Friday, March 22, 2013

Win an autographed ARC of Platypus Police Squad on

Do you love platypuses and buddy cop stories in equal measure? Well then, head on over to, where Walden Pond Press is giving away autographed copies of my forthcoming chapter-book debut!

Click here to throw your hat in the ring!

Monday, March 18, 2013

A new Lunch Lady video. A new Lunch Lady song. Now with real lunch ladies!!

What happens in the cafeteria when kids are in class? Not only does the school lunch staff fight crime, but they get their groove on! Check out the brand new Lunch Lady video below!

A HUGE thank you to Recess Monkey for putting together such a killer song! You can download the song here!

Thank you to the 
School Lunch Superheroes at:

Rock Springs Elementary
Lawrenceville, GA

York Elementary
York, NE

Latimer School
Weatogue, CT

Center School
Hopkinton, MA

Parkview Elementary
Roseville, MN

Veterans Memorial Elementary
Naples, FL

Canterbury Woods Elementary
Annandale, VA

Simonian Center for Early Learning
Sutton, MA

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Kate Messner on today's episode of The Book Report!

I hit Kate Messner with all of the hard-hitting questions you've come to expect from The Book Report with JJK. Learn more about Capture the Flag and it's newly published sequel today at 5:40 ET /2:40 PT on SiriusXM's Kids Place Live channel 78!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Bubble Bath Pirates—10 years later

An early sketch for the jacket.

It's wild to think, but Bubble Bath Pirates! celebrates its 10th year in print today.
The book was inspired by a visit I paid to my sister Lynn's house. Her two youngest boys, Matthew and Griffin, were acting a bit hyper as she was trying to shuffle them off to the bath. My nephews, then six and four years old, had these pirate costumes strewn across the couch, as it was just a few weeks past Halloween.  I went home and immediately started sketching the characters and drafting the story.

Here I am with Matt and Griff around 2002. 

And at a wedding in the summer of 2012. They're a bit bigger, right?  I'm so proud of what they both have achieved already! Matt is a freshman in college and Griff is studying the culinary arts in high school.

And here are a few shots of their youth immortalized in print:

You can learn more about how I wrote Bubble Bath Pirates! in this excerpt from my sketchbook, Monkey Boy to Lunch Lady

Saturday, March 09, 2013

Meltdown ● March 30th ● Who will take the stage in 2013?

The 2013 Meltdown shall soon be upon us!

My better half and me.

It's hard to believe that this March 30th will be the 5th year for The River's Music Meltdown and Book Bash. Or, as it's known for short—MELTDOWN! When my wife Gina and I moved to the Pioneer Valley, we knew we wanted to get involved with our new community and we wasted no time doing so. We always loved the events that I had attended for Punk Farm, where music was incorporated into readings, and saw a big hole in our author-saturated town of Northampton: NO book festival! We floated the idea for a day where authors and kids' musicians would swap stage time to our new friends Bill Childs and Monte Belmonte, DJs at the local radio station. Next thing you knew, we were teaming up and the first Meltdown was staged in 2009!

Since its inception, we have brought Grace Lin, Jon Scieszka, Jeanne Birdsall, Jeff Mack, Jef Czekaj, Diane deGroat, Mo Willems, Timothy Basil Ering, Anna Alter, Jane Yolen, Heidi Stemple, Scott Fischer, John Bemelmans Marciano, Eric Wight and Lisa Yee to the stage! We love that the kids in our neighborhood have had the opportunity to see all of these authors!

And now that we're in our 5th year, our oldest daughter is four and will truly enjoy this year's Meltdown! She was all of three months during the first staging of this event!

Our girls helped us make a display for our local library!

Much credit needs to go to WRSI The River. They do all of the heavy lifting to make Meltdown something that can happen. There are a lot of finances that go behind an event like this and their hard work allows Gina and I to program the author side without worrying about permits, etc.

So who do we have line up this year? Here's who you will see on Saturday, March 30th!

Please note that Meltdown is moving this year! We've outgrown our previous space and will now be at Smith Vocational High School, located at 80 Locust St!

