What is JacketFlap

  • JacketFlap connects you to the work of more than 200,000 authors, illustrators, publishers and other creators of books for Children and Young Adults. The site is updated daily with information about every book, author, illustrator, and publisher in the children's / young adult book industry. Members include published authors and illustrators, librarians, agents, editors, publicists, booksellers, publishers and fans.
    Join now (it's free).

Sort Blog Posts

Sort Posts by:

  • in

Suggest a Blog

Enter a Blog's Feed URL below and click Submit:

Most Commented Posts

In the past 7 days

Recent Comments

MyJacketFlap Blogs

  • Login or Register for free to create your own customized page of blog posts from your favorite blogs. You can also add blogs by clicking the "Add to MyJacketFlap" links next to the blog name in each post.

Blog Posts by Tag

In the past 30 days

Blog Posts by Date

Click days in this calendar to see posts by day or month
new posts in all blogs
Viewing Blog: The Scop, Most Recent at Top
Results 1 - 25 of 158
Visit This Blog | Login to Add to MyJacketFlap
Blog Banner
The Website of Jonathan Auxier in which he posts drawings and thoughts about the state of children's books past and present.
Statistics for The Scop

Number of Readers that added this blog to their MyJacketFlap: 2
1. How to Get Signed Books!

Just as note as we approach this holiday season: If you want a signed/personalized copy of one of my books, please call Classic Lines Bookshop. They are right down the road and keep my books in stock — which makes it pretty easy for me to swing by and sign things. Just give them a ring and let them know you want a signed book shipped to your address. (If you want it personalized, make sure to let them what name you want in the book!)

Add a Comment
2. ARCS of SOPHIE QUIRE coming this week!

PrintHello pilgrims! Just posting a note that I’ll be at the American Association of School Librarians conference this weekend (Nov 6-7) with freshly printed arcs of Sophie Quire & the Last Storyguard! I’ll be signing free books on Saturday at 11:30 (at the Authorpalooza event)  and 5:30 (during the Meet & Greet). Supplies are limited, so if you want a book — come early!

If you can’t make the event, I’ll also be at NCTE doing a “Nerdy Book Club” panel on Saturday Nov 21 and an ALAN “Whodunnit” panel on  Monday, Nov 23!

Add a Comment
3. It’s done!

I am delighted to announce that after more than 4,000 hours of writing, Sophie Quire & the Last Storyguard is finished!


This book has been without question the most difficult challenge of my career. Two years is a lot of time for most writers, but for me it was a sprint that very nearly broke me. More than a few times, I considered abandoning the book altogether. But every time I got to that point, I thought of Sophie — mending books in a city that no longer read stories — and I knew I had to finish.

Sophie Quire is technically a companion to my first novel, Peter Nimble & his Fantastic Eyes — but it is also a standalone story with a different hero set in a different world. The combined books are in many ways an examination of what it means to live in a world that has lost its sense of enchantment. Peter Nimble and Sir Tode are a major part of the story … but it is not their story. The tone is darker and the stakes are much higher. Also, it has way more monsters! The book will come out Spring 2016.

I cannot wait to share this story with the world.

Add a Comment
4. A Call from the Mouse …

Hello friends! The announcements came through the trades today–DISNEY JUST OPTIONED NIGHT GARDENER! From Variety:

Disney has bought the rights to Jonathan Auxier’s “The Night Gardener.”

It will be developed by Sean Bailey’s Disney live-action group with Auxier adapting the script. Jim Whitaker will produce.

The book is Auxier’s follow-up to his widely popular “Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes,” with this story following two orphan siblings who travel to work as servants at the creepy, crumbling Windsor estate, but neither the house nor its inhabitants are quite what they seem. Soon the children are confronted by a mysterious specter and an ancient curse that threatens their very lives.

Disney has had quite the success lately of remaking their animated classics such as “Cinderella,” which just passed the $500 million mark at the worldwide box office, and “Maleficent,” but this acquisition shows they are still interested in developing original IPs.

Obviously this is still very far from being an actual movie, but thrilling nonetheless!

Add a Comment
5. Introducing … SOPHIE QUIRE!

