Whoopi Goldberg Bases New Children's Book on Friends and Family

10/24/2008 at 02:55 PM EDT

Whoopi Goldberg Bases New Children's Book on Friends and Family
Whoopi Goldberg
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Add children's book author to Whoopi Goldberg's extensive resume. The View co-host has penned the book Sugar Plum Ballerinas: Plum Fantastic, a tale inspired by her own family and friends.

"I've tried to describe all the strong girls and women that I know and bring the best of them to these characters," Goldberg told PEOPLE at a Barnes and Noble book signing in New York City Thursday.

The characters highlighted in Plum Fantastic – the first in a series that introduces six girls from different backgrounds who attend a ballet school in Harlem – have also been "named after my daughter, grandchildren and my friends," says Goldberg.

But her only grandson, Mason, 10, will have to wait for the next book for his name to appear. "My grandson is coming up in the next one but he was annoyed with me because he wasn't it in the first book." Longtime pals S. Epatha Merkerson from Law & Order and actress Debbie Allen are a few of her famous friends named in the story.

Though Goldberg, 52, and her co-hosts on ABC's The View may be drawing lots of attention for their heated political debates, she tells PEOPLE, "There are no feuds. It's nothing more than open discussions and it's never personal."

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