It’s publication day for Giraffes Ruin Everything!
I’m so grateful for everyone involved with this book: illustrator extraordinaire Chris Robertson, my agent, Brooks Sherman, editor Mary Kate Castellani, publicist Lizzy Mason, and everyone at Bloomsbury Kids, and to all my fellow giraffe suspicioners out there. Thank you!
Here’s what people are saying about the book:
“Giraffes really do ruin everything. … A young child learns to navigate the nuances of social relationships, with help from a spotted, lanky friend.” —Kirkus
“In an age where hurling accusations about someone else’s shortcomings has become something of a social norm, this is a gentle but firm reminder that patience and understanding have their rewards.” —Publisher’s Weekly
“What starts off as a story about how awful being friends with a giraffe can be turns into a heartwarming lesson of learning to understand and accept friends as they are.” —School Library Journal
“The full page, brightly colored illustrations complement the text perfectly and are very engaging. Young readers, especially animal lovers, will want to read this book.” —School Library Connection
I’m certain because I had planned to share the cover for my picture book debut, GIRAFFES RUIN EVERYTHING, yesterday. On Monday. Not Tuesday.
I’m sure a giraffe had something to do with this…
As many of you know, giraffes and I have a history that goes way back to my preschool years. If you would like to read up on the incident that started it all, click here, but then come right back because you don’t want to miss the cover reveal.
Anyway, one day a few years ago, I decided to express my feelings about those long-necked villains. Those musings became a picture book manuscript which sold shortly thereafter to Bloomsbury Kids.
But unless one is B. J. Novak one’s picture book needs, well… pictures.
one Giraffes. I feel like I just barely set my last book loose upon the world, and here I am gearing up to unleash another. Giraffes Ruin Everything is on deck! I’ll be revealing the cover in my newsletter tomorrow, if you’d like to take a peek! Sign up here.
two Pie. I had pie for breakfast and pie for lunch. ‘Tis the season!
three Upcoming events! I’ll be at NCTE (the National Council of Teachers of English conference) in Minneapolis this weekend, talking about ladies writing hilarious books and how teachers can model the editor/author relationship for student writing. I’ll be signing books, too! Details and full schedule here.
Next weekend, I’ll be participating in Indie Next Day. I’ll be on hand at my local bookseller, The Book Bin, chatting books, giving recommendations, and signing copies of both Hook’s Revenge and The Pirate Code! Look for me Saturday, November 28, at the downtown location from 2 – 4. Details here.
Can’t make it? Call the store at 503-361-1235 to order personalized copies of my books. They make great holiday gifts!
On Friday, December 5, from 7 – 7:30, I’ll be participating in the Willamette Writers Children’s Author Night at the Clackamas Mall Barnes & Noble. Come in for Q&A and a book signing. Details.
four Idaho. I just got home from a great trip to Boise, Idaho where I visited with students from Longfellow and Roosevelt Elementary schools, and had a lovely event at one of my favorite bookstores, Rediscovered Bookshop. If you are in the area, stop in and tell them I said hello!
A photo posted by Rediscovered Books (@rediscoveredbooks) on
I also ate at Cracker Barrel so I’d say it was just about the best trip ever.
five My anniversary. Next month, Mr. Schulz and I will celebrate 20 years of marriage. He has booked us a celebratory Las Vegas spa vacation. I think I’ll renew his contract for another five years, at least.
I got this out-of-the-blue note in the mail yesterday.
How could I forget? This is a color copy of a photograph showing the actual giraffe that bit the head off my doll. This was taken post-bite. Look how disgusted my mom looks. I had no idea this photo existed, but I am so glad it does.
Speaking of giraffes, I feel a little funny about posting more news so soon–like I am being greedy or something, but…
Once again, so many thanks to my agent, Brooks Sherman. I had not planned to write a picture book, but he encouraged me to try it. I did, and when the story was ready, he found a wonderful publisher for it. [Writers: Listen to your agents. They are usually pretty smart–I know mine is.]
I am thrilled to be working with Mary Kate at Bloomsbury Kids. I was able to meet both her and Rotem, my editor for Hook’s Revenge, when I was in New York a few months ago. They are amazing. I know I am going to learn a lot from each one.
I’m very lucky.
I’m very grateful.
You know how I feel about giraffes, right? So. I wrote one that ruins absolutely everything, but at the end of the day, he’s pretty likable.* I don’t quite know what happened. I suppose it’s true what they say: Writing is therapy.