Hello friends! It’s been a while since my last update, and that’s because I’ve been busily finishing my next book! It’s a companion to my first novel, Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes. Here’s the amazing cover, drawn by Gilbert Ford:


The book comes out January 2016. It is without question the most monster-filled story I have ever written. Here’s the summary from the catalog:

It’s been two years since Peter Nimble and Sir Tode rescued the kingdom of HazelPort. In that time, they have traveled far in wide in search of adventure. Now Peter and Sir Tode have been summoned by Professor Cake for a new mission: find a 12-year-old bookmender named Sophie Quire. 
Sophie knows little beyond the four walls of her father’s bookshop, where she repairs old books and dreams of escaping the confines of her dull life. But when a strange boy and his talking cat/horse companion show up with a rare and mysterious book, she finds herself pulled into an adventure beyond anything she has ever read.
I am so unbelievably excited to share this story with the world. I’ll keep you posted with illustrations and updates as we near publication. Tally-ho!

Add a Comment
6. A NIGHT GARDENER Soundtrack …

Whenever I start a new book, I try to put together a soundtrack that makes me feel the way I want the story to make me feel. It’s a valuable tool, because at some point I become sick of my own book, and the songs help remind me what I’m aiming for. Screenwriter John August puts it well: A good playlist helps you get started. A great playlist helps you finish.” 

I thought I’d share some of the songs that helped me finish The Night Gardener. According to iTunes, I listened to these and a few other tracks more than 300 times …


Add a Comment
7. A Children’s Book Week Challenge!

As many of you know, last week was “Children’s Book Week.” Authors were asked to submit 1 min videos talking about books they love. I knew that wasn’t enough time, so I instead made my video into a sort of flashcard challenge:

I got a number of emails from people wanting to know all the book titles, so here’s the master list:

The Little Prince - Alice in Wonderland - The Golden Compass - A Little Princess - Darth Paper - Pinocchio - Rutabaga Stories - Mary Poppins - Bud, not Buddy - The Chocolate War - The White Mountains - The Witch of Blackbird Pond - The One and Only Ivan - Matilda - The High king - Holes - The Higher Power of Lucky - The Last of the Really Great Wangdoodles - Five Children and It - The Mysterious Journey of Edward Tulane - Book of the Dun Cow - Howl’s Moving Castle - Peter and Wendy - The Twenty-One Balloons - Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle - A Wrinkle in Time - Little Women - The Princess Academy - The Graveyard Book - Charlotte’s Web - Dominic - Diary of a Wimpy Kid - The Phantom Tollbooth - My Father’s Dragon - The Neddiad - Anne of Green Gables - Redwall - The Man in the Ceiling - The Wonderful Wizard of Oz - Winnie the Pooh - Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone 

Add a Comment

NightGardener - 3d Cover

After nine long years, The Night Gardener is finally out in the world. I am overjoyed with the support that this book has already found among both readers and reviewers.

If you are so inclined, here are some super easy things to do that will go a long way toward spreading the word:

  • Buy the Book! Either for yourself or for a young reader in your life. Early sales go a long way toward helping a new book break out from the pack! If you’ve read and enjoyed the book, loan it to a friend—the more people that know about The Night Gardener the better!
  • Come to an event! I’ll be having a launch party at the CC Mellor Library in Pittsburgh on Sat, May 31 from 2-4pm–children are welcome! Also, if you’re a bookstore, library, or school in the Pittsburgh area, feel free to contact me about setting up an event!
  • Write a Review! If you read and enjoyed the book, please, please, please take a few minutes to write a review on Amazon and Goodreads—that kind of feedback goes a long way to help get the word out!
  • Ask Your Local Bookseller for the BookWith so many books out this spring, a lot of smaller bookstores won’t necessarily have a copy in stock—and that’s why it is SO IMPORTANT to let stores know that you want to see The Night Gardener on the shelf! Don’t know where your nearest bookstore is? Click here!
  • Request The Night Gardener at your Library. Same as above, libraries won’t carry a book unless they know that people will check it out. This has the added advantage of letting you read the book for free! And who doesn’t like free?
  • Spread the word online!  Post a link to the book on your Facebook page or blog. Or you can tweet this announcement.

Add a Comment
9. Early word on THE NIGHT GARDENER!

