe underlined somthing. This book sounds great for my grandaughter

  3. LOL ~ I have twins and the only thing they have in common is their love to read! Outside of that ~ meh...

  4. This book sounds wonderful ~


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