Fill under Too Good to Be True (Yet is). You know the kind of review you'd write for yourself if you could get away with it? Well, The New York Journal of Books has done a review of an advanced copy of FUN & GAMES. Can't share yet, but let's just say, it's more than I could have ever hoped for. We'll be adjusting this cover accordingly!
Coming this summer! (Scroll down for the back cover blurb...)The 1980’s: it’s the time of Dungeons & Dragons, banana clips, Atari, and raunchy teen comedies. Jonathan Schwartz is growing up in a family like no other. One sister spies on him, concocting Machiavellian schemes for her own entertainment, while the other’s flirtation with the porn industry threatens to drive a wedge between him and his buddies. And Jon’s Holocaust survivor grandparents? There simply are no words to describe their embarrassing coping techniques. A disastrous visit to Jon’s class by his grandmother unhinges his famous father, setting off a chain of events that threatens to send the dysfunctional Schwartz clan up in flames once and for all. Fun & Games is a heartbreaking and hilarious story of faith, family secrets, betrayal and death, but it’s also a tale of friendship, love, and some of the most unforgettable adolescent shenanigans of all time. In the end, it is the story of a generation.
Hark, another event!
What: 2nd release event for the paperback edition of THE BOOK OF NONSENSE (Sacred Books, Vol. I)
10 a.m.: Reading
10:30: Powerpoint presentation on breaking into publishing + Q&A
11 - 12: mingle/book signing
Where: Grassroots Books Reno
When: Saturday, January 19th
Who: You and your friends (enemies welcome, too : )
See you there!
Join us for THE BOOK OF NONSENSE paperback release party!
When: 11/30 from 4 - 9 p.m.
Where: Barnes & Noble Reno
Readings at 5, 6, 7, and 8 p.m.
See you there!
After a three year drought, looks like I'm back in the picture book game. A wordless book (my second), THE BOY & THE BOOK, will be published by Charlesbridge Publishing
. I know dates once the contract is worked out.
Humbled to receive this honor today. Here is my thank you "speech."I’d like to thank the City of Beaverton, the Beaverton Area Chamber of Commerce, and Mayor Doyle for this humbling honor.I’d like to take this opportunity to share your generous recognition. I hope it will not appear as false modesty when I say that I was only one part of the success of the Writing program at HS2.
What we built there was, first, a direct consequence of the Beaverton School District’s recognition that one size does not fit all when it comes to schools. Option schools are a godsend for thousands of students, and I’d like to thank Superintendant Jeff Rose for making sure they were not cut despite the current budget crisis. Many of the kids at HS2 go there because comprehensive high schools are simply not conducive to their success.
Second, I must credit HS2’s Principal, Steve Day, who had the wisdom to know that if you want students to learn to write, they should be given time to write. I could hardly believe it when he told me I would be designing and teaching yearlong writing courses. I made him say it twice. The courses have a dual-credit option in conjunction with PSU, but please note that all our juniors and seniors are enrolled in them. They are not drop-in classes strictly for high-achievers. I am tremendously gratefully to Sally Hudson and the Challenge-Link Program at Portland State, who provided support in myriad ways, including the donation of a set of mini-laptop computers, without which, classes like these would be nearly impossible to run.
What I saw in my short time at HS2 was truly amazing: 90 percent of the kids came into my room at the start of 11th grade hating to write and dreading what was in store for them (I know this because I asked them). At the end of their senior years, most of them told me the courses were among their favorites in high school. Our students in college have reported that they feel as or more prepared than their peers for college writing requirements.
But if you imagine that I stood in front of our kids on a daily basis issuing dramatic Dead Poet-like inspirational speeches about the soul-stirring power of the written word—you’d be wrong. I didn’t do that, not even once. If you poked your head into my classroom on any given day, you’d’ve seen me at my desk conferencing with students about their work, or writing feedback on drafts.
What I will take credit for is knowing that people are motivated to learn how to write well when they write on subjects they care about, when the work has personal meaning. This was my experience as a writer. (As an aside, let me also recognize and thank the Beaverton School District for being open-minded enough to allow me t
is pleased to announce that he is now represented by Sheree Bykofsky and Kathryn Patten of the Sheree Bykofsky Literary Agency.