NG Promotional Banner 3

Reviews are rolling in for The Night Gardener, and things are looking good! Permit me to cheer for Molly and Kip: 

First the book was a Junior Library Guild selection!

Then it was named a Editor’s Pick Best Book for April by Amazon!

Then it was named a “top ten” pick for the American Bookseller’s Association 2014 summer Indie Next list!

And that’s not all. Here are just a few reviews for the book so far:

“Lots of creepiness, memorable characters, a worthy message … make this cautionary tale one readers will not soon forget.” - Kirkus, STARRED REVIEW

“Auxier gives readers a spooky story with depth and dimension.” - School Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW

“an Excellent ghost story for middle grade readers.” - VOYA, “perfect ten” review

“Historical fiction and horror intertwine in this absolutely gripping story … The Night Gardener is the stuff of nightmares.” - Shelf Employed

“Auxier delivers the goods with his precise descriptions of the gothic setting and teasing hints of mystery and suspense” - Horn Book Review

“Auxier achieves an ideal mix of adventure and horror, offering all of it in elegant, atmospheric language that forces the reader to slow down a bit and revel in both the high-quality plot and the storytelling itself.” - Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

“The eerie setting, the pacing of the plot and the cast of characters … makes this an ideal family read-aloud and a vacation pleasure.” - Shelf-Awareness

And finally, a review from Betsy Bird’s Fuse #8 blog with perhaps my favorite line ever:

“It is almost as if Mr. Auxier took his whimsy, pulled out a long sharp stick, and stabbed it repeatedly in the heart and left it to die in the snow so as to give us a sublimely horrific little novel.”

Woo-hoo! Order your copy today! Or better yet, pick it up from your local bookstore!



Add a Comment
10. It’s a NIGHT GARDENER Book Party!


Click image for details:

Night Gardener Launch Invite

I’m thrilled to announce that I’ll be having a Night Gardener launch party on Saturday, May 31 from 2-4pm. The event will be hosted by the historic CC Mellor Library in Regent Square. There will be snacks and activities for children of all ages–so bring the whole family! The folk from Mystery Lovers Bookshop will be on hand to sell copies of both Peter Nimble and The Night Gardener for signing. Please help spread the word by clicking this link–I’d love to see as many people there as possible!

Add a Comment


The Internet is full of great advice about how to sell a book, but what about after the sale? When my first book came out, I found it was surprisingly hard to find answers to some basic questions. Like most authors, I learned most of the answers through trial and error. And so in anticipation of the launch of my new novel, The Night Gardener, I’ve decided to write down everything I learned so I don’t make the same mistakes twice!

AFTER THE BOOK DEAL is a month-long blog series detailing the twenty things I wish someone had told me before entering the exciting world of children’s publishing. Each weekday from now until MAY 20, I will be posting an article on a different blog. Many of these sites will also be doing Night Gardener giveaways, so please follow along and spread the word!


WEEK ONE: Before Your Book Comes Out 
April 21 – “Finding Your Tribe” @ Ramblings of a Wannabe Scribe
April 22 – “Do I Really Need a Headshot?” @ Novel Novice
April 23 – “I Hate Networking” @ Charlotte’s Library
April 24 – “A Night at the Movies” @ The Lost Entwife
April 25 –  “Giveaways!” @ Smack Dab in the Middle

WEEK TWO: Your Book Launch
April 28 – “Can I have Your Autograph?” @ Haunted Orchid
April 29 –  “Cinderella at the Ball” @ The O.W.L.
April 30 – “Being Heard in the Crowd” @ Mundie Moms & Mundie Kids
May 1 - “The Loneliest Writer in the World” @ The Misbehavin’ Librarian
May 2 – “Shutting Out the Voices” @ Shelf Employed

WEEK THREE: The Business of Being an Author
May 5 – “Back to the Grindstone” @ Word Spelunking
May 6 – “The Root of All Evil” @ The Compulsive Reader
May 7 – “Care and Feeding of Your Muse” @ Buried in Books
May 8 – “The Green-Eyed Monster” @ The Book Monsters
May 9 – “Death by 1000 Cuts” @ Waking Brain Cells

