Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Building Relationships and Readers

Every Friday for the last several months, members of the Los Angeles Police Department have been visiting library branches for a special program called Read Along. It was an honor and a privilege to join them this past Friday.
Officer Oseguera addressed the crowd before we got rolling. He gave an impassioned speech about his childhood and how police officers helped him in a time of need. He also spoke about the important role that the public library played in his upbringing. Through Read Along, officers are working on developing positive relationships with the youngest citizens in their neighborhoods while instilling a love of reading and literacy. It's awe-inspiring. They worked closely with the librarians to craft this endeavor, even putting themselves through the read-aloud training the library offers volunteers. (They knew a lame reading would tank the program.)
When I learned about the statistics of the area surrounding the library we were in, I was flabbergasted. About a 50% high school dropout rate and roughly 150 homicides per year. Makes you realize that public libraries aren't just a resource but a REFUGE for these kids. 
I traveled to LA just for the day because I wanted to see what they were doing first hand, and it left an indelible mark on me. Walden Pond Press brought two-hundred copies of Platypus Police Squad: Never Say Narwhal to gift to the young readers in attendance. The smiles on their faces as they were handed books will carry me for years to come.
Along with my publisher, Walden Pond Press, I've been encouraging libraries and police departments to work together though reading-aloud initiatives. The LAPD created their program contingently to our efforts, but I am so glad that we were able to link up. I've seen officers and librarians working together in various towns across the country, and I hope that you would consider building a similar setup in your public or school library. But where to start? Look for the link that I'll post in the comments section to help get you started. We created a brochure that offers tips and a reader's theater from Platypus Police Squad: The Frog Who Croaked.

School Visits

Ever consider hosting an author visit with a thousand kids in the audience? It's a ton of fun and a little easier than you might think.
A few weeks back, I visited with the students of New Richmond, VA. Laura Ulrich and her diligent colleagues brought in every student from every district school to the high school auditorium throughout the day. I saw three groups of one-thousand students in grades K-5! So one day, three-thousand students! I gave everyone a high five or a handshake as they walked out. Some kids even demanded a hug.
I absolutely LOVE these opportunities. There is so much energy in a room like that. And give me a microphone and a screen to project sketches on, and you'll hear a pin drop.
Check out this great article about how it all went down:

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

The Book Con

Dav Pilkey has started up a side business, and you'll be glad to know that he only shines shoes with clean underpants. 

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Free Webcasts

I will be live in my studio on Tuesday, May 17th, to celebrate the publication of the final Platypus Police Squad book! These webcasts are a ton of fun and they are completely FREE!
I'll read from NEVER SAY NARWHAL, give a tour of my art studio and draw live! I'll also take questions from classrooms across the country.
Hope to see you there!

Modern Myths

You never know who you'll run into at ‪#‎FreeComicBookDay‬....if you Mo what I mean...
Thank you for the loot, Modern Myths, Inc. Love stopping by your shop!


BookCon is NEXT Saturday in Chicago! I'm ecstatic to take the Downtown Stage with Dav PilkeyLucy Knisley and Gene Luen Yang! It'll be a lively time, and The A.V. Club's Oliver Sava will moderate.
And get there early to see Ann M. Martin and Raina Telgemeier's Comicstalk up The Babysitters Club with David Levithan!
I cannot wait. See you there?

School Lunch Hero Day

Thank you for celebrating School Lunch Hero Day 2016! 
Here is just a sampling of the awesomeness that I saw being shared over social media. Kids decorated aprons and showered their lunch heroes with gifts and flowers, and I love that many meals were served TO the lunch staff. Look for the massage school brought in a masseuse! 
We'll do it again on May 5, 2017! (School Lunch Hero Day is always the first Friday in May.)
Never underestimate the power of sharing an idea. Some years ago, I mentioned the concept for School Lunch Hero Day in passing to Rachael Walker while on a trip to DC. She connected me to the School Nutrition Association, and now this joy, gratitude and love that is being spread in school cafeterias is beyond my wildest dreams.
I hope that your heart is as full as mine.
Thank you to Mista Cookie Jar & The Chocolate Chips for the use of his song "Gratitude" in this video.

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Childhood Favorites

I gave a presentation to the New Richmond, WI community last night. I love that they had my childhood favorites on sale! Thank you, Valley Bookseller!

Famous Women that I Like!

Homework was to write about a famous woman. My kid brainstormed this list. She couldn't choose one, so she's writing a book called Famous Women that I Like! ‪#‎prouddad‬

Scholastic RV

Look for the Scholastic RV this summer! Honored to have my art on this massive bookmobile. Find it on the ‪#‎SummerReading‬ road trip!

School Lunch Hero Day

Friday is School Lunch Hero Day! You don't need elaborate plans, just a simple thank-you card to spread some joy & gratitude. 
Get some inspiration and find downloads at:

Children's Book Week

Happy Children's Book Week! Grace Lin, Lisa Yee, "Dan Santat" and I kicked it off with lunch.