Posted in Illustrators, Meet the authors

Joey Weiser

1. When you were my age, did you like to read? I’ve always loved comics and comic strips. When I was your age I liked to read fantasy and sci-fi novels, especially if they had humor in them, but around that time I was also discovering superhero comics like X-Men.

2. What is a book that impacted you? Jeff Smith’s Bone had a huge impact. Like I said, I liked reading superhero comics and following their adventures, but the kinds of comics that I drew as a kid always looked more like the comic strips I enjoyed, like Calvin & Hobbes or Bloom County. Bone showed me that I could blend the two styles of comics together into one thing, and from then on that’s exactly what I wanted to create.
3.  Is it hard to come up with book ideas? It can be hard to come up with ideas. The good thing about making graphic novels is that it takes so long that you have time to let ideas come to you for what you want to work on next! Ideas can come from all sorts of different places, for instance thinking about your life, or reflecting on the books and movies you like, or just letting your imagination wander.
4. What author or illustrator have you read lately that impacted you? Lately I’ve been very interested in the work of Shigeru Mizuki, like his awesome Kitaro series. Kitaro’s fun but spooky mood was a big influence on Ghost Hog.
5. Is there a newer or less known author/illustrator that people should know about? Mathew New has just announced that his mini-comic series Billy Johnson And His Duck Are Explorers has been planned for publication as a graphic novel in 2020! Those comics are so fun, I highly recommend checking them out!
6. What advice do you have for kids who want to be an author/illustrator? Write and draw as much as you can! Think about why you like the things you like and try to use some of those same qualities in your work. But if you write and draw as much as you can, every day if possible, you almost can’t help but get better!
7. As an author, do you hear from your readers? What do you like about it?I hear from readers a little bit. It’s always very encouraging to know that people are reading my work, because that’s why I create it! I really see my comics being read as the final step in the process. That’s why conventions and school / library visits are nice. I get a chance to see my readers and hear about what they think of my work.
8. If you could portal into any book, which would it be? There are some really cool islands in Eiichiro Oda’s One Piece. I’d love to visit the island made of candy, or the floating island in the sky… except they are always way more dangerous than you’d want in those stories!! I’d want to visit a peaceful version, I guess.
9. Why do you think graphic readers are important for children? Comics are great because they have a hand-made quality that shows that not only can you read the kinds of books you want, you can also create them yourself! This isn’t like a movie that takes dozens or hundreds of people to make. All you need is a some drawing materials and you can tell the story in your head.
Posted in Book Review, Graphic Novels, Reviews by Annoying Little Brother

Ghost Hog

By Joey Weiser

book Source: bought at TCAF

Book Status: available

During free comic book day, we got a copy of Ghost Hog. At TCAF, we met Joey Weiser and got a full sized copy of Ghost Hog. The free comic book day is a little different than the book.

Ghost Hog is a graphic novel about a Hog is also a ghost. It is a girl named Truffles. Her nickname is Truf. The book is about her adventures as a ghost. She has to deal with something that is not so nice (The Hunter).

It was fun to read. I recommend this to kids who like ghosts and kids who like adventures.

Posted in Book Review

The unhappy little pig

By Howard Wong

Illustrated by Adrian Alphona

Book Source: bought at TCAF

Book Status: Available (limited printing)

This book is about an unhappy little pig who tries to be each different animals on the Chinese Zodiac. It doesn’t make him happy. He eventually settles for… spoiler alert… spoiler 🚨…. being himself.

This is a story about being happy with yourself or what you do and what you have. This is something kids struggle with – we feel like we need to be better, cooler, popular. We will still struggle with being happy with ourselves but books like this help.

This book was limited printed for the Hong Kong International Young Readers Festival. Mine is copy 197/200 (Howard brings a stack and you can pick your number). I don’t know how many he has left but I hope this gets reprinted so more people can have it!

BTW I think his dedication is funny!

Posted in Behind the Scenes, Meet the authors

Howard Wong

Author website/social media: howard-wong.blogspot.com

1.     When you were my age (10), did you like to read?

I loved reading at a young age. The library was my favorite place to visit and still is. 

2.     What is a book that made an impact on you?

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I borrowed a well-read copy from the library with a cover that had seen better days during a summer when I was ten. I read the whole thing in one afternoon while visiting my grandparents. I just couldn’t put it down. The whimsical adventure that Charlie took me as a reader inspired my imagination. 

3.     Is it hard to come up with book ideas? 

Sometimes it is. Inspiration for ideas can come from anywhere at any time. I tend to collect some ideas that come to me that aren’t ready to be a full story yet. I like to revisit these unfinished ideas to see if I can mold them into a story. 

4.     What author or book have read recently that impacted you?

Rick Remender’s Black Science series, which isn’t a book. It’s a comic book series which has been one of my favorite stories I’ve read in a while. It has all kinds of adventures set in a world where we travel through multiple dimensions with different versions of the world we know, interesting character development and many twist and turns. It’s not fit for young readers though. 

