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4 Mar

CHICK AND BRAIN: SMELL MY FOOT got a Geisel Honor in late January! I am pleased as punch and very grateful to all the librarians of the American Library Association, especially those on this year’s Geisel Committee. Many thanks to them, and to all the folks who take the time to read my books!

I’m coming out of hibernation! (briefly)

17 Apr

Hello! How ya been?

I’m briefly coming out of hibernation in the very near future!

I’m hoping you’ll join me on Sunday, April 23rd at 2:00 at BBGB in Richmond, Virginia to celebrate the relaunch of my personal favorite book of all my books—Bee-Wigged!

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The return of Jerry Bee!

(BBGB is a wonderful children’s book store and one of the biggest supporters of Jerry Bee from the get-go. I can’t think of a better book store to host this event. And here’s my proposed logo for them…maybe one of these days they’ll take me up on it):


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The Big Potato Update of 2015

11 Mar

I am terrible at blogging. A lot has happened since I last posted. I won’t go into any of it here, except to say that this happened:

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Check it out: Sock Monkey tries the Phonic Ear in a photo comic!

19 Aug

Only two weeks until my graphic novel/memoir El Deafo is released! September 2nd is gonna be a good day. The book is about my experiences as a deaf kid trying to function in a hearing world, and it is also a celebration of the technology that I was using in school during the mid-seventies and early eighties. That technology was called the Phonic Ear, and here it is in all its glory in the book:


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Rabbit & Robot plot suggestions from some groovy-cool kids!

22 Apr

Mr. Donahue is an awesome first-grade teacher who recently shared his groovy cool students’ suggestions for what Rabbit and Robot should do next. Check ’em out:


These are super suggestions and I really think that lightning bugs belong in the new book. And a dinosaur, why not? Rabbit and Robot going to the beach and playing in the snow were popular, too, which makes me think a Rabbit & Robot All Year (huge hat tips to Arnold Lobel, of course) could work as well. Hmmm. All this to say that there will indeed be a second Rabbit & Robot. Huzzah!

Mr. Donahue’s students also made their own little books inspired by Rabbit & Robot. Here are some of their covers and spreads. Thanks, Mr. Donahue!



And oh yeah…I’ll be back soon to talk up my new graphic novel, El Deafo, out from Abrams in September of this year. In the meantime, stay groovy cool!

Sock Monkey as the Nutcracker: bits and pieces from the Vault of the Unpublished Stuff

24 Dec

So…I’ve been waiting to hear from the lovely folks at Candlewick Press about what might happen to the Sock Monkey books that we did together, starting an entire decade ago. The books are no longer in print, so if you’re not familiar with them, that’s ok. The books are called SOCK MONKEY GOES TO HOLLYWOOD, SOCK MONKEY BOOGIE WOOGIE, and SOCK MONKEY RIDES AGAIN, and there are two possibilities: I’ll either get the rights back to them, or Candlewick will decide to republish them. I wait with baited breath about the decision Candlewick will make!

Meanwhile, several years ago I tried out a Sock Monkey Christmas book, which Candlewick felt wasn’t quite up to snuff, and while I might not have thought so then, upon re-reading it, I’d have to agree. But there are some parts I like, and so I’ll share a little bit here with you, without giving the whole thing away. Because you never know. Maybe I’ll rework it and get it right!

Here are a few pages:


Sock Monkey finds his friends doing various holiday things, and asks them for some help and advice with his dancing. Here’s how Froggie (who apparently is Jewish and therefore celebrating Hannukah) helps him out:


Sock Monkey gets help from Miss Bunn and Blue Pig, too. But look what happens when he asks Sock Buddy for some help with his costume:



Of course, after this, Sock Monkey is furious, and treats Sock Buddy like garbage. Which is not the way one should treat one’s friends, should one?


What happens next? Well, hopefully someday you will find out!

Sock Monkey and I wish you a wonderful holiday season with your family and friends!

Birth of a Crankee

5 Jul

Amazing writer and friend Kirby Larson (Hattie Big Sky, The Friendship Doll) features us on her blog today. Tom talks about how we basically wrote Crankee Doodle in the car, and here are the notes (and rough layout) to prove it:



"Handy with the ladies?" Ruh-roh!

“Handy with the ladies?” Ruh-roh!

Figuring out the layout is my favorite part of the whole process.

Figuring out the layout is my favorite part of the whole process.

Be sure to check out Kirby’s books. They are magnificent. Especially The Friendship Doll. It’s my personal favorite of all her great books.

Rabbit & Robot party a rip-roarin’ success!

2 Oct

What a great time we had yesterday at the Rabbit & Robot Book Launch Party!

Say cheese, Rabbit and Robot!

Many thanks to everyone who came and celebrated the new book with me.

And also, many thanks to all those who volunteered (aka The People I Begged To Do Stuff For Me):

  • readers Cindy Minnick, Kirk Carter, and Brian Compton
  • Master of Ceremonies Michael Hemphill
  • Judges Terry Ellen Carter, Robert Pilkington, and Melissa Pilkington
  • Pizza Picker Upper Robert Pilkington
  • Popcorn Popper Janet Wren
  • Chocolate Nuts-and-Bolts Maker Melissa Pilkington
  • Library Volunteers Sydney, Steve, and Susan (is this an alliterative party, or what?)
  • Photographer Kirk Carter (all of the photos in this post were taken by Kirk — aren’t they great?)