WEEK FOUR: Keeping Your Book Alive
May 12 – “A Cheering Squad of One” @ So I’m Fifty
May 13 – “This Part is Awkward” @ TBA
May 14 – “School Days” @ There’s a Book
May 15 – “Crowd Control” @ Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers
May 16 – “Keeping the Magic Alive” @ Tif Talks Books


Add a Comment
12. In Which I Almost Puke in Front of a Class

My wife and I recently had a new baby, which means I have momentarily become terrible at organizing my schedule.  Case in point, a few weeks ago, I had a Skype visit planned with the great Eric Carlson (@buffaloteacher), a Minnesota teacher who has read Peter Nimble to his class for the last three years.  I love Skyping, especially for teachers as awesome as Mr. C!  Here’s a picture I drew of him last year as a zombie: 

Mr Carlson 2

So this year we had our annual Skype visit lined up, and Mr. C had his class all excited.  Witness some awesome pictures they drew in preparation: 




But on the day we were set to Skype … I FORGOT ABOUT IT ENTIRELY!1

Mr Carlson’s class was very forgiving, but I felt like I had to make it up to them.  

So when we had our visit the following week, I added a little “punishment” for myself.  I spread out a whole bunch of food from my fridge along with a bowl and spoon 2After each kid asked a question, I let them instruct me to put one ingredient into the bowl and promised to eat it at the end.  Here’s what it looked like:


I had promised to eat the entire bowl, but when push-came-to-shove, I could barely get down a single (heaping) spoonful … I may have even thrown up in my mouth a little bit while saying goodbye.  

All in all, I’d say it was an AWESOME Skype visit! 

  1. see previous point about the newborn
  2. Ingredients: Crispix, milk, maple syrup, soy sauce, catsup, mustard, ranch dressing, chocolate chips, croutons, banana peppers (and juice!), chocolate frosting, parmesan cheese.

Add a Comment
13. Early word on THE NIGHT GARDENER!


Well, early reviews are rolling in on The Night Gardener, and things are looking good! Permit me to cheer for Molly and Kip: 

First the book was a Junior Library Guild selection!

Then it got a STARRED REVIEW from Kirkus who said: 

“Lots of creepiness, memorable characters, a worthy message … make this cautionary tale one readers will not soon forget.”

Then it was named a Big Spring Children’s Book by Amazon! 

From a review at Shelf Employed

“Historical fiction and horror intertwine in this absolutely gripping story … The Night Gardener is the stuff of nightmares.”

And finally, a review from Betsy Bird’s Fuse #8 blog with perhaps my favorite line ever: 

“It is almost as if Mr. Auxier took his whimsy, pulled out a long sharp stick, and stabbed it repeatedly in the heart and left it to die in the snow so as to give us a sublimely horrific little novel.”

Woo-hoo! Pre-order your copy today! 



Add a Comment

Pic - Buried

I often get emails from people looking to break into children’s publishing. I don’t have all the answers, but I do have some general advice I find myself giving again and again. Below are three steps, in order of importance, that I think writers should focus on:

1) Write a Really Good Book
First time writers don’t sell books based on partial drafts or outlines. They sell finished manuscripts. And there are a lot of finished manuscripts in the world. That means the first step is completing a book and revising it until it is airtight. Don’t expect an agent or editor to look at a sloppy manuscript and see the potential–that same agent or manager has hundreds (not an exaggeration) of other manuscripts to consider, and they’ll take the one that demonstrates the greatest professionalism and craft. Taking an example from my first book, Peter Nimble, I did about 15 complete re-writes before showing it to an agent … and then did another 3 drafts before the book went to an editor. I have yet to talk to a professional author who didn’t go through the same level of revision before finding a publisher.

2) Join SCBWI
The “Society of Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators” (SCBWI) is a national organization with local chapters all over the country. This group is a fantastic place for both professional and aspiring writers and illustrators to gather and discuss craft and business of children’s publishing. The annual conferences are often attended by agents and editors who are looking for new books. I have a number of author friends whose careers were launched when they met an editor at an SCBWI event who requested to see their really good manuscripts (see above point).

