Saturday, September 30, 2006

random funny kid quote

After (purposefully) messing up a drawing in front of 150 kids and announcing my embarrassment, a kid in the first row says,

"You don't need to be embarrassed. We understand. It happens."

random funny kid quote

"Slug's just like my brother. He won't shut up!"

-A kid at a New York City reading.

Thank you, Wisconsin!!!

No, really! Thank you, Wisconsin!

Punk Farm is up for a book award in Wisconsin - and the best kind, too - the kind voted on by students!

Check out the WEMA Golden Archer list for '06-'07!

Wrapping up Chicago - off to Cincinnati!

Chicago was awesome!!!!

I had great morning events all day on Thursday and then I had a stellar turn out on Thursday night! It was billed as a bedtime story hour and a bunch of kids came out to hear a reading - in their pajamas! Plus, there was a local education masters program that turned up as well. I also got to see another old camp friend - Mark. Another bit of trivia for you loyal readers - Mark is the guy who started his own record label - 3rd World Industries. We compared and contrasted the book industry to the music industry and it is surprising how similar they can be.

We had a lot of fun turning up to the book signing and sitting in the audience. I acted as though I was an impatient fan and yelled up to Ann Marie (who was running the event), "Hey, when is the author coming?! This is ridiculous! I've been waiting months for this book!" "Oh you mean, this one - My Buddy, Slug?" she asked. "Yeah, that one -it's really good!" The banter went on. You should have been there.

I got to meet Momma and Sister Sherman. My agent's family has been reading my books at their school. And for their students, they made Slug into a parable for the Yom Kippur holiday, teaching about forgiveness and the new year. Very cool.

Another early morning on Friday to a great event way out, an hour north west of Chicago - then a quick trip back to the airport where I caught a flight to Dayton, OH.

And then today - two great events with both Books & Co stores in Dayton.

Now - I have some time to just chill out.

Because next week - I'll be at it again!

Friday, September 29, 2006

Autographed copies of SLUG

If you don't live anywhere near my book tour stops, and you were looking to get a signed book - I signed a bunch of stock for Harry W. Schwartz Bookshops' online store.

Here's the link -

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Milwaukee, then Chicago....

It was an early, early flight from Pittsburgh to Milwaukee! I was incredibly excited to have 14 hours in Wisconsin. I had the chance to read to some very enthusiastic crowds in Milwaukee schools in the morning. And when I read Punk Farm and got to yell "Thank you, Wisconsin!!!" - well, it was awesome. And the teachers especially appreciated it. Now when I explained that hidden within the pages was compost bags that were from my friend Fr. Dom's compost product - Fr. Dom's Duck Doo, a teacher in the front cheered - because her garden had grown so well using that compost. Ha! It's just funny because Dom and I have known each other for 10 years from the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp and as his business grew and my books were getting published, we would always needle the other for getting too famous to call. If anyone knows Fr. Dom - you know that he can be a smart alleck. So he didn't believe me when I told him that teachers were singing his compost's praises.

And Fr. Dom and I did get to spend the afternoon catching up. We walked around downtown Milwaukee and he showed me around, pointed out interesting facts about buildings and we walked around Milwaukee's new art museum building - which is amazing. I would say it would be worth the trip alone! After catching up with my old friend, I headed to my evening book signing. There, I got to meet the very talented and fellow central Massachusetts kid Jeff Newman. Turns out we grew up a few towns away, were just one year apart in high school and knew a few of the same people from high school art classes!

Then it was off to a late night drive to Chicago. You can imagine at this point that I am BEAT! And I left Wisconsin without seeing a single cow!

