Tuesday, March 23, 2010


Sometimes you just know you need to read something funny. A few years ago I got stuck at the car repair shop. I always keep an emergency book in my car, so I took out the book and read while my car was being repaired. The book I had in my trunk was Sold by Patricia McCormick. Though it is a wonderful (and now award winning book), it is not the story a person would want to read while her pocketbook is being drained. That’s the day I decided that only funny stories would be allowed to linger in the trunk. Now I keep a Junie B or a Judy Moody for emergencies.

Two weeks ago, I was speaking to Clark County School Librarians in Vegas. On the flight over, I took Pop by Gordon Korman. So, here I was, back to the car thing again. It was a wonderful, character-driven book about a football star and a 54 year old former NFL linebacker who had early onset of Alzheimer’s. Sigh. Not the most cheerful story. I raced to Borders (sorry independents) and bought one of the best LOL-Snort books I have read in awhile. It almost got me in trouble.

A Whole Nother Story by Cuthbert Soup is just that (Thanks, Connie). Fans of Lemony Snicket or Pseudenomymous Bosch (The Name of This Book is Secret, etc.) rejoice! Soup tells the story of a father with 3 children who are on the run from top secret government agents, international superspies and corporate villains. Their pink hairless dog alerts them to danger and they are off, trying to prevent the bad guys from stealing their almost-working time machine.

After every few chapters, there is a bit of timely advice. I knew I was in trouble when I got to the “much needed advice on tattoos.” “There was a time when, if you encountered someone with a tattoo, you could pretty much assume he was either a sailor or had, at one time or another, been in prison. There was something, it seemed, about men being cooped up together that made them want to draw on themselves.” At that point, I felt a LOL-Snort coming on. Because I was reading quietly in the back, I decided to give myself some timely advice, “When to Put the Book Down Before You Get into Trouble.”

Another hilarious book I recently read puts me in mind of Huck Finn, The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg by Rodman Philbrick. Huck doesn’t hold a candle to Homer when it comes to telling whoppers. That boy can scare up a story faster than butter melts off a plate in the desert. Read it. You’ll laugh out loud too. Just be careful about where you are when you start to snort.

Monday, March 8, 2010

The Word is Out!

My first book with Linworth Publishing, Scary, Gross and Enlightening: Books for Boys, Grades 3-12 is out. I have decided that publishing a book is kind of like producing a show. You work really hard for a long time behind the scenes and then you let it go. In a show, you rehearse the cast. You prepare the sets, costumes and lights. Then you let it go and hope for the best. In publishing, the editors and publishing company take over. One day, your copy comes in the mail. There it is.

I remember when I saw the movie, Julie and Julia, for the first time. The day her copy came was an ordinary day. Paul brought in the mail as usual, but there was a big envelope on the bottom of the pile. Like Julia, I opened the envelope, held my book to my chest and then cried. Finally, it was done. The show was delivered.

It actually has been released for awhile. But last week, I got the blessing of the library gods. It was reviewed in Curriculum Connections of School Library Journal- the featured professional title of all things! Being reviewed is one of the most terrifying things. You hope someone will review you, but you also hope he says something good. Getting the blessing from SLJ is amazing.

If you buy my book, I hope you will find it to be useful. I wrote it so that if I can’t get to your area, you can at least have a bit of what I would tell you. It’s for parents and educators who want to get boys to read. But as the review says, I chose great books that will work for all kinds of kids- even girls. Let 'em pick. Let 'em read.