As a kid, Sunday was always one of my favorite days. Not because I didn’t have school. I was lucky enough to have incredible teachers all throughout my life, and so, most of the time, I looked forward to going to school. No, Sundays were so great because that was the day that the comics came.
Early in the morning, my mom or dad would head down to the end of our driveway to grab the newspaper. They’d bring it inside and leave it on the counter, and as soon as I got downstairs, I’d pick through it until I found the comics section. And then I’d read them — every single one, usually multiple times. I’d even read those comics whose humor was generally aimed at the paper’s adult readers. Those jokes flew over my head, but I didn’t care. I was addicted to the brightly colored panels, to the halftone patches, to all that wonderful, smudgy ink.
All of which is why I was so excited when my pal Jen de Oliveira reached out to me about a project she and fellow author-illustrator Mika Song were putting together. The project, she said, was going to be called Sunday Haha, and it was going to try and recreate for today’s kids that Sunday-morning-comics excitement. How? By getting together a group of kid lit creators to make weekly comics and send them to kids (or their parents or guardians) via a FREE email newsletter on Sunday mornings.
I am thrilled to have some of my own comics included in Sunday Haha — especially as they are sharing a space with the work of some of my favorite creators! My series of strips will star this little guy:
His name is Cooper — and he was named that by my daughter! — and I hope kids will enjoy following along as he explores his world.
You can sign up for Sunday Haha HERE. I hope you will consider doing so. And if you enjoy the comics, I encourage you to seek the other work of the creators involved. They all have excellent social media presences, and many have books out — from picture books to graphic novels — that can be found wherever books are sold.
Earlier this morning, I turned in Book 3 of the EngiNerds series, and then shared this picture on my social media feeds:
Those sticky note-busy copies of EngiNerds and Revenge of the EngiNerds are the personal copies I used throughout the writing of Book 3 in order to check for continuity, both in terms of content and style. And that printout of Book 3 on the right marks the first occasion I’ve publicly shared the title of the third book: The EngiNerds Strike Back!
The book is scheduled for a Spring 2021 release, but keep an eye out for an exact publication date as well as a cover reveal. Thanks to everyone who has supported me and this series thus far. It means the world to me!
Six weeks ago, I launched my Draw the Author Contest to find a new author portrait for my upcoming series of Geeger the Robot early chapter books. The contest was only open for three weeks, but in that time, I received hundreds of submissions from kids all over the country (and a couple dozen from kids abroad, too!). Looking through the submissions was both delightful — there was so much talent on display! — and stressful — how was I going to choose just one of these amazing drawings?! I mean, I knew the decision was going to be tough. But I didn’t quite realize it was going to be this tough.
In the end, after poring over the submissions for several days, I decided that I, in fact, couldn’t pick just one drawing. But I figured I could pick, say, four drawings. And there just so happens to be FOUR books in the Geeger the Robot series. And so, my publisher and I decided to include a different portrait in each of the four books.
Now, without further ado, I present to you the winners of the Draw the Author Contest…
Appearing in Book 1 of the Geeger the Robot series will be this portrait by kindergartener Noah:
Appearing in Book 2 of the Geeger the Robot series will be this portrait by 3rd grader Annabelle:
Appearing in Book 3 of the Geeger the Robot series will be this portrait by 6th grader Dominic:
And appearing in Book 4 of the Geeger the Robot series will be this portrait by 5th grader Ariah:
THANK YOU to every kid who entered my contest, and THANK YOU to every adult who shared the contest with their students and/or kids. I am BEYOND excited to be able to feature these incredible kid creations in my books.
I’m super excited to share that the rights to the audiobook edition of EngiNerds were recently purchased by Tantor Media, and that the book is currently in production and scheduled for a June 16, 2020 release! Narrating the book will be James Fouhey! James received classical training at Boston University and the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts, and has gone on to record over 150 audiobooks. Once, James even voiced a rapping kid dinosaur — so, you know, he’s got some experience with off-the-wall characters. All of which is to say that, if there’s anyone I trust to voice my bottomlessly hungry, dangerously flatulent robots, it’s James.
In the past couple weeks, the world has been turned upside down. The coronavirus pandemic has ground pretty much all our lives to a halt. As of this morning, a third of the population of the United States was told to stay in their homes and only leave in the case of an emergency, and the same is true for countries and communities all over the world. The schooling of hundreds of millions of children was put on hold, and is now being conducted virtually or being done by parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, siblings, or neighbors.
Thinking about those kids — especially those who may not have access to the sorts of resources that their schools, teachers, and librarians would usually provide them with — I ramped up production of my free activity sheets. I’ve been posting a brand new batch of them every morning for the past week or so, and plan to continue doing so for as long as I can. You can find all those sheets be clicking the ACTIVITIES tab up in the menu bar, or by clicking here.
And now, starting Monday, I will be doing something else — something to help out any kids who want or need access to more reading materials. I will be releasing one of my unpublished novels, Knights of the Kids’ Table. I plan to post a few chapters every Monday and Thursday morning, and then archive the posts on a new page at this site (you’ll be able to find a link to that page up in the menu bar as soon as it’s ready). It’ll probably take a couple months to get the end of the book.
I am far from the only children’s book maker who is sharing resources at this time. Here are just a few of the lists going around sharing more of the wonderful stuff being shared by members of the kid lit community: Today.com’s “How to homeschool during the coronavirus crisis with free resources”; Fast Company’s “Stuck at home? Take free drawing classes from famous illustrators”; and We Are Teachers’ “The Big List of Children’s Authors Doing Online Read Alouds & Activities”.
The first book in my Geeger the Robot early reader series doesn’t come out for another six months, but just last week, both the hardcover and paperback editions (they’re releasing simultaneously) became available for preorder. Preordering is a GREAT way to support creators whose books you enjoy. It signals to their publisher that you are excited about their work, which can lead to increased support, and also lets booksellers know that they should stock — and possibly provide special promotion and/or in-store placement for — their latest offerings.
If you are interested in preordering a copy of Geeger the Robot Goes to School, you can do so from anywhere that books are sold. But if you REALLY want to offer your support (for me, in this case, or for ANY other book-makers out there), preordering from an independent bookseller is especially awesome. If you’ve got a local indie you prefer to shop at, that’s great! If not, you can use the wonderful IndieBound — click here to head to their page for the Geeger books — OR order from my local indie, Porter Square Books — click here to head to their page for the Geeger books. And if you order ANY of my books from Porter Square Books, I’ll swing by the shop and sign them for you before they get shipped out.
Thanks, as always, for the support!!!
If you simply haven’t been able to bring yourself to pay hardcover price for a book that has not one, but TWO farting creatures on the cover, you’re in luck! Starting today, you can get yourself the paperback edition of Revenge of the EngiNerds. It’s sleeker, lighter, and cheaper — but I promise, it contains the same amount of fart jokes as the hardcover version. Though, I suppose, it does contain more fart jokes per ounce . . . And more fart jokes per square inch . . .
In any case, the book is now available wherever books are sold. So if you’re interested, head to your local bookstore or preferred online retailer and check it out!