With a few hours of sleep behind me, I woke up to conquer the suburbs of Chi-town! And did I ever feel like a rock star in the morning school visits! They had made banners and bagheads and put together a bulletin board of "What they learned from Slug". The responses were priceless and I think that once this tour is over, I will be posting one here every few weeks or so! And how lucky was I that my tour would take me to western Chicago suburbia where my friend Galen goes to school?! For those loyal readers, you may remember that Galen was my friend from when we had that crazy monster puppet this past summer. Well, the puppet made the trip just to see his old buddy Galen. (The irony of the whole thing is that my media escort for the day was driving around Kevin Clash and Elmo the week before.) Galen got to see my school presentation, which was so cool because he knew half the art in the slide show. In fact, Galen was one of those campers who I read Slug to back in the late 90's when he was a camper at the Hole in the Wall Gang. And Galen (who always wore a yellow hat at camp) is a background character in one of my books. Galen showed me around Wheaton, which has a beautiful campus and a nice little downtown area. But then it was off to the next event -

Which was -OK. Not the biggest event, but not the smallest (that record is still at 1 kid for me - which I'm sure will someday be broken by 0). But that is the nature of the beast. You learn not to take it personally.

And now I am finally rested and off to conquer another suburban area of Chi-town!
I have so many great pictures that illustrate all of these stories, but I have had NO time to upload them! So you'll have to see a bunch at once. Maybe I'll upload some this weekend, we'll see.

Monday, September 25, 2006

ありがとう、東京 Thank you, Tokyo!!!!!

(Punk Farm)

I'm psyched to announce that Soensha, a Japanese publisher, will be publishing Punk Farm in Japan!

If the free translation sites are correct "Thank you Wisconsin" will sound something like "Domo Wisconsin!"

I don't have a pub date yet, but it should be within the next year and a half or so!


I had the best day in Pittsburgh. The day started early at a great local school and then I got to see old friends from Camp Sunshine who I haven't seen in 4 years. Diana came with her sons Mishan and Nathaniel. They showed me all around town and I have to say - Pittsburgh is a cool city. It was so great to reconnect with these old friends that I've known since '96! In fact, when I first wrote Slug, I brought it up to camp to read to the kids. So I read Slug to Mishan and Nathaniel 9 years ago when they were 4 and 7 and I read Slug to them today when they were 13 and 16! It was awesome. Except this time around, they were taller than me!

That really is the coolest, most unexpected part of my career. I'm able to reconnect with so many great, old friends. It's a rare thing to be able to do and I love it! It's very appropriate that my Slug tour would take me through Pittsburgh. I had a great reading and signing in the evening at Joseph-Beth books. It's hard to tell how evening book signings will go sometimes, especially in a city where I've never had an event before. And just before the event - I thought it might just be me and my friends. But a good amount of people came out! I was very pleasantly surprised. And speaking of surprises - as I was reading, my friends Paul Raj and Amber turned up. I didn't even know that they lived in Pittsburgh, let alone a few blocks from the store!

Well, I should probably get some sleep, as I need to leave the hotel at 4 AM tomorrow to catch my flight to Milwaukee! Yikes, I know! But I am so excited - tomorrow I will read Punk Farm and say "Thank you, Wisconsin" and mean it!

Chicago Tribune

The Chicago Tribune has given Slug some props.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

NYC was great, mid-west - here I come!

So my events in New York City were great! The Time Out NY Kids event at Books of Wonder was awesome and the events at the Children's Museum of Manhattan were good, too!

A lot of great friends came out to the big Time Out NY Kids event. I'll be sure to post some pictures soon!

I'm in Pittsburgh now and I'm ready to get in front of some great audiences tomorrow and all week! It's a busy, busy few weeks and I'm ready for it!!!

Oh - and I'm also carting the big Slug book around in a giant portolio that I painted up in orange Slug drawings. So if you see me running to catch a plane, I'll be that guy with the giant portfolio with orange Slug drawings on it....

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Hey, New York City!

Come on out to Books of Wonder on Friday at 5:30 to help me and Time Out New York Kids celebrate My Buddy, Slug as their inaugural book club pick! They're giving out some free stuff and I, of course, will have free Punk Farm stickers.

