Saturday, July 27, 2019

Hey, Kiddo at NE Book Awards and SDCC!

The Kids are alright. I’m thrilled to have HEY, KIDDO make it as a finalist in the YA category of the New England Book Awards. Equally as excited for my pal Jerry Crafts NEW KID, which made it to the children’s category.

I’m not at Comic Con this year, but proud to have HEY, KIDDO as a part of Scholastic Graphix’s history.


Sidewalk-chalk season. ‬


Hurrah! Author copies of the latest JEDI ACADEMY arrived!

Attack of the Furball will hit bookshelves on September 3rd. Look for JEDI ACADEMY: ATTACK OF THE FURBALL by Amy Ignatow and me. This is the second book in the Christina Starspeeder trilogy, and I had a blast making this with Amy!

Recording Hey, Kiddo pt.5

The Belmonte Boys were crucial to helping me get the Hey, Kiddo live reads up and running. They make an appearance in the audiobook as well!

Lisa Yee used to write for television. She used to live in LA....which is why I gave her a particular line for her cameo in the HEY, KIDDO audiobook...

I recorded the Author’s Note for the HEY, KIDDO audiobook on Monday. Another Worcester T worn for that record—this one from Worcester Wares.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Recording Hey, Kiddo pt 3

When you hear the audiobook for HEY, KIDDO, you’ll hear the voices of my family. In most cases, they voice themselves. Lynn and Holly, those two aunts who became my sisters, came into the recording studio to read from their lines in the book. As did Stephen, our older brother. And some family members are strategically placed as Easter eggs.

‪I was trying to figure out how to incorporate our son into the HEY, KIDDO audiobook, but he is a very active, sometimes uncooperative, kid about to turn three. Then I remembered—when he was born, I recorded audio of his newborn sounds for posterity. So listen for him on pages 38-39.‬
And in this photo, you might notice a black mass behind us. That’s Frank the Pug sitting on my shoulder, who was trying to sort out where his place was in the world once XJK was born...

‪Our middle kid isn’t into performing in front of an audience but got super into voice acting for the HEY, KIDDO audiobook, bringing my youngest relatives in the book to life. ‬

🎵I get by with a little help my friends.🎵
‪My buddies Pat and Mike came into the recording studio to record some lines for the HEY, KIDDO audiobook. ‬
‪Never in a million years did I think we’d be recreating these stupid skits and reliving these misadventures for an audiobook. 

When casting the role of Pat, my best friend and confidant, for the HEY, KIDDO audiobook, we knew we needed a young actor who was both big-hearted and a little sporty. We found the perfect kid—Pat’s son.

I had so many amazing teachers during my academic career but there are three who came at a pivotal time and made a monumental difference in my life, helping send me right to where I am today. They are in Hey, Kiddo and THEIR voices will be in the audiobook.
Mrs. Casey brought me on as the school newspaper’s cartoonist and always offered a sympathetic ear, Mark Lynch pushed me to develop my own style and forget everything I learned from a drawing book, and Mr. Shilale taught me an artist foundation and his art classroom offered me solace.

‪The Worcester record for the HEY, KIDDO audiobook was filled with many profound moments. But I don’t know that any any were more poignant than my father coming in to read lines—and that letter he first wrote me when I was 16. ‬
‪We had many conversations while I was writing this graphic memoir. I sent him early drafts to read—I wanted him to know this book wasn’t an indictment. I initially offered to create a pseudonym. But Rich wanted to use his real name, he was adamant I do so—telling me that he was proud to be my father and didn’t want anyone thinking otherwise. ‬

Recorded at Fontanez Recording, Mixing & Mastering Studio in Worcester, MA.

Tuesday, July 09, 2019

Recording Hey, Kiddo pt. 2

‪We had a recording session for the HEY, KIDDO audiobook today. My kid read as kid me, and dang—she has the acting chops. She made everyone in the room get a little misty when she turned on the emotion. ‬

Recorded at Fontanez Recording, Mixing & Mastering Studio in Worcester.

