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jon scieszka–spell it right…j-o-n

So then I went to see Jon Scieszka. If you’ve ever seen Jon Scieszka, you know he’s as funny as he looks, or…

Yes, one of Pete’s many famous pals.

Jon talked about his family, mostly. Be sure to read Knuckleheads: Tall Tales and Almost True Stories of Growing Up Scieszka.

It explains everything about what makes him tick. He’s the second of SIX BOYS. No girls. If you look at their pictures, they all look about the same age.

Holy cow.

Jon answered some questions at the end, of course. First his favorite books he’s written, and favorite book he’s read:

His favorite story from the Guys Read Books–THE ONE THE GUY’S EDITOR COULDN’T BEAR TO READ:

What he’s working on now. Something with Kate DiCamillo!

Of course he’s on tour promoting his latest SPACEHEADZ book.

The Spaceheadz books teach the kids to interact on the intrawebs, and there’s a nifty-frito website where readers can write their own stuff, read a blog, upload pictures. Major Fluffy even has a lame app.

If you ever have a chance to see Jon, geez. Don’t pass it up.

And bring your kids.

ellen hopkins, the writer teens trust

I have seen a load of fantastic authors recently, so I best get a-bloggin’. First up:

ELLEN HOPKINS

Apologies for the iPhone instead of the Flip. But hey, it’s better than a court room rendering.

The room was full of KIDS SHE WRITES FOR, rather than adults. There were some of those too, but I’d never been to a book signing before where kids were the majority. IT RAWKED.

I was a few rows back, so in the videos you can see two kids from the audience. Let me tell you that was a mixed bunch–kids in Catholic uniforms, goths, preppies, gay…everything. And they were talking to each other about the books. Even kids who didn’t know each other. OH THE WONDERFULNESS OF IT ALL.

First clip, Ellen reads from Crank. It’s important to her that readers hear the rhythm of her voice, so they know how they should read her books:

Could have heard a pin drop, I tell you.

She talked a bit about writing, in which she told us:

  THE FORMULA

TALENT+PERSEVERANCE+LUCK=PUBLICATION

She had this to say about her bouts with censorship:

She read again, this time from her new book, Perfect.

And then she told us the sad story of her daughter’s struggle with Meth, which many of her books are based on. Please note that when she presents at schools she shows before and after pictures of her daughter.

Does that sound like glorifying drug use to you?

She ended her talk with a plea to her readers to not touch drugs and to abstain from sex.

Gee. What a Danger to American Youth.

mark teague: writer, illustrator, knows where the bathroom is

Another day, another author signing at the Reading Reptile. The beautiful, amazing, children’s bookstore.

Did I mention I live two blocks away?

Why yes, I DO live a charmed life.

This time, the author in question is also an illustrator. Mark Teague! Scholastic has sent him on a junket! Yes, they still do that for the chosen few. Mark has a new book, LaRue Across America: Postcards From the Vacation.

This time, the book signing was held at 5PM, and the crowd was mostly kids and their moms. It made for a different kind of signing than I’m used to. If you’re going to be a picture book author, you’ve gotta tolerate low-level chaos.

Mark related a real-life scenario that helped inspire his new book:

And the kids (and adults) enjoyed recognizing it in the finished product:

And of course we all LOVE to watch an artist create. Do you find that when artists are drawing or painting, they usually have to stop talking?

Listen to these questions. Mostly, Mark tells the kids the same things he’d tell adults.

If you couldn’t hear that last part, Mark said illustrator Don Wood told him artists usually draw characters that look like themselves. And he said it while Mark was drawing a picture of Ike the dog!

Having an audience of mostly rugrats didn’t faze Mark:

In fact, I don’t think there’s much that fazes Mark:

Because he’s kind of a Renaissance guy. He writes. He illustrates. He’s written a middle grade, too. He’s broken a lot of rules:

And what makes him smile? Yup. Same thing that makes every writer smile.

Ye Gods, Freckles McYoungest is going to murderlize me. Let the record show she is SEVENTEEN.

And the Mark Teague book she is emotionally attached to?

 

‘Nuff said.

when adult lit writers go ya

I went to a book signing for a writer who is fairly well-known, but new to me. She’s primarily an adult author, but was in town to promote her second YA book.

Well, she gave an interesting talk. A little reserved, but perhaps that’s how adult authors are. Then it came time for questions.

There weren’t any.

A sure sign she hadn’t engaged the audience. Which consisted of a few dozen older adults, a trio of college-aged girls, and a homeschooler family with a tween and two teens.

After a few minutes of uncomfortable silence, some pity-questions popped up.

Where do you get your ideas?

What did you read when you were growing up?

How long did it take you to write this book?

What’s the difference between an adult book and a YA?

red alert*red alert*red alert*red alert*red alert

I certainly wanted to hear what she thought the difference was between adult and YA lit.

Here is my reconstituted and paraphrased but fairly accurate rendition of her answer:

“I can’t use such big words in YA. And I have to tone the sex way down.”

That would be a wrong answer.

To be fair, earlier she said the most creative stuff was happening in YA lit. She got THAT right.

But then she said she wanted to write YA because she had something to say to the youth out there.

ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ.

I have heard of her editor. She is brilliant, and knows the difference between an adult and YA novel. I’m sure she guided the manuscript well. I went ahead and bought the book, told the author I enjoyed her talk, because I did. I bet I’ll enjoy her book too.

But that answer about the difference between adult and YA is stuck in my craw, dames and dudes.

Next week I’ll give you a good answer to that question.



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