3) Query Agents
If a lot of industries, the “it’s who you know” rule applies. Not so in publishing! Book agents read and consider manuscript submissions from unknown writers all the time–that’s their job. Nearly every writer I’ve ever met was pulled out of the “slush pile” from an agent who discovered them. Your job is to query agents who will best understand your work and be in a position to sell it. This means doing a bit of homework, by reading the Writer’s Market and finding agents who are looking for material like your book. The internet is awash with resources about how to approach agents. A good place to start might be Kidlit.com, a website run by children’s book agent Mary Kole. She answers questions about the dos and don’ts of querying better than anyone!

The above steps aren’t a guarantee of any success, but they are a good place to start! Also, I might as well link to this brief but eloquent video of Neil Gaiman talking about step one (which is really the only step that matters):


Add a Comment
15. A Bookish Craft to Help You Track Your Reading…

Too often Mary and I read library books or listen to audiobooks only to forget that we ever read them–without that spine on our bookshelves, it’s easy to forget.  In 2013, Mary and I decided to start keeping a master list of every book we read … and we decided to make it GIGANTIC. We did this by painting over an old piece of thirftstore art with white primer: 


We decided to leave a tree and girl on horseback just for fun: 


Then we started writing down the titles of books that we read with a black Sharpie. I was House Scrivener because Mary has the handwriting of a serial killer:


Our rules were pretty simple. Only write each title once (per year). That means if we both read a book or if we re-read something, it wouldn’t clutter our list: 

photo 4

One year into the experiment, it’s become a nice ritual. You’d be surprised how the prospect of adding to the list motivates you to finish a book! Here’s the list hanging above our piano in the library: 

photo 1

I like the idea that in 30 years, we will have an entire room filled with pictures like this! 


Add a Comment
16. Creative Mornings: Childhood as Source Material

Art by Ed Nacional

Art by Ed Nacional

A few weeks ago, I did a Creative Mornings talk at the Pittsburgh Children’s Museum on the topic of “Childhood.” This was my attempt to connect children’s literature to a broader audience–specifically talking about what it means to work in an industry where the audience (children) are separate from the buyer (grownups). Of special interest might be the anecdote I tell about Tom Angleberger at minute 15 … an event he has since claimed didn’t occur (it totally did). Also, of course, I finish things off with a yo-yo show! 


Screen Shot 2014-02-13 at 11.59.51 AM


Creative Mornings is a fantastic organization. Find out about the next event in your own city and check it out! 

Add a Comment
17. Hear Me on Public Radio!


Yesterday I had the pleasure of sitting down with Paul Guggenheimer of Essential Pittsburgh to talk about Children’s Books. I’m a big fan of public radio, so this was a huge thrill. An excerpt from the transcript: 

Dazzled by the bizarre and eccentric characters of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, children’s author Jonathan Auxier has always been fascinated by peculiar storytelling.

Auxier loves his job, but admits it can sometimes be difficult to write for children of different ages because their maturity and ability are so varied.

He says reading aloud is one of the best ways to connect with a child. Not only is the time great for bonding, but reading a more complicated story to a child can expose them to a reading and thought level above their norm. He tries to juxtapose fun plot lines and characters with interesting rhetorical styles in his own work.

“So in the instance of Peter Nimble, the book is actually fairly dense on a word level, it’s got very complicated language structure. I was working out of a tradition of 18th century neoclassical writers…but the story itself has a very childlike sensibility and I love mixing that.”

You can hear the whole interview (12 min) on the WESA website

Add a Comment


A few weeks ago, I was invited to write a guest post on the website Books4YourKids about my favorite book of 2013: Hokey Pokey by Jerry Spinelli. 

Many might disagree, but I would argue that this is perhaps one of the most important children’s books written in my lifetime. Here’s an excerpt in which I discuss how this book interacts with Peter Pan

It has been observed that I am somewhat obsessive about JM Barrie’s Peter Pan. More than once, people have asked me what I think about Pan adaptations and sequels written by contemporary writers. My usual response is that I think those writers could better use their time creating their own characters to discuss similar themes. Spinelli has done just that. The fugitive shadow of Peter Pan skitters all throughout Hokey Pokey without ever once needing to be mentioned. To every person hoping to write an “updated” version of Oz, or Wonderland, or Grimm’s Fairy Tales, I would direct them to this book. 

The best response to this post came from Tom Angleberger who objected that he didn’t actually think this was a book for kids (Betsy Bird wondered as much in her excellent review … which is what prompted me to pick up the book in the first place). It’s an interesting question, and one that I suspect I’ll be chewing on for a long time. 