Also, I will be talking and showing some slides of my childhood work at the Children's Museum of Manhattan on Saturday at 3 & 4.

Monday, September 18, 2006

week one, done!

So Slug's first week in this world as a published book character has come and gone! And what a week it was. It started at my old college and ended at my old high school, with a visit to my old elementary school in-between! Visiting each school really made me realize how far I've come. And I've always been adamant to never forget where I came from, which should be true for everyone, no matter what their trade. I wrote earlier on the first few days of Slug, but since then.... I had a great time at the Boston Globe Book Festival reading on the Target stage. I got to see my good friend Peter Brown and see him read his book. If you ever get a chance to see him read - don't pass it up! I really came to a deeper appreciation for his books. Backstage I had the chance to meet Todd Parr and Rhea Pearlman. Meeting Todd was cool, because when Slug was a class project back at RISD, my teacher from that particular class was Megan Tingley, an editor at Little Brown, who at the time was publishing a brand new book by a first time author/illustrator - Todd Parr. It's crazy how Slug really has become about full circles.

Speaking of full circles, I was inducted into my old high school's hall of fame. I was introduced by my old art teacher at Holy Name, Mr. Shilale. He nixed the formal introduction to tell two stories. The first was about my application to RISD. When you apply to RISD, you need to draw three pencil drawings for your application. Well, Mr. Shilale thought he had sprayed the drawings with fixative, which seals the drawings and prevents smudging. 15 minutes later the drawings were still damp. And sticky. He had sprayed the drawings with spray adhesive!!! He feared he had forever ruined my career. The second story involved a mural that I painted in the high school. I painted our mascot (The Napoleon - I know weird mascot) on the wall across from what was then the room where the newspaper group met. Well, I had failed to take into account where the light switch would be. I'll give you one guess as to where it was... Let's just say that the mural is still up now and the students still get a kick out of flipping the lights off an on. Anyhow, I did get to give a little speech and I thanked Mr. Shilale for being a great educator. On a daily basis, I still use many of the basic elements that I learned in his classroom.

I also got to thank Mrs. Robin Casey. She wasn't a teacher of mine, but did serve as a moderator for both the newspaper and the class officers, for which I was a member of both. She's the one who let me paint that mural in the first place and also the one who offered me the job as the cartoonist for the school newspaper. My role as school cartoonist had a profound affect on my life. Not only did I get a charge out of sharing my stories and cartoons with my peers by having them published, but the job kept me from transferring out of the high school. And even bigger - the high school eventually sent me to Camp Sunshine, which would later bring me to the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp. Robin also helped me through some pretty traumatic times in my teenage years. It's a rare opportunity to get to publicly thank people who had a big impact on your life and I was grateful for it.

And now I am home painting. It's the calm before the storm - for both my book tour and my impending book deadline!

Friday, September 15, 2006

Dear Boston,

Come out to the Boston Globe Book Festival tomorrow and check me out on the Target stage! 1PM in Copley Sq - represent!

And there is a chance, though slim, that Fox25 News may be coming to cover my reading. So get your beauty rest and come on out!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

A great start!

Talk about a great start to the SLUG tour. I had a great few days in Worcester schools and got to see some old friends as teachers! The day My Buddy, Slug was released, I walked to my old elementary school. It was so surreal. It was the walk that I did for 9 years from grades K-8. On that walk, I walk by a public pool and there is this concrete wall that used to seem so enormous to me. It's amazing how small it really is. It also struck me that I would be speaking at my old elementary school when the night before I spoke to my old college. (And this weekend I''ll be stopping by my old high school to be inducted into their 'hall of fame'.) Craziness. I loved visiting my old elementary school. It isn't the same building, though. That was torn down in 1991. But the new building does have a plaque right in the front with an image of what the old Gates Lane looked like.

