See some of the stories & poems I wrote while I was growing up:
The Egg That Ran Away
The Lonely Rose
I wish....

I keep several things around the place where I work which help to inspire me.

Click here to find out more.

About Me



Betty G. Birney is best known as the author of the popular, award-winning According to Humphrey series, which will celebrate the 20 th anniversary of its debut in 2024.

The series includes twelve According to Humphrey books, eight Humphrey’s Tiny Tales books, three According to Og the Frog, books as well as several activity books. A new Humphrey book will be released in 2024.

In addition to the U.S., Humphrey books have been bestsellers in the UK, selected twice for World Book Day, and are also published in Germany, Poland, China, Japan, Israel, Belgium and Hungary. She has been a featured speaker at the Los Angeles Times Festival of books and the Edinburgh International Book Festival multiple times, and has spoken extensively at schools across the U.S., Canada, England, and Scotland.

In the U.S., the Humphrey books have won seven state Children’s Choice awards (voted on by children), three Children’s Crown Awards and a Christopher Award. Other awards for Humphrey books include twice being named Bank Street College of Education Best Children’s Book of the Year.

Her novel, The Seven Wonders of Sassafras Springs, was a California Young Readers Medal finalist and was named by Borders as a Best Book of the Year and chosen as Borders’ Original Voices selection. The book was also named a Judy Lopez Memorial Award Honor book by the Women’s National Book Association. Publisher’s Weekly called it “a gem of a novel.”

In addition, she has published a number of other novels and picture books including The Princess and the Peabodys, Tyrannosaurus Tex and Pie’s in the Oven.

In addition to writing books, Betty has written over 200 episodes of television shows which have garnered an Emmy award, three other Emmy nominations, three Humanitas Prizes, two other Humanitas nominations, and a prestigious Writer’s Guild of America Award. Other awards include the Webster University College of Arts and Sciences Outstanding Alumna award and the Affton (MO) School District Hall of Fame.

A native of St. Louis, MO, she has lived most of her adult life in Los Angeles. She is the widow of actor Frank Birney, and has a son, two stepdaughters, and two grandchildren.


Roller Skating I wrote my first "book" at age seven. It was called "Teddy Bear in the Woods" and was followed by a sequel. Luckily, my parents encouraged my writing and my sister, Janet, was a great writer and role model.

I didn't just write, however. When I wasn't roller-skating (my favorite pastime), I was riding my bike, playing piano, swimming, reading, playing cards and board games or just hanging out with my friends. I loved school, but I loved vacations, too!

From kindergarten through graduation, I attended school in Affton, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis. Then I graduated from Webster College (now Webster University) in Webster Groves, Missouri. Of course, I majored in English and kept on writing.


After working in advertising in St. Louis, Missouri and in Chicago, Illinois, I eventually moved to Southern California. First, I worked for Disneyland (fun job!) in the advertising department. The monorail whizzed past my window all day long. Then I worked at the Disney Studio in Burbank, where I had another fun job, writing and producing television and radio commercials and theatrical trailers (previews of coming attractions) for everything from re-releases of "Cinderella" and "Fantasia" to "Tex."

When the Disney Channel was started, I became a writer and story editor for WELCOME TO POOH CORNER. Since then, I've written more than 200 episodes of animated and live-action television programs including MADELINE, DOUG, BOBBY'S WORLD, DUMBO'S CIRCUS, THE PUZZLE PLACE, CAMP CANDY, LITTLE MOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE, WHERE'S WALDO, FRAGGLE ROCK and ZOOBILEE ZOO. That's right, I write cartoons! I also wrote a number of award-winning afterschool specials and many interactive CD-ROM programs, including the award-winning "Berenstain Bears on their Own," "Richard Scarry's Busiest Neighborhood Ever," and "The Crayon Factory."

A made-for-television family movie I wrote, MARY CHRISTMAS, starring John Schneider, Cynthia Gibb and Tom Bosley, aired on the PAX network in 2002. It was the highest rated movie in PAX history and has aired each Christmas season since then.

I have been fortunate enough to win many awards including a Writer's Guild of America Award, three Humanitas Prizes (as well as two other nominations.) I also won a Daytime Emmy Award for MADELINE, and two other Emmy nominations, a Christopher Award and many children's choice awards for THE WORLD ACCORDING TO HUMPHREY. I've been inducted into the Affton (MO) School District Hall of Fame and received the Outstanding Alumna Award from the College of Arts and Sciences at Webster University.

But my first love - going back to age seven - is writing books. Over the years, I've written more than 35 children's books, many of them on Disney themes.

on my desk Some people find it strange that I've worked in so many mediums but to me, a story is a story and I am a story-teller. Some stories are better told in a small flap book. Others belong on the big screen. Once I get "inside the story," it doesn't matter whether I'm telling the story of a honey-loving bear or a confused teenager; the process of creating characters and plots is really the same and never boring.

When I was a teenager, I wanted to be an actress, as well as a writer. While I later changed my mind, I ended up marrying an actor, FRANK BIRNEY. Through the years, I have watched him play everything from a tango-dancing butler to a presidential cabinet member. Once he even played a children's book writer! For six seasons, he played Judge Warren West on the ABC show, THE PRACTICE and he portrayed Judge William Howe in several episodes of BOSTON LEGAL. He's also been in shows like Grimm, Arrested Development, The Mick, Silicon Valley, Room 104, Animal Kingdom … and on and on. He has also appeared in numerous commercials including Tostitos, VitaminWater, IBM, Adobe Systems and more! Frank passed away from ALS in 2021, a difficult challenge he met with the greatest dignity and grace.
I have two wonderful stepdaughters and sons-in-law in Minneapolis, a son and daughter-in-law on the East Coast, and an amazing granddaughter and grandson.