Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Exciting News!

‪Lunch Lady readers, I have news.‬

‪I am SO excited for what Sony Pictures has cooking with writer Fred Wolf.‬

(Also, in regards to questions about the potential PG-13 rating:

Technically speaking, the movie doesn’t have a rating yet. The MPAA designates a rating after the movie has been made. That being said, it is very typical for a live-action family feature that is action-driven to have a ra
ting like this. The Marvel superhero movies, the recent Star Wars movies, Harry Potter, etc.

I’m confident however things proceed with this project it is going to be a lot of fun for everyone to enjoy together.)

School Lunch Hero Day 2018

‪A student posted this note to a school cafeteria for School Lunch Hero Day. THIS! All of this. 

Thank you!

Made thank-you cards for all of the schools that hosted me this academic year. Arrived before summer recess, I hope. ‬

Happy Father's Day

My grandfather led by example with his work ethic and love for family. Happy Father’s Day to all of the father figures out there!


‪Even though Grace Lin and I should have been packing for ALA 2018 in New Orleans, we had our first meeting for a super-secret project that will be the coolest and hopefully inspire many young artists. ‬

(Also, this photo is not at all staged and there are no clues, so don’t bother looking.)

Familiar Faces!

Me and Cliff. 

A visit to Scholastic headquarters while in NYC for Book Expo 201 and Book Con.

We just keep running into each other. 


Thoughts from ALA 2018

‪Librarians: Patrons of the Arts and Heart, we would not be living out these childhood ‬dreams without you. 

I was a kid who loved to draw then grew to be an adult who made that his vocation. But there was a time when I thought—maybe this just isn’t going to work out. 

It was 2008, my wife was six months pregnant and she was laid off from her job. Suddenly, everything fell at my feet. It was overwhelming. I didn’t know how I was going to make it happen. I even applied for a few regular-type jobs. It was humbling—the employers knew my books and were wondering why I was applying.

But schools kept hosting me, keeping my family afloat while I toiled away in the studio at all odd hours. (And in hotel rooms while I travelled.) One of those projects I was wrapping up was a graphic novel about a crime-fighting lunch lady.

I had been working on that story for years, so long that publishers hadn’t been putting out graphic novels for kids. And when I first submitted that middle-grade comic, the publisher had no idea what to do with it. It was on submission for over a year.

So fast forward a decade. Gina and I are traveling to New Orleans for ALA 2018 to debut my YA graphic memoir. (Another seemingly unfathomable kind of book.) We’re at the airport, and my wife gets to see Lunch Lady standing ten feet tall on permanent display on a mural.

G grabs my arm, looks up at Lunch Lady, and says, “To think she was just a few sketches on your desk in that tiny studio in our old house.” The aforementioned in-utero baby is now nearly ten and at home with her two younger siblings and their grandparents.

We get to NOLA and I’m set to read aloud from HEY, KIDDO for the very first time.

I’m nervous.

I’m breathing deeply.

This is difficult.

But then I run into so many librarians that I’ve known from school visits and social media, and they lift me up with kind words and enthusiasm.

I am given a stirring and moving introduction by comics-advocating librarian Scott Robbins.

I take the podium.

I intro the book and share some important words about Gina and my editor (and longtime friend) David Levithan. They get weepy. (Cry babies!)

I read aloud from a particularly brutal section of the book. The tech goes off without a hitch—the Keynote file pan and scans across the panels, all sound effects play just where I want them to. I can hear people sobbing in the audience.

The passage ends and much to my surprise, everyone is on their feet.

Librarians—you have changed our lives and your students’ lives by filling up your bookshelves with books like Bone, Smile, American Born Chinese, Amulet, Babymouse, El Deafo. And since those early days, there are so many stories that can now be told. Including, my actual story, which is a far departure from my earlier works.

You create space, you are thoughtful, you are champions, you have difficult conversations with adults who think their kids should only be reading “real books.” But you stand tall for those young readers who can’t. And with that, you are making such a difference in the trajectory of the lives of those young people.

So now those kids who read Lunch Lady and her comics peers from the 00’s are now all in high school. And now I am grateful to be reunited with them though Hey, Kiddo. Thank you, @Scholastic for bravely putting this book out into the world.

Gina and I are still on the plane back to Boston. We are flying, but we are floating.

We’ll tell Lunch Lady you said hello when we land.