Wednesday, June 17, 2009

I And I

Jesse Watson, one of my favorite illustrators has once again displayed his amazing artistry in a new book about Bob Marley.  I and I, published by Lee and Low is a really cool book; boys and girls will love flipping through its wonderful pages.   Tony Medina, the author is a deep and soulful poet.  His verse appeals to older readers as well.  Below Jesse talks about a recent visit to NYC with G. Neri, the author of one of my favorite books for reluctant, inner-city readers, Chess Rumble.  


The author of Chess Rumble, Greg Neri, and I were recently in NYC talking about the importance and the power of Pawns in the game of Chess and how we can draw the same conclusions about those we consider Pawns in the game of life. We went to schools in some of the poorest neighborhoods in the nation and spoke to kids who had some serious obstacles to overcome, including poverty, violence, drugs, gangs... you name it! Many of these kids saw themselves as pawns; floundering in a sea of chaos, unable to affect any change in the world at all. Yet, from these conditions have come some of our greatest heroes. Bob Marley definitely qualifies. Born and raised in the poorest neighborhoods in the world, he overcame the lack of education and resources to become one of the most famous musicians we have ever known. Here is a man who, thirty years after his death, is still outselling current artists today. Here is a man whose music you will find in literally any country on the planet, from Iran to Singapore, Peru to Finland, rocking out of taxis, blasting through sound systems, and streaming over radio frequencies. This Pawn became a King and so can these kids, regardless of the obstacles they may face.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Parker Takes a Bullet

Below is information submitted by Lewis Hall about his new book, Parker Takes A Bullet.  This novel has an exciting plot and should appeal to both boys and girls.  Boy's typically prefer books with a male protagonist.  Mr. Hall's female protagonist book has enough edge that it should appeal to many boys.  One of my favorite novels of all time is The Golden Compass.  It too has a female protagonist.

A Mystery/Thriller with Heart

My dad a drug dealer?

At a time when she should have been thinking about what frothy dress to wear to the senior prom, Evelyn Parker, still reeling from her mother's suicide, has to face this troubling question. Worse, the fact that her father's incinerated body is found in her bombed-out home shortly after a huge cash deposit was made in his bank account leaves his colleagues in the Sheriff's Department convinced he was on the take.

But, growing up the daughter of a detective, Evelyn learned a few things about police work. When the investigation into her father's murder grinds to a halt, Evelyn decides to do some sleuthing of her own, determined to exonerate her dad. In the process she plays loose with the law, tails a too-charming suspect, uncovers a worldwide web of international crime, and learns that things are not always how they appear.

But wait a minute! Parker Takes a Bullet is about a girl. Why would a boy be interested in a girl protagonist? Because this girl is hot and exciting. I know, because I was once a boy and I know what a boy likes. I remember Saturday nights in my college days, gathered together with my male buddies in front of a television set and watching Purdey, a female secret agent on The New Avengers. Purdey was not girlie; she was cool. And today I, along with other men, like watching Beatrix Kiddo in the Kill Bill movies. She too is cool and exciting.

Evelyn Parker is eighteen-years-old. Boys like girls a little older than themselves. Yes, boys must have action and adventure, mystery and suspense in their stories, and this book has it all, non-stop; it’s a page-turner. But combine these elements with a story about an attractive, courageous girl and you have a book that will meet every boy's needs. It might not be hip for him to admit that he is reading such a book or that he likes it. But boys are reading Parker Takes a Bullet, and more than once!

Yes, girls can act feminine and silly, which is uncomfortable for most boys, but Evelyn Parker is a girl who has been thrown into an intense situation that forces her to act serious and brave. This is a book for mature teenagers as there are many edgy scenes. And in the midst of these scenes are some hard moral questions that deal with life and death, how to overcome grief, and how to face questions regarding sex and love.

Click here for Parker Takes a Bullet.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Brighton Elementary

Hello Kids,

Thank you for the pleasure of allowing me to read my story at your wonderful school.  You kids are terrific!  I had a great time visiting with all of you.  Please stay in touch with me.  I need your help in finishing my story.  I promise to work hard writing and revising my story this summer.  I also promise to return to Brighton in the fall for more author visits.   Sorry, fifth graders, we'll miss seeing you at Brighton.  However, if you follow this blog, you can write to me here (with your parents and teachers permission) and we can stay in touch.  I'll also post my story, PIPE PEOPLE on my website so that you can read it online and or print it out as PDF pages.  

Please read many, many books, write to me, and have a fun and safe summer!  Thank you again Mr. Raymond and Mr. Davis.  The world needs more men like you.