You can click here to read my full review … better yet, just read Spinelli’s book. Because it’s AWESOME. 


Add a Comment
19. Give Irony a Chance

A recent NYT or-ed piece by Christy Wampole entitled “How to Live Without Irony” has been making the rounds online.1  The piece is a lament for the millennial generation’s fixation on irony:

The hipster haunts every city street and university town. Manifesting a nostalgia for times he never lived himself, this contemporary urban harlequin appropriates outmoded fashions (the mustache, the tiny shorts), mechanisms (fixed-gear bicycles, portable record players) and hobbies (home brewing, playing trombone). He harvests awkwardness and self-consciousness. Before he makes any choice, he has proceeded through several stages of self-scrutiny. The hipster is a scholar of social forms, a student of cool. [...] He is a walking citation; his clothes refer to much more than themselves. He tries to negotiate the age-old problem of individuality, not with concepts, but with material things.

I feel like a piece like this crops up every year or so, and the consistent factor in all these articles is that the author feels left out of a culture that he/she does not belong to.  This article feels about as accurate as those that came out of 9/11 declaring that irony was “dead.”  If anything, the hipsters I have known have been excessively earnest people … the only way you might think otherwise is if you were extrapolating their entire person from their clothes, facial hair, and twitter feeds.  Lady Gaga may wear a meat dress, but she also gives speeches about bullying.  Those same smirking “harlequins” were the ones who started the Occupy movement.

More importantly, I disagree with the premise that earnestness is inherently superior to irony.  Since when has the ability to laugh — especially at oneself — been a bad thing?2  The author points to 4 year-old children and animals as exemplars of earnest behavior.  From where I stand, those are not necessarily things for adults to aspire to.  To celebrate humanity is to celebrate the ways we are different from animals — irony is one of the ways we can do that.

Sure, there’s a possible danger to too much detachment.  And, as I’ve discussed before, it can be used to hurt people.  But none of these things are unique to one generation.

  1. You know it’s popular when my father emails it to me.
  2. Re-reading Something Wicked This Way Comes this October (something I do every year), I was struck anew by the simple idea that evil is powerless in the face of smile.

Add a Comment
20. Mother’s Day

In honor of Mother’s Day, I thought I’d re-post an older piece about how my mum tricked me into becoming a lifelong reader …


Last month I wrote a post about how my father shaped me as a reader — so I thought today it would be appropriate to talk about my mum.1  That’s her in the photo, reading to my cousins … but it’s a pretty accurate picture of my own childhood.

I come from a family of serious readers.  When my mother was growing up in the middle of South Dakota farmland, she read every book in her local library.  My parents didn’t have much money growing up, but they did have stacks upon stacks of books.  In fact, it wasn’t until I got to college that I learned that reading at the dinner table was considered rude.  Auxiers were readers — end of story.

Or at least that’s how I remembered it.  But recently, I learned something from my mother that made me take a second look at my upbringing … and made me love her all the more:

It happened right before I entered second grade.  It was the end of summer, just before class would start, and my parents sat me down to explain that I would not be going back to my elementary school.  Instead I would take a year off for something called “home schooling”.  At the time, my mother was completing an MA in Gifted Education, and I suspected at once that this whole home schooling thing was something she had made up.  Not that I objected.  As I recall it, my home school year consisted of playing Construx and memorizing lists of random facts she fed me — art history, prepositions, the presidents, and other things no seven year-old had any business knowing.2   At the end of the year, I went back to regular school.  Only I didn’t go into third grade with my former classmates … instead I was put into a second-grade class with kids that were younger.  It was only then that I realized the truth:

I had been held back.

I remember being confused at why my parents might have thought me unfit for the rigors of second grade.  I mean, it’s second grade.  It wasn’t like I couldn’t handle the workload.  So why hold me back?  Whenever I asked my mother, she would just shrug and say that she had wanted to spend some more time with me.