To celebrate, I bought myself a t-shirt of this image. I think it perfectly sums up the happy beginnings of my writing career.
Want your own? Get it here. (I am not affiliated with this company in any way. I just like to share the awesome.)
So, that’s it. All Most of my secrets have been revealed. All the big ones anyway. My hair can deflate and things can get back to normal. Or, you know, normal for me. Whatever that means.
At least until next week, when I announce the sale of my new YA. (Kidding!) (Probably.)
*Don’t think for a second that I have let my guard down. Just because I happened to write one that I rather like doesn’t mean I have forgotten the truth: Giraffes are dangerous creatures. Hide your wife. Hide your kids.
Yesterday, my family and I found ourselves smack dab in the middle of Sisters, Oregon. What does one do when finding oneself in a situation like this? One must go shopping. Newt requested that we get ourselves to a candy shop toot-suite.
The last time we were in Sisters, there was a fairly large candy store, however, things will change when you are not looking. The location is now a handmade furniture store–considerably less tasty. We were informed that a local antique shop had taken over the role of town candy supplier so we headed up the road and entered the creepiest store on the planet.
Here is just a small sampling of why it deserves that title:
Hitler Stamps–Never Used
The Racism Cabinet
The Hall of Sharp Things
All it wants is your love. And your soul.
Shirley Temple–Headlining in Heidi’s Nightmares
I am both fascinated and terrified by dolls. The way they stare at you with those soulless eyes… (Note: I actually gave an involuntary shudder when I typed that. Just so you know.)
I have never enjoyed dolls all that much, though I can remember three from my childhood that I played with. The one I liked most one of those rag dolls that was, um, reversible? a topsy-turvy doll. Anyone remember those? It was a little white-skinned, fair-haired doll on one side, but when you flipped it over and pulled the dress down, it became a little black doll with curly hair. I liked her because she had a secret. I was too young to know about conjoined twins, but if I had, that would have likely been a draw as well. (I found a picture of a topsy-turvy doll here. I also found this one and am now scarred for life. I dare you to click it.)
When I was eight, all the girls at my school were desperate for Cabbage Patch Dolls. I caved to the peer pressure and begged for one too. My mom hinted that I would get one for my birthday–and I did. A homemade one. My mom worked really hard on it and I love her for trying to make her little girl’s dream come true, but readers? That doll was scary. I could feel its painted-on eyes staring at me through the night. I buried it in a pile of stuffed animals and tried not to think about it.
The most memorable doll was the only one I ever really loved. It was a Kewpie Doll given to me by my grandma. Yes, I know Kewpie Dolls are among the creepiest of the creepy (in fact, soul-eater up there is one), but I adored my grandma and didn’t get to see her often. This time she made the 800 mile trip out to visit and brought something just for me. Being near the tail end of a large family, spontaneous gifts didn’t happen very often. I loved my little doll with as much fervor as any three-year-old heart could handle. That very day we went to the zoo, another unusual occurrence. It was panning out to be the best day of my entire young life. But that was about to change. I remember cradling my little doll in a blue handkerchief ‘blanket’ my dad loaned to me. I chattered to her about all the animals we were to see. When we went to the giraffe pen, I was thrilled to find that we could get very close to them. In fact, all that separated us was a chain-link fence. One of those incredibly tall creatures ambled right up to us. If I had dared, I could have reached through the links and touched it. It bent its neck over the fence, lowering its head toward me. I froze. It came closer, then closer still. Without warning, it shot out an amazingly long tongue, wrapped it around little Kewpie’s head, and *pop*–decapitated her. I remember screaming, looking down at my little bundled up doll torso. My dad, who is short like me, reached as high as he could, barely clearing the fence, and throttled the beast. My mom started whacking it with her giant red vinyl purse. My grandma hurried off to find help. I honestly do not remember any siblings being there, but I’m certain they were, and that they were laughing. Either the giraffe tired of the abuse or he found the plastic less appealing than it looked. He spit my doll’s head out and it landed with a thunk on the pavement. The last thing I remember about that day was looking down and seeing Kewpie grinning up at me, covered in a shining layer of giraffe spit. This likely explains why, to this day, I do not like dolls. Or giraffes. Edited to add:
Call my hometown bookstore, The Book Bin at 503-361-1235, and place an order!
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