Scandal-plagued Fergie attends NYC book fairBy KAREN MATTHEWS, Associated Press Writer Karen Matthews, Associated Press Writer – Wed May 26, 10:07 pm ET

NEW YORK – Speaking to booksellers and librarians Wednesday at a New York trade show where she was promoting her children’s books, the Duchess of York referred obliquely to the influence-peddling scandal that has sparked a firestorm of bad press.

“It was quite difficult for me to get to Javits Center this morning,” Sarah Ferguson said at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. “One or two people in the way. But then you might have read that.”

A British tabloid reported Sunday that the ex-royal was caught on video offering an undercover reporter access to her former husband, Prince Andrew, for $724,000.

Ferguson did not address the scandal directly during a panel with other children’s authors at BookExpo America, but she made several roundabout references to it.

“As you all know, I really don’t like grown-ups,” she said. “I do prefer children.”

Ferguson said a new book by one of her fellow authors gives us “reason to believe that problems can be solved.”

“I think I’ll read it immediately,” she quipped.

Summing up the panel of children’s book writers, she added: “We’ve learned from each one of you passion, we’ve learned forgiveness, and we’ve learned that real life is too extreme for fiction. I second that big time.”

Britain’s News of the World reported the influence-peddling story with a front-page headline that blared: “Fergie `sells’ Andy for 500K.”

Ferguson, 50, issued a statement apologizing for causing embarrassment and a “serious lapse in judgment” and said Andrew “was not aware or involved in any of the discussions that occurred.”

The duchess has written several children’s books including “Tea for Ruby” and a series featuring Budgie the helicopter.

Her latest series, from Sterling books, is called “Helping Hand Books” and includes four titles so far: “Matthew and the Bullies,” “Emily’s First Day of School,” “Ashley Learns About Strangers” and “Michael and His New Baby Brother.”

Scores of fans lined up to get copies of “Emily’s First Day of School” signed by the duchess in a large, looping script.

They said they were prepared to give her a break.

“She’s human,” said Jennifer Paley, a second-grade teacher from Schenectady, N.Y. “It’s probably hard to figure out who you can trust and who you can’t.”

Tim Domick, the library director at Rockland Community College in suburban New York, said he offered encouragement when the duchess signed his book.

“I told her, `This, too, shall pass,'” Domick said. “And I told her I love that she’s a little naughty. She said thank you.”

Susan Landis, a librarian from outside Philadelphia, said it was brave of Ferguson to attend the book fair.

“It was really gracious,” Landis said. “She could have bowed out and nobody would have said anything. She came and she’s doing her job.”

Landis said her library carries some of the duchess’s books, which she described as “not bad.”

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