I asked folks to come in costume, and boy, did they ever! There were rabbits:

And there were robots:

There were Rabbits and Robots coexisting peacefully together:

And there was this little guy, in a crazy Rabbit/Robot mash-up:

There were candy peas and carrots, and chocolate nuts and bolts (and pizza and popcorn and punch):

There were folks trying out the Rabbit & Robot carnival thingamajig:

There were crafts:

And there were prizes:

There was much excitement about the prizes:

There was Great Pathos:

And Great Joy:

And there was me, signing books, and looking very Rabbit-like (both without my Robot glasses AND with my buck-teeth):

But most importantly, there was reading.

Thanks again, everybody, for a great party!

Maybe we’ll do another one soon!

Rabbit makes a schedule for the Book Launch Party!

28 Sep

I was reading Rabbit & Robot the other night, and lo and behold, a page had changed. Rabbit took the old list out of the book, and replaced it with the schedule for the Rabbit & Robot Book Launch Party! And here it is:

Rabbit wanted me to further clarify: Chapter 1 will be read by Librarian Extraordinaire Cindy Minnick, Chapter 2 will be read by Photographer Extraordinaire Kirk Carter, Chapter 3 will be read by Floyd Elementary School Librarian Extraordinaire Brian Compton, and Chapter 4 will be read by me.

Also: If your craft or your costume wins a prize, you do not have to be present to collect it. We’ll figure it out!

Only 2 more days to go! We will have fun, indeed. Hope to see you there.

Super Tiny Lil’ Bit at the National Book Festival!

25 Sep

Some of you might know about my compulsion to chew my fingers and fingernails to death on long car rides. This has nothing to do with Tom Angleberger’s driving, as he is quite good at it. It’s just something that happens, because I tend to get anxious about Things That Matter as well as about Things That Don’t Matter. To prevent this, I come prepared with stuff so that I can make something during our trip.

This time, we were headed to the National Book Festival in Washington, DC, to which Tom had been invited to do a presentation. I decided this time to make something for the Amazing Dav Pilkey (totally worth clicking on his link, by the way). What did I make? It’s Super Tiny Lil’ Bit, and here he is!

Introducing Super Tiny Lil’ Bit, looking pretty spiffy!

and here’s his cape!

But first, why Dav Pilkey? How could I possibly know the inspirational genius behind such masterpieces as the Captain Underpants series, the Ook and Gluk series, the Big Dog and Little Dog series, etc., etc.? I actually don’t really know him all that well. Just 5 minutes worth of knowing him, is all. But here’s what happened in those 5 minutes. During the Decatur Book Festival, we gave Dave this Dav this origami Captain Underpants that Tom had made:

Tom’s Origami C.U.!

And Dav loved it!

A thumbs-up from Dav Pilkey!

He liked it so much that he and his wife sent us the Most Amazing Care Package Ever Sent to Anyone on This Planet Earth. Seriously. And so I felt like the only way to thank him would be to make something else to send to him. Thus, Super Tiny Lil’ Bit.

STLB was done by the time we got to DC. So I decided to have a little bit of fun with him. He got to do a little sightseeing… and a little hobnobbing, too. He was a great ice-breaker and helped me talk to some of my favorite writers and illustrators, and also enjoyed spending some time with my pals from Northern VA. Check it out:

STLB for President! If he won, he’d live in this beautiful house.

Michael Buckley of N.E.R.D.S. and Sisters Grimm fame! He wore an Evel Knievel suit to promote his new book, Kel Gilligan’s Daredevil Stunt Show. Hilarious.

Matt Luckhurst, writer and illustrator of Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox: The Great Pancake Adventure (be sure to check out his amazing videos on his website. OMG, as the kids like to say.)

Peter Brown, author and illustrator of Children Make Terrible Pets, plus plenty, plenty more!

Superfriend Madelyn Rosenberg, author of The Schmutzy Family and Happy Birthday, Tree!

Superfriend Butch Lazorchak, Library of Congress Mastermind/Digital Archivist!

New Superfriend Laura Mihalick, Trip-Planning and Scheduling Mastermind at Abrams/Amulet!

Wunderkind Adam Rex, of whom I am extremely jealous. That dude can outdraw anybody! Check out his book with Mac Barnett, Chloe and the Lion. Actually, check out ANY book with his name on it as author and/or illustrator. Amazing!

Mac Barnett! Heavens, those of you following this blog will know of my obsession with his book, Extra Yarn (illustrated by Jon Klassen). I was so happy to finally meet him.

And of course, STLB spent a lot of time with this fella:

I saw a bunch more folks, like graphic novelist and all-around lovely Raina Telgemeier of Smile and Drama fame, Wimpy Kid mastermind Jeff Kinney, author/illustrator Bob Shea of Dinosaur vs. The Potty fame (so fun to talk to!), hard-working Amulet publicist Jason Wells, and Super Library Guy Rocco Staino… and somehow did not manage to get their pictures with STLB like I should have. But it was so cool seeing all of them, too.

And then, we stopped in England to show STLB this:

Oh, wait! It’s really Foamhenge in Natural Bridge, VA, a creation of the supremely talented Mark Cline!

Anyway, a great trip. I’m sending Super Tiny Lil’ Bit in the mail to Dav this week. I’ll miss him, but based on the care package we got from Dav, it’s safe to say STLB will be VERY well fed, indeed. And Sock Monkey? He won’t miss STLB at all. He’s still not talking to us about this trip and all the people and places he didn’t get to see. Uh-oh.