GOOD LUCK. And remember, if you don't win, you can always preorder books online or at your local bookstore.
You guys know by now that my daughter, Amanda Burwasser, and I are writing a new series called Project Droid. The books are already getting great reviews, and they don't hit stores until September. But that doesn't necessarily mean you have to wait until then to get in the know about Logan Applebaum and his android cousin. You might be able to get advance reading copies of the first two books waaaayyy before hand. Our amazing publisher, Sky Pony Press is giving away copies through Goodreads. Enter the contest here: https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/194569-science-no-fair-project-droid-1
GOOD LUCK. And remember, if you don't win, you can always preorder books online or at your local bookstore.
Okay, I admit it took a while before I felt ready to write this. As some of you may know, I have spent June jetting back and forth between conferences in Orlando, Florida. I love Orlando—especially the Disney parks, where my kids literally grew up because I did so much business with Disney back in the day. For almost all of my life, and definitely all of theirs, Orlando meant time spent flying off to Neverland, careening off Splash Mountain, riding in the dark in Space Mountain, driving with a ghost host through a Haunted Mansion, and not being able to get that darn It’s a Small World song out of my brain.
But that all changed June 12 when 49 people were killed doing what I had always done in Orlando—having fun. I cannot describe to you the pall of sadness I felt when I woke up that next morning. I had spent June 11 teaching an all-day seminar on writing chapter books with one of my dearest friends, and we were rewarding ourselves on the 12th with a trip to the Magic Kingdom. And although we went on rides and tried to stay upbeat, the surreal experience of being on a boat with the Pirates of the Caribbean, only to check our phones when we got off, searching for news of any kind, was simply the strangest juxtaposition I have ever experienced. What a strange juxtaposition—people had just been killed for living their lives, for loving who they chose to love, and here we were going on rides. Survivors guilt—most definitely.
What a world. That’s the thought that went through my head all day. And still does. What kind of world are we leaving our children? What will future generations say about people who let such hatred fester and then hand out guns like candy? What are the scars that are being left on our children’s souls as they wake up every day to news of another shooting or bombing? I know that old hippie spirit is still alive in me because I just want to protect the children of the world from all that is evil out there. (Okay, cue the tape: “I’d hammer out danger, I’d hammer out a warning. I’d hammer out love between my brothers and my sisters. All over this land.”)
But it was my second trip to Orlando, this past weekend, that actually gave me hope. Signing at the ALA convention with my co-author--my daughter-- I met so many people who wanted to give the next generation something more than what is out there today. Librarians are heroes. Yes heroes. And you know why? Because they are on the front lines opening children’s minds to possibilities of a better world. They are providing kids with books that will introduce them to other cultures, so that they do not seem so scary. They are providing kids with books that say it is okay to be who you are—and love who you want to love. They are providing kids with alternatives. Best of all, they are providing kids with a chance to get away from the troubles of the real world even if it’s just for a few hours spent under a tree or under the covers, reading.
I cannot tell you how proud I was to sign books for librarians—especially because I was signing with my own kid. It was amazing to welcome Amanda into the writing world and to see her interacting with kids who are now reading our books. My kid is a kid magnet.
When I write with Amanda, she is constantly reminding me not to make the bullies too mean or to allow the characters to use words like stupid or fat because she fears the behavior will be copied. Amanda and I are creating our own world in our Project Droid books—and it is a world that is safe, funny, a little predictable, and most definitely wacky. Kind of like us. Amanda, like the librarians we met at the ALA convention, gives me hope that the next generation may just be ready to stop the hatred and anger, despite what we’ve heard certain politicians spew from their podiums in recent months.
Rest assured, I will go back to Orlando. I will go to the parks. I will laugh again. We all will. We all have to.
But we will never forget.
I know summer doesn't officially start until June 21, but here in NYC, where it's closing in on 90 degrees and everyone is in tank tops and shorts, it's pretty much a given that the season has begun. I don't need to feel the heat to know that summer's on its way. I can tell by the number of summer reading lists featuring Katie Kazoo Switcheroo George Brown Class Clown and Magic Bone books on them. I am so glad that teachers and librarians are suggesting my books for summer reading because to me summer is for fun. My hope is that the books I write are just that--fun to read! I write for kids because I want them to love reading every bit as much as I do. And I want them to laugh and smile and then read some more.
Speaking of fun, tonight my husband and I are heading over to Madison Square Garden for a night of music with the genius piano man, Billy Joel. Anyone who knows us is painfully aware that we spend a lot of time (and money) going to rock concerts. We just love the vibe at a concert--the dancing, the screaming, and the singing along with 20,000 other fans. (The music my husband composes is mostly classical, but he can still rock with the best of them. His new album comes out later this year and I will let you all know when it's available for download and purchase, I promise!) And I'll probably buy a concert t-shirt, because well...why not?
Whatever you all are doing this Memorial Day weekend, take a moment to remember those who paid the ultimate sacrifice so that we can all dance to our own beat, and read any book that make us smile. Censorship is anti-American! In the end, that's really what this weekend is all about.
And don't forget the sunscreen.
Okay, maybe the whole world doesn't have to be on the look out for me--Just kids in EdmonOK, Austin and Katy (TX), and Spring Lake and Point Pleasant NJ. Those are the stops I'm making on my spring tour. The kids, teachers and I are gonna have a blast, playing Mad Libs, barking like dogs, and reading from my newest books. My personal favorite part of any school stop on tour, though, is the question and answer section of my presentation. Kids do ask the darndest things--including: How much do you make? How old are you ? and Will you let Katie Kazoo switcheroo into me in her next book? When I'm in the room no question is off-limits (Even if I am less than exact in answering some of them! I tend to leave my age a little blurry and instead of an extra dollar amount I try to explain the basicconcept of how royalties work).
