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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

See Iron Man Run

Today on Slate I have a slideshow piece about Hollywood’s new repurposing of PG-13 action heros as early-reading educators. Enjoy it, share it with your friends, sound off to your heart’s content.

Where do you stand: “Who cares what the book is about as long as my kid wants to crack it open?” Or “C’mon, Iron Man, stick to the flying, wouldya?”

Friday, July 11, 2008


I just got back from a trip to New York and a visit to my new HOUSE.

No, I'm not moving back to The City (never say never, I suppose, but not now). My new house is my new publishing house, which is... drumroll, please...


Knopf Books for Young Readers, to be specific. Yes, I'm thrilled to report that Knopf will be publishing my first YA novel, FOLLOWING THE NAIL, in Spring 2010. And they will be publishing my first middle grade novel, WHEN LIFE GIVES YOU ORANGE JUICE, in Spring 2011. That may seem like a looong way off, but in book publishing terms it is not. Plus, I have two 2009 books coming from Abrams, so I'm happy to give all my books time to breathe and have their moments.

My new editor is Erin Clarke, and I am beyond thrilled to be working with her. You may know her as the editor of THE BOOK THIEF or from any number of fabulous books she's edited in her years at RH. Here's a photo of her desk ("waist up") and many of her recent titles on display:

I was also blown away by the Random House lobby, which is sort of like a shrine to every great book you've ever heard of... all of which they seem to have published (I was warned about this, but I still became dumbstruck upon entering the lobby). Here's a photo of Erin (also "waist up") next to one of the giant cases of literature (too dark to see, but there's a KNOPF sign at the top):

All in all, a terrific visit to New York. I also met with some of the wonderful folks at Abrams, including Susan Van Metre and Chad W. Beckerman, who showed me the cover for my Spring 2009 book, CHICKEN BUTT! I really can't wait for this book to come out. Henry Cole's sketches are a riot. I have a feeling they will make milk come out of many a nose.

Yes, a wonderful trip all around. Which may explain why I am so tired. Well, actually, I'm okay. Lucy, my devoted dog, on the other hand, spent the whole time I was gone worrying about whether I'd come back. Lucy was originally a pound puppy. Even now, fifteen years after we adopted her, this explains a lot. She promptly parked herself in my not-yet-unpacked suitcase and took a nap:

I guess it's true. Old house or new house: there's no place like home.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Run with Me!

I often run with Ira Glass. Not in person, though I'm guessing that would be fun. Rather, his The American Life podcast. Sometimes I run with Peter Sagal (of Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me!) or Terry Gross (of Fresh Air... are you detecting a public radio theme?). But today, for the first time, I ran with... me.

Yes, I jogged along listening to a podcast interview I did with Sabrina Weissler, of the Children's Book radio podcast. And so can you, if you'd like: you can get it here or go to childrensbookradio.com and click on "Episode Guide" (I'm Episode # 43).

I must confess that as I listened and ran, I cringed in anticipation, fearing that I said something completely stupid. I think the act of cringing while running gives a whole new dimension to the phrase "upper body workout."

Ultimately, I didn't discover that I had said anything truly cringe-worthy. I've enjoyed many of the other interviews Weissler has done, so I'm glad I didn't totally botch it... or at least I don't think I did. Feel free to strap on your running shoes, listen for yourself and weigh in on this point.

Cringing optional.

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