Is there a new or lesser known author you think kids should be aware of? 

Oliver Jeffers is one that I point out to friends when we talk about picture books we love. Lost and Found is one of my favorites of his. His stories and beautiful art compliment each other perfectly to tell funny stories with heart. 

Why do you think graphic readers like yours are important for kids?

I think all kinds of books are important for kids. Having grown up as a reader, books for me then and now are the magical gateway to incredible worlds, adventures, mysteries, and self-discovery! I wrote The Unhappy Little Pig from the inspiration of how we try to be like other people we feel are better than us, but it’s really not the way to find happiness. By the end of the story, we discover what makes the unhappy little pig truly happy. This is something that I hope kids will find true for themselves too. 

7. What advice do you have for a kid who wants to be an author?

Read different genre of books. Even ones that you think you don’t like just to try them out. Like trying new types of food, you never know if you like it until you give it a go. 

Write every day, but don’t worry about it being perfect the first time. When we write we make mistakes, come up with better ideas, and more. We go through many drafts before we get to the version we like most, which is the one you’ll see in a book. So don’t worry about changing things in your story. We do it all the time. 

Share your stories with your family and friends. Ask them what they like and don’t like about your stories. This will let you see what works well and what parts of your story you’ll need to work on a bit more. 

8. As an author, do you hear from your readers? What do you like about that?

I have readers who’ve commented on my work on social media and in person like at TCAF. I like readers sharing their thoughts, feelings, and opinions of my stories with me. I get to know what that like about my writing, but I also get to share stories of how I came up with certain things like using an old photo of our first dog as one of the characters. 

9.If you could portal into any book (yours or another person ’s), what book would it be?

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The whimsical world alone would be fun to experience, but of course there’s also all that chocolate and candy too!

Posted in Book Review

Clyde

By Jim Benton

Book Source: provided in exchange for review

Book Status: Available

I met Jim Benton at a book event last year and it totally didn’t occur to me I had been reading his work for years. I didn’t expect to meet the Jim Benton and him to be so nice. I just reviewed Catwad by him and was excited when his pr person reached out about reviewing Clyde! So here we go…

This book is about a bear who is named Clyde and wants to be a bad guy. I think he is like me and wakes up on the wrong side of the bed a lot. When he goes to a town where everyone is mean, he meets a butterfly named Melisa Sue, who beats Clyde up. She’s a second grader. She also beats up some guys at the town. When the go back to Clyde’s home to save his grandma turtle from fish jail. She’s in jail for splashing a fish. They get there, and about 900 other animals are there to, including a PENGUIN AND A KITTY!!!!!!!

I recommend this book to people who want to be an tough and people who are bully’s.

Posted in Book Review

Reboot!

Hi! So, confession time, recently I got burnt out with the blog. I have been feeling overwhelmed with reviews and the commitments. School and kid life are taking more time.

I’m going to start to post with the following things each day

Monday:

I will focus on Graphic readers – graphic novels, comics and those books that aren’t picture books but aren’t just chapter books. I may revisit a previously reviewed graphic novel because as I get older, how I read them changes.

Tuesday:

Maybe I will post. Maybe I won’t.

Wednesday:

If I have an interview with an author, illustrator, librarian or other book person, I will post it.

Thursday:

Maybe a post maybe no post, if post it is whatever I want.

Friday:

What I’m reading or just finished.

Saturday:

No post

Sunday:

No post.

Vacation weeks:

Posts on some days, mostly about my vacation.

Book Events:

Posts throughout the day, about the event. These will most likely happen on my social media. I like twitter the most!

Solicitation policy

I will still consider solicited books. This is how I have found some great ones. I just can’t make any promises on post timing. I do want to be able to do book tours and more so keeping my schedule open will help.

After three years, it is time to change things up! Plus more is traveling more and she is my technical support.

Posted in Book Review

The worst class trip ever

By Dave Barry

Book Source: bought by my parents

Book Status: available

My mom picked this up for me because I am stuck in a negative loop right now. She says things are the worst a lot. So this book is about a class trip to Washington DC. They live far enough they need to fly there . On the flight is when everything starts to go bad. There are two suspicious people sitting near the two main characters, Wyatt and Matt. The men won’t let the flight attendants take their bags and insist on holding them in their lap. Matt is thinking outrageously and says there is a bomb. No, no, no – it is a dragon head. And it is an outrageously fun start to the book which is super fun at this stressful end of the school year period.

This book was a very fun read. It was a quick book for me. I think fourth and fifth grade students would really enjoy it. They would think outrageously with the facts in the book. This is also a good book on why we shouldn’t jump to conclusions.

Oh and I don’t want to go on a class trip with these two boys!

PS just because it is that time of year, did you know Tim Kubart has a really fun field trip song? Though we want to know what is a sandwich factory?