When my kids were ready to begin learning about the Holocaust, but not to face its full horror, I told them their grandmother's story. My mom was a little girl in Vienna when the Nazis marched in. She was present for the first steps that they took against the Austrian Jews. Miraculously, she and her parents escaped in 1939. It’s not a happy story, but it's a story whose sadness a child can wrap their head around, and I thought it might be helpful for other parents who are ready to begin this conversation. So, I put it in a picture book. It was published last week, and I'm prouder of it than anything else I've written. It got starred reviews in Kirkus and Booklist. [more inside]
Ten years ago, when my daughter was little, I read too many picture books about princesses who sit around waiting to be rescued. In response, I wrote my own tale about a princess who faces a dragon, starts a business, and saves the kingdom. Today, it finally hits the shelves, with wonderful art from Raissa Figueroa. It got a great review from School Library Journal: "This essential purchase smashes societal barriers erected against gender"! [more inside]
As a kid, I struggled with any subject that required memorization. As an adult, I found out that there are specific techniques to make memorizing things much easier. I was glad to master a new skill. BUT WHY DID NOBODY TEACH ME THIS STUFF SOONER? It would have made school so much easier! I’m a former contributor to The Onion, and I’ve written for The New Yorker, the BBC, and HBO, and I’m a big believer in Beverly Cleary’s advice: “If you don’t see the book you want on the shelves, write it.” So, I wrote the book I wish I could have read at age 12. It’s a funny, kid-friendly guide to remembering… well, everything. [more inside]
My first novel comes out next month from Random House. It's aimed at 8 to 12-year-olds, and it's about an American girl who moves to London and encounters a giant pig in a bathing suit, a centuries-old magical conspiracy, and a bunch of monsters who work for the Royal Mail. Booklist calls it "fun, freaky, outlandish, and suspenseful." The School Library Journal calls it a "fantastic, funny adventure." Kirkus calls it "a rollicking adventure with a lulu of an ending." Me? I call it "a book I spent ten years working on, and I'm prouder of it than anything else I've written, and I really want it to do well." (I probably need to work on my blurbing skills.) [more inside]
Every year on the first Thursday of September an eminence of the world of children's books gives a talk at Homerton College in Cambridge in memory of the author Philippa Pearce. And every year I video it and upload it to the internet. This year, the talk, entitled Do Not Be Afraid To Be Afraid, was given by the author Meg Rosoff. [more inside]
Do Not Disturb The Dragon! is a picture book (an actual real physical book available in bookshops and everything, which is quite exciting, for me at least) about a dragon that really just wants to sleep and sleep and sleep some more, but everyone else seems to be determined to keep her awake. It’s quite funny, and exciting, and contains at least one picture of things being set on fire, which is everything you could ever want from a book about dragons, really. [more inside]
Instead of trying and failing to write a novel in November I tried and failed to write the script for a children's book every day for the month. Please note: I cannot draw. [more inside]
My middle grade children's horror novel, Skary Childrin and the Carousel of Sorrow, has been published by Knopf and is officially available today! I both wrote and illustrated it, and it's loosely based on my art and animated series, Childrin R Skary. Book trailer here.
A book for chldren.