Spent the day with my grandparents and then the big night was upon me. The B&N event was a HUGE success! My family was there, so many old and dear friends and a lot of new readers as well. It's crazy to think back to when I first wrote the book and carted is around to read to family, back then I would have never thought that someday there would be this book signing - where my godson Ryan would stand at 6'3", my little brother would roll up on a motorcycle and my mother would come running in without a second to lose as I began to read the book. My grandparents sat proudly in the first row, surrounded by family members. Old high school teachers and friends were there, along with childhood friends' mothers. I even had an old camper who I hadn't seen in years turn up! I was truly honored by everyone's presence. It's always great to see so many familiar faces come out to support me and my latest work. And people came from far away this time around! The award for the furthest trip comes from the Engel family who traveled all the way from upstate NY, just to be there for the day that Slug was released! I began reading at 6:10 or so, started signing shortly after that and the line went until 8:30!

I couldn't have asked for a better way to start the book tour or to celebrate Slug's release.

It has truly been a dream come true.

Then today, on the 2nd day of Slug, I tune into NPR and here a familiar voice. It's me! They aired the segment and the timing couldn't be any better! And I - couldn't be any more thankful! Listen to it here -

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


It's officially here!!!!!


is in book stores!!!

Today was a busy day! The two schools were a good test drive for the giant SLUG book. I'll be really strong by the end of this book tour! If you get out to an event, I think you will get a kick out of watching me try to manage a 2 foot by 3 foot book. My RISD talk went really well. Too many funny highlights for a tired illustrator to post right now. But I wanted to introduce "The SLUG count". Every time I read
My Buddy, Slug, I will put another stamp on this board. Kind of like old fashioned bomber planes that you would see in cartoons.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

so. so. close....

So not even 2 full days until Slug's release date..... I am getting ready for a busy two days. I am speaking at a few Worcester elementary schools in the morning and then heading down to Providence at night to be the RISD Orientation Keynote Speaker. Then Tuesday is the BIG DAY! I'll be speaking at Gates Lane, my old elementary school and then signing at B&N Lincoln Sq that night!

Here we go!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

the GIANT sized SLUG book

The very awesome people at Random House publicity have created a very cool version of My Buddy, Slug! It's a GIANT oversized version of the book that I am bringing on tour with me. It is about 2 feet tall and when opened, 3 feet wide!!!

So come out to an event and you will see me reading one giant book! OR - keep an eye out for me at the airport trying to lug this thing past security!!! That will be a sight!

Media Madness

If you live in central Mass and watched channel 3 last night, you may have caught my interview there. If you missed it, it may be posted here eventually, but not for a while. However, you could try to catch some of the following local media -

Sunday 9/10 @ 11:30 AM - NBC Boston
Sunday 9/10 @ 9:30 PM WICN 90.5 FM (and webcast at - This is Inquiry, hosted by good friend Mark Lynch. This is my 6th appearance on this show!

And I'm not sure when - but I will also be on NPR's Here and Now, check in at

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

in ONE week

In ONE week, My Buddy, Slug will officially be released! And if you live in or around the Worcester, MA area - come help me celebrate at Barnes & Noble Lincoln Sq. It's a new venue for my Worcester signings and I've never had a signing on the day of publication - so come on by if you can!

9/12 - B&N Lincoln Sq Worcester @ 6PM

Also, if you are in Boston - come by Copley SQ on 9/16 @ 1PM and I'll be reading on the Target stage and signing shortly after.

The Get This Book Series

Jeff Newman is a new author/illustrator on the scene and his first book with Little Brown has just been published. It's called Hippo! No, Rhino and I highly suggest that you get it. It's hysterical. Jeff is sparse on words and let's the majority of his story be artfully told by his pictures. The illustrations are rich and are very much an homage to funky illustrations from the late 60's and early 70's. Jeff is a fellow central-Massachusetts-ian, but he is now a Midwesterner. If all works out, I should be meeting the talented Mr. Newman while on my fall book tour. Take my advice - get this book!