I am humbled by the number of requests from folks to post the brief thank you/rant, I gave yesterday as part of SMART's 20th anniversary celebration. Here it is...
Greetings SMART people!
Let me start by thanking Stacy Goodwin and everyone at SMART for inviting me to participate in your 20thanniversary celebration. I very much appreciate the opportunity to thank you for what you do. I consider this a real privilege, so I plan to thank the living daylights out of you.
But let’s begin with bleakness and despair, shall we?
The statistics are awful: a 2009 study found one in four Americans read no books in a given year. Another found that 42% of people who graduate from college will never read another book (not even a Cliff’s Note). I've seen firsthand over my fifteen year teaching career how seldom kids read for pleasure, let alone what's assigned to them. This was made especially and depressingly clear to me a few months ago when news spread at my school that my Sacred Books series is being developed for film. Don’t get me wrong: there was genuine excitement. My students were thrilled. They congratulated me. They asked for staring rolls. They offered to ride along with me in the limo to the Academy Awards.
How many went and actually READ the books? Three. (I counted.)
Kids aren't reading books. Yes, wonderful, they are reading on-line, developing amazing multi-focused scanning skills, but I think it's fairly obvious from nationwide reading test scores that it doesn’t add up to genuine literacy.
What's our nation's answer?
When I was a student growing up in Pittsburgh, there were English classes. But there were also Reading classes. In some schools there were even Writing classes. A student might have all three. But at some point it was deemed prudent to combine Reading and English class—hence: Language Arts was born. Same class time, twice as much to teach. More recently, many budget-crunched schools decided to cram Social Studies into the curriculum, too. Hence: Humanities! In many schools, same class time, triple the curriculum! Reading, Writing, Literature and History: 45 minutes a day, go for it! And make sure you differentiate for the needs of every one of your two hundred students, some of whom can't read. Or speak much English. Or sit in a chair for sixty consecutive seconds. It doesn’t seem to alarm the powers-that-be that many who teach Humanities classes are former Social Studies teachers with
I'll be here this weekend! Special note: hardback JACQUES & SPOCK is out-of-print, so if you want a future collector's item, come and get 'em...
Paperback coming at last! October. Movie news much sooner. I hope!
My 12 Magic Wagon books are now available in downloadable e-book format. Go HERE, then navigate to each individual title.
My first radio interview!
Sunday 12/4 @ 5 p.m., on 107.1 fm or on the web at KZME.fm.
If I don't see you at Hollywood Library on Saturday, maybe Sunday at the Oregon Historical Society Author Cheer event? (Coupon on flyer below). --Dms
Will be signing books at Hollywood Library at this event Saturday (1 p.m. - 4 p.m.). You can stuff books into stockings if you shove 'em hard enough : ) I'm excited to try out the Square gizmo that will let me take credit cards via my Iphone. Big time! : )
Here's the latest news article on Sacred Books movie developments...
THE PLOT THICKENS FOR SACRED BOOKS SERIES
If you are feeling the need to see me, here is where I'll be this month.
Thanks and see you there?
•Oct. 8/9 @ Wordstock with Dale Basye: Booth 1107
•Oct. 12 @ Cedar Mill Elementary (4:15 - 5:30) for adults
•Oct. 15 @ OASL Conference in Seaside, OR (Session 8 - 9 a.m. / Signing 1:15-11:00)
•Oct. 20-22 @ Humbolt County Author Festival
•Oct. 26 @ Portland Reading Council Literacy Happy Hour (4:00-6:00) @ Chevy's (14991 Bangy Rd., Lake Oswego)
Sniff! A woman read The Book of Nonsense to her estranged mother who'd suffered a stroke. After two hours her mom turned over and began talking to her about the book and the many parts she related to. They read the rest together as she got settled into a rehab home. Honored and humbled by this reader's gratitude. Back at Booth 1107 tomorrow!
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The Portland Reading Council is hosting its first Literacy Happy Hour of the year on October 26 featuring yours truly. Join us for a highly entertaining event! When: Wed. Oct. 26 (4 p.m... to 6 p.m.) @ Chevy's (Lake Oswego)