10:40 AM
This guy.

We really had to pull some strings for this one. But seriously, we kind of did. My publisher will be releasing LL #9 a few weeks early exclusively for Meltdown 2013. So if you want to read LL and the Video Game Villain before the rest of the country, this is your chance!

11:40 am
Angela DiTerlizzi!

Our copy of Ang's Say What? is already dog-eared. We can never read it just once, as the girls insist on repeated readings. Which is fine by us, this book ROCKS!

12:40 pm
Matthew McElligott!

Matthew's books are a huge hit with our girls. (Do you see a theme here? Our daughters seem to be running the show...) Even Aliens Need Snacks is a sequel to Matt's equally hilarious Even Monsters Need Haircuts

1:40 pm

Judy Schachner!

Skippyjon Jones, everyone's favorite kitty-boy who thinks he's a Chihuahua, will be represented at Meltdown 2013! These books are crazy popular, and crazy fun, as is Judy!  Our daughter runs around the house dressed as Skippyjon. Esta un cabeza de loco. My Spanish is rusty. I need to go read more Sippyjon Jones books... 

2:40 pm
Tony DiTerlizzi

But wait! There's more DiTerlizzi to be had! Tony's books range from picture books (G is for One Gzonk gets our girls giggling) to chapter books (T's new WandLa series will keep you at the edge of your seats and inspire your imaginations!). We can't wait to see what T will conjure up on the Meltdown stage!

Not only do all of these authors write superlative books, but they also put on fantastic shows. That's a big part of what we look for in Meltdown authors—stage presence! You'll never be disappointed by who we invite to read, they're all stahs!

And of course, Bill Childs has another fantastic line up of musicians. Be sure to check the official Meltdown page for more info!

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

UPDATED: Courtney Pippin-Mathur on The Book Report! THURSDAY! (The blizzard has shut down KPL headquarters in DC!)

We here in the Kroso house are huge fans of Courtney Pippin Mathur's picture book, Maya Was Grumpy. We also couldn't be more excited for Courtney to have had her debut book published!

And in celebration of World Read Aloud Day, we'll read aloud from Courtney's book!

Learn all about it on The Book Report with JJK, this afternoon at 5:40 ET / 2:40 PT! SiriusXM's Kids Place Live, channel 78.

Monday, March 04, 2013

Over 300 kids made their own Lunch Lady gadgets out of items from their kitchens!

I've just visited with the students at Oak St School in New Jersey. And wow, what a creative community!

School librarian Sue Philhower greeted me in the parking lot as Lunch Lady!

PTO moms Elyse Rhead and Beth DiCesare "Vanna White" one of the many posters they created and plastered around school!

The kids knew how to pronounce my last name and were WAY psyched:

The projects that the kids had on display throughout the school were unreal. Check out this model of Lunch Lady's school:

Over 300 kids made their own Lunch Lady gadgets out of items from their kitchens! Seriously impressive.

Check out all of the fun projects that the kids at Oak St School made after the jump:

Family literacy nights and Punk Farm performances!

I have just had the pleasure of visiting with schools in upstate New York. Smith School and Canisteo-Greenwood School both hosted family literacy nights while I was in town, and what a great way for the schools to bring their community together in celebration of the book! I spoke at both events and the students loved having that extra time with the author. They introduced me to their parents as if we were old friends!

And BOTH schools put on Punk Farm skits! The kids were psyched, as was I! I love watching creative (and brave) teachers put on performances of my books. A true honor.

Here is a photo of the players at Canisteo-Greenwood:

And a video of the performance at Smith:

Also throughout the night, kids made bookmarks and other bookish crafts. There were also prizes to be won! Raffle tickets were given just for showing up and the prize baskets were all book theemed. For example, a copy of Bubble Bath Pirates! was given away with bath toys and a copy of Punk Farm was given away with a basket of instruments. And the homerooms with the most students in attendance won a set of books for their classrooms! Brilliant, right?!

Thank you to all of the superb educators and parent volunteers who pulled these nights together!

photo by 
photo by 

Note all the kids dressed as cowboys/girls and pirates!
photo by