My second try at second grade was a blast.  The big thing I remember was a year-long reading competition.  Students were required to fill out little book reports, and the kid with the most book reports at the end of the year got an awesome plastic trophy.3  My parents, who are some of the least competitive people I’ve ever known, were uncharacteristically invested in the event — there were constant trips to the library, and a gentle-but-unmistakable pressure to make sure I handed in those reports.  All told, I read 88 books that year.  Even better than that trophy (which I totally won), were all the great authors I had discovered!  Over those months, I had transitioned from stupid formulaic mysteries to Roald Dahl, Shel Silverstein, John Fitzgerald, and Lloyd Alexander.

It wasn’t until almost 20 years later that I made the connection between these two memories.  It came while I was teasing my mother for taking me out of school just so I could learn to say all my prepositions in a single breath (which I can still do).  To this she replied: “I couldn’t care less about prepositions … I took you out of school because you didn’t like reading.”

Huh?  I loved reading!  What was she talking about?!

My mother explained that even though I knew how to read as a kid, my teacher had warned her that I didn’t seem to enjoy it very much.  And so she made an executive decision:  pull me out of school and FORCE me to love reading.  Every single day she would sit down and read a book to me, and then she would make me read a book myself.  After that, I was allowed to do whatever I wanted (Construx!).

To this day, I have no memory of this home school reading regiment.  But when I think about the year that followed, about all the wonderful books that I devoured, I start to see that it may have worked.  Thanks, mum.

  1. Yes, Canadians actually say “mum.” Why? Because we’re adorable, that’s why.
  2. Mary has since informed me that lots of kids are forced to learn prepositions — but nobody can touch this guy for shere awesomeness.
  3. In my day, you had to earn those dollar-store trophies, damnit!

Add a Comment
21. First Day of Advent …

Having no star or angel, Max decided to crown himself King of the Christmas Tree!

Max on tree

Add a Comment
22. Journal Monster!

Here’s a monster from my journal…


Add a Comment
23. Good times at AASL!


I just spent a week at the AASL National Conference — a giant assembly of school librarians and authors.  I had a fantastic time catching up with old friends and meeting a ton of new people.  I was there to moderate a panel about Boys Reading Fantasy with Neal Shusterman, Tony Abbott, Adam Gidwitz, William Alexander, and Jon Scieszka! Here are pictures of them all dressed up as sci-fi/fantasy tropes: 

King Aux PrincessShusterman Harry Scieszka Gandalf Abbott 











 Alien Gidwitz

It was a good time — it mainly consisted of the panelists making fun of me.  As it turns out, these five authors had incredible insights into the creation and reading of fantasy.  The highlight may have been when Gidwitz paraphrased some seriously brilliant Chesterton:

“Fairytales don’t tell children that dragons exist; children already know that dragons exist. Fairytales tell children that dragons can be killed.”
More pictures below. Huge thanks to MaryAnn Scheuer and Rocco Staino for putting things together! Pics below:

 aasl photo

 Up next — I’ll be signing books at NCTE in Boston! Hope to see you there!

Add a Comment
24. Beware . . . THE NIGHT GARDENER!

The time has finally come to unveil the cover of my new book! The Night Gardener will be hitting stores in Spring ’14. The cover was drawn by the brilliant Patrick Arrasmith and designed by Chad Beckerman:


From the jacket flap:

This much-anticipated follow-up to Jonathan Auxier’s exceptional debut, Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes, is a Victorian ghost story with shades of Washington Irving and Henry James. More than just a spooky tale, it’s also a moral fable about human greed and the power of storytelling.

The Night Gardener follows two abandoned Irish siblings who travel to work as servants at a creepy, crumbling English manor house. But the house and its family are not quite what they seem. Soon the children are confronted by a mysterious spectre and an ancient curse that threatens their very lives. With Auxier’s exquisite command of language, The Night Gardener is a mesmerizing read and a classic in the making.

If you are a reviewer, bookseller, or librarian who wants an ARC, please contact me: jonathan@thescop.com

Add a Comment
25. Peter Nimble and the Sequoyah Book Awards!

Just a quick announcement to say that Peter Nimble was shortlisted for the 2014 Sequoyah Book Award–confirming my long-held suspicion that Oklahoma readers have great taste!

For the next few months, I’ll be offering FREE SKYPE VISITS to schools in Oklahoma. If you’re a teacher in OK and want me to Skype with your students, please send me a message.2014 Sequoyah Intermediate 



























Add a Comment

View Next 25 Posts