That T I’m wearing? The Gemini spacesuit, developed and manufactured by the David Clark Company in Worcester in 1965. 

T designed by Hundred Acre Apparel. ‬

Just a Kid from Webster Square on Day 2 of the Hey, Kiddo audiobook record.

Thank you for the amazing T, Mayor Joe Petty!

Saturday, July 06, 2019

Thank You!

Thank you to the Massachusetts Center for the Book for awarding HEY, KIDDO an Honor in the YA category of the Massachusetts State Book Awards! Proud to rep my state with a book about my hometown of Worcester.

‪HEY, KIDDO was awarded the Excellence in Graphic Literature Award for YA Non-Fiction at the Denver Pop Culture Con, and I am absolutely thrilled. Thank you to the entire committee!‬

Peanut Butter and Jellyfish Process

Sketch vs Final‬

Congratulations, Meg Medina!

At the 2018 Nerd Camp in Parma, MI, Meg Medina handed me an ARC of Merci Suárez Changes Gears. It has been such a JOY watching her journey this year. I so wish I could have been in the room as she accepted the prestigious Newbery Medal at #alaac19.
But you'd better believe I was following the tweets from Washington, DC, and I’ll be waiting eagerly for that inspiring speech to land online.
And also, I love the thought of an author out there with a pile of ARCs and a heart filled with hopes who will be giving this speech in 2020.


Tim Burton's Batman hit movie theaters thirty years ago! In the summer of 1989, I was swept up in Batmania and amongst other things, roped my baby cousin into making a Batman radio play. I recreated the museum scene. Listen to eleven-year-old me, Wustah accent and all...

One Book, One Region Launch

If you're looking to get a little misty-eyed this weekend, listen to this brilliant analysis of HEY, KIDDO by Virginia Anderson, Assistant Professor of Theater at Connecticut College. This was the launch event for One Book, One Region program.
I am blown away by this breakdown of the book. It’s not often that somebody can reflect your book back to you to see it anew. And the work this community is doing to help kids tangled up with the opiod crisis is so inspiring.

Recording Hey, Kiddo

‪Cat’s out of the bag! (Or Camel is out of the pack...) Jeanne Birdsall voices my grandmother, Shirley, in the HEY, KIDDO audiobook!‬

‪Jaiden Meltzer, the young actor who is reading as middle-school Jarrett, is laying down the tracks for the HEY, KIDDO audiobook. ‬

‪Chills! ‬

Voicing my grandfather in the HEY, KIDDO audiobook is Richard Ferrone. He has appeared on and Off-Broadway and in theaters across the country. His TV appearances include Law & Order, Against the Law, Guiding Light, and One Life to Live (a fact that would THRILL Shirley), and Richard has narrated more audiobooks than you could count.
Voicing my mother, Leslie, is Jenna Laima. Jenna is also a renowned Audio Book narrator and has won the Audie award for the best female narrator of the year. If you saw THE FIGHTER with Mark Wahlberg, you saw Jenna as one of the judgmental sisters with some choice words for Amy Adams’s character.

‪I visited my grandmother’s best friend, Peggy. Peggy is in her early 90s and has lost the majority of her eyesight. Much to my surprise, she took a magnifying glass to HEY, KIDDO and read it over 3 weeks. “Shirley would have loved it.” My heart is full. ‬

‪I was waiting on the audiobook to present it to Peggy. But I’m so glad that she was able to see the pictures and visit with her old friend, Shirl. (Peggy especially thought the cursing was spot-on.)‬

Daily Sketches

Chilling while my kids play at the playground.

Some early-morning creativity with my almost three-year-old.

Happy 50th, Sesame Street!

Happy 50th anniversary to Sesame Street! My childhood memories with this show are only rivaled by the new memories I have of watching with my own kids.

Throwback Thursday

#ThrowbackThursday to that one time when I hung out with Roger Rabbit at Niagara Falls...
And I should add, I discovered this photo when sifting through some of my old Garfield treasuries.