Snappsy Trifecta


I love waking up on mornings that I get to celebrate a book with Mr. Schu and Nerdy Book Club. Today’s trifecta is extra special. Julie Falatko is a book champion. She brings so much joy to the world of children’s literature. I’m super excited to be able to celebrate her debut as an author with a little interview today.

Before you read my interview with Julie, be sure to check out Mr. Schu’s interview with Snappsy illustrator Tim Miller.

Julie has written a lot of great things for Nerdy, and she is back today with another lovely post.

nerdy monster

Now it is my turn! A big thank you to Julie Falatko for answering my questions.

5,4,3,2,1 Interview

  1. Can you tell us a little bit about Snappsy The Alligator Did Not Ask To Be In This Book?

Snappsy the Alligator (Did Not Ask to Be in This Book!) is about an alligator who is having an ordinary day until the narrator of the book starts making up lies. Is Snappsy really going to eat fuzzy bunnies and innocent chickadees? Nope. But the narrator decides a menacing main character would make the book more exciting.


  1. What is your favorite thing about being an author?

I love that I get to make up characters and places, and then other people get to read about them. It makes me feel like a magician. I imagine a scene, and then, like magic, readers are imagining that same scene.


  1. What’s the hardest thing about being an author?

The hardest thing is working through many drafts and versions of a story to get to the very best one. Also that my computer is 10 feet from the fridge, which means I wander around snacking a lot when I’m trying to write.


  1. If you could spend one day inside the world of any book which book would you pick?

I’d like to spend a day in Who Needs Donuts by Mark Alan Stamaty, because there would be so many interesting things to look at, plus lots of donuts in case I got hungry.


  1. What advice do you have for the young writers in my classroom?

I want you to know that grownup writers are just like you: our writing is sometimes a struggle, and a lot of what we write is terrible. I know rewriting is a pain, but it’s also great, because it’s a chance to make your story amazing. Listen: you are writers. As soon as you put words on a page, you are a writer. Your story is absolutely worth telling, and it’s up to you to tell it. 


Q and A With Ambassador Gene Yang



I was so excited earlier this week when Gene Yang was announced as the new Ambassador For Young People’s Literature. He seems like the absolute perfect pick. I cannot wait to see all of the amazing work he does over the course of his term.

What was your first reaction when you heard you were the new Ambassador of Young Peoples’ Literature?

I was in a car on my way to visit a middle school.  My editor called and told me about the appointment.  He also said I couldn’t tell another soul until the official announcement had been made.

Because there was someone else in the car with me, I had to hold in my reaction.  It was like holding in a sneeze, and not just an ordinary sneeze, but a sneeze of utter exuberance.  Even in the forced silence, though, it felt pretty awesome.


Do you have an official hat or medal now?

That’s a thing?  You get an official hat?  Like a George Washington hat or something?  I can’t wait!

Did you always love reading your whole life? 

My mom used to take my brother and me to the library all the time, partly because she wanted us to love reading and partly because she didn’t want us to watch so much TV.  We grew up reading.  My brother preferred nonfiction.  I loved books by Beverly Cleary, Lloyd Alexander, and Clifford Hicks.  You remember Clifford Hicks?  He’s kind of fallen of the radar now, but he wrote these middle grade books about a genius kid named Alvin Fernald who came up with all these genius solutions to difficult problems.

Later, I got into comic books and graphic novels.  Much of my reading in high school was in panels.  Will Eisner’s Eye of the Storm was a game-changer for me.  He mixes pictures and words, memoir and fiction into a heartrending story.


Gene Yang Self Portrait

What do you read with your own kids?

My wife and I have four kids, ages 3 to 12, one boy and three girls.

Last night, I read Richard Simon, Tanya Simon, and Mark Siegel’s Oskar and the Eight Blessingsto my two younger ones.  It’s a beautiful, evocative book set in 1940s New York.  New York is exotic enough to my kids because they’re native Californians.  New York in the 1940s?  It’s like another world.

Our second oldest and I are reading Katherine Applegate’s Crenshaw together.  She loves the big, fluffy imaginary cat.  We’re about halfway through the book, and she’s already announced that the book deserves a Newbery.

Our oldest reads on his own, but I try to read some of the same books.  He just read the first issue of Totally Awesome Hulk, staring Marvel Comics’ brand-new Korean American Hulk, written and drawn by a Korean American creative team.  Totally awesome.

What’s your favorite part of a book?

When I’m reading, it’s the second-to-last chapter.  I know I’m about to get to the best part.

When I’m writing, it’s the very end.  I love being done, mostly because it means I get to start on my next book.


The Yarn: #12 Matt Tavares – Growing Up Pedro Unravelled


Hi Res Yarn Logo Red_Green (1).png

Sitting down at NCTE and talking to Matt Tavares about writing, his book Growing Up Pedro, and baseball was one of the highlights of a magical weekend.






stitcher-logo-horizontal-white-665x350Travis and I are giving away a the signed copy of Growing Up Pedro that Matt reads from in this episode. To enter fill out the form below (must be at least 13 to enter).


Almost Time For #SharpSchu


Canva Credit: Mr. Schu

Mr. Schu and I hope that you will join us for our monthly Twitter book club. We are super excited to be talking about Drum Dream Girl, Growing Up Pedro and Last Stop on Market Street. Fore more details on the chat please visit Mr. Schu’s blog.


Illustration Credit: Dave Roman

I’m giving away a copy of Drum Dream Girl. The giveaway will close when the chat ends at 10 PM ET on 12/16/15. Enter below (must be at least 13 to enter).

Tracey Baptiste on The Yarn!



In the second episode of The Unraveller Tracey Baptiste talks about creating her middle grade novel The Jumbies.

Subscribe to the show below!



Travis and I are giving away a the signed copy of The Jumbies that Tracey reads from in this episode. To enter fill out the form below (must be at least 13 to enter).