25 years into creating my comic strip “Tom the Dancing Bug,” I’ve just embarked on another venture: writing books for kids. My series of books, The EMU Club Adventures, began in April with Alien Invasion in My Backyard, and the second installment, Ghostly Thief of Time, was released last month.
Now, “Tom the Dancing Bug” is certainly not for kids, but writing for kids was something I’ve always wanted to do. I love kids’ literature and culture, and I love kids; if I’m at a gathering of friends and family, you’ll probably find me laughing it up with the kids.
But as I started this new task, I was kind of worried about whether I could write for an audience that wasn’t me. My comic strip is pretty much what I would want to read – would consciously writing for another audience render the work stilted, off-target, or even pandering?
I once saw Maurice Sendak, one of the very greatest children’s authors ever, tell Stephen Colbert in an interview, “I don’t write for children. I write – and somebody says, ‘That’s for children!’”
Well, I’ve spent a lot of years showing myself what I write, and it’s usually satirical or absurdist takes on things like income inequality, religion, and the new economy. None of which a kid with any good sense would have any interest in.
As I began my project, I happened to go to a panel discussion of children’s authors at the New York Public Library, because some of my kids’ favorite authors were participating. Read the rest
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Hey, the second book in my kids' book series is out today! It's Ghostly Thief of Time: The EMU Club Adventures, Book Two.
In this thrilling installment, the kids stop arguing about who is the leader of the club long enough to solve a mystery we've all wondered about: Why does time move so slowly at certain times, like right at the end of a school day?
But, as in Book One (Alien Invasion in My Backyard), the answer to this ordinary, mundane mystery is anything but ordinary and mundane. The kids discover ghostly apparitions, time-space conundrums and mysterious technology that force them to try to save themselves, their school, and maybe the world.
Wow, what a nice reaction I got to the first book. It got some wonderful reviews , and kids really seem to love these stories. As Cory said, these books are "for the curious and adventurous," and I hope you have the good fortune to know a kid who is both.
I also hope you'll enjoy a piece Boing Boing will run this week about the differences, and similarities, I've found between creating for adults (Tom the Dancing Bug) and for kids.
You can order Ghostly Thief of Time: The EMU Club Adventures, Book Two on Amazon. Also, for a limited time, you can order both books, signed, sketched & delivered, as a set.
P.S. Here's Ruben on the kidlit inspirations for The EMU Club Adventures. — Ed. Read the rest