Touring the US and other countries is my favorite part of being an author. Over the years, I have met many many remarkable indie bookstore owners, teachers who are nothing short of heroic, and bright, inquisitive kids who I hope will be inspired to read and write books of their own after meeting me.
I usually post pix and comments along the way when I'm on tour. So follow me on twitter @NancyKrulik to see how things are going. Should be an interesting journey!
I've been keeping a secret for a very long time! But now I am soooo excited to announce that I am writing a new chapter book series, Project Droid for Sky Pony Press. For the first time I'm working with a co-author, Amanda Burwasser.. If you've checked out my site, you know Amanda isn't just my co-author, she's my daughter. She's also an amazingly funny author with a degree in creative writing from Pratt Institute.
Amanda lives in California, and I live in NYC, so this process has been filled with timing issues (I find myself skyping with her pretty late NYC time) because we write every single word together. So we spend many, many hours arguing, laughing, and creating together. Co-writing is a new experience for me. Being a peer of my daughter's (at least professionally) is new too. But I'm finding great joy in both.
Our series, PROJECT DROID, will be in stores September 6, 2016. Till, then, these cover pix will have to satisfy your curiosity.
It's been a tough month for rock and roll. If you know anything about me, you know that music and I are pretty intensely linked. I've always been obsessed with the soundtrack of my life--music has never been far away. It started back when I was infant, when my grandfather would play music for me on the piano, by ear! My dad can read music but has an ear that won't quit--he can come out of a Broadway musical and pretty much play the whole score. My dad also took me to my first concert--Pete Seeger and Arlo Guthrie, when I was about 10. He bought me my first albums (Yes, vinyl LPs!)--the Beatles, Dylan, Joan Baez, and of course the Grateful Dead. My husband is a classical composer (check out music by Daniel Burwasser, it'll blow your mind) and my son is studying audio production and music at school. But it's more than just a family thing for me. I've never known a time when rock and roll hasn't been my best friend. It's been there for me when I've lost loved ones like my grandparents and needed a good cry, , and when I've been so incredibly happy I just had to dance around the apartment like a fool. Every moment of my life has been marked by music--in concert, at home on the stereo, on the road, at the gym...well, you get the picture. So when someone like David Bowie (who gave us all permission to "Turn and face the strange") dies, it feels like a personal loss. Not that I ever knew the man, or at least I never knew David Jones (Bowie's real name) but I sure knew David Bowie's music. It was always there--ever since I discovered his magic my freshman year in college (okay, I came the party a little late). I know that some of you won't understand attachment to a single artist, but that might be because today few artists last that long. It's often two albums and they're gone, because someone new is streaming in, or because now you can buy a single song in a way you just couldn't back in the day (man, I hate that phrase!). It doesn't really matter why artists don't just last decades the way they used to, it just simply means it makes it hard to form the kind of attachment I have to certain artists like Bowie. He's always been there, innovating and creating. There was always new stuff to listen to, and old stuff to bring me back in time. But now, it's all going to be old stuff--even the new album which I got just last week. Bowie was always a predictor--he knew the next trend because he was the one setting it. So I am left to wonder, who's going to be setting those trends now.
Happy New Year Everybody! Here's hoping your 2016 is filled with peace, love and music. I know my new year has started out that way. I've been hearing a lot of fantastic live music the past few weeks, and I can't tell you the joy it brings. There's nothing like hearing a favorite tune played live to get you up and dancing! Being married to a musician and having a son who is studying audio production gives me a chance to hear a lot of heated debates and discussions about various recordings, composers, and musical genres. (At one point my perfectly pitched husband and son were debating exactly what note you hear when the subway door closes in NYC.) Personally, I'm not into music for the debating, I'm in it for the sheer emotion it brings me. I tend to write with music on in the background--somehow it focuses me. (In case you were wondering, this morning it's Crosby Stills and Nash, although I'll be switching to the Grateful Dead in a bit)Thanks to the tunes, I'm in a very good mood now, which is helpful since I'm about to go back to writing a particularly funny scene.
So once again, here's wishing you a year of peace love and music. Oh and good books. Because there's nothing like a good book, is there?
It's that time of year again. Everyone stops for a minute to give thanks. But the truth is, we really should be thankful all year for the wonderful people in our lives. I know I try to stop and give thanks for my amazing husband and my incredibly creative kids. I'm even thankful for the dog (unless she's chewed up one of my Grateful Dead CDs, or pooped on the rug!)
I've been touring on and off for the past few weeks, visiting schools all up and down the eastern seaboard and I've had a chance to meet the kids who read my books. I have been able to talk with them, laugh with them, and best of all, burp and bark with them. I am so grateful for the opportunity to write books for kids. There's nothing more heartwarming than finding out that my books have turned a kid on to reading. Let's face it, no one goes into children's book writing to become a zillionaire. Authors write because they have something to say, or because there's someone they want to reach. In my case, I write because I want kids to love reading as much as I do. And if my books can open the door to the magic of reading, I've done my job.
I've got a lot of new projects in the works, and any day now I hope to be able to fill you in on the news I've been keeping secret for so long. In the meantime, thank you so much for letting Katie, George, Sparky and Jenny into your lives.
Sending lots of love your way this holiday season.
Books. Record albums (The big round, vinyl kind!). Paintings on the wall. That's what you see when you walk through the door to my childhood home in Cherry Hill NJ. I was there this weekend, and found it fascinating that I never noticed just how much art, literature, and music I was exposed to every day while I was growing up. Maybe I just took it for granted that everyone listened to music while they ate dinner with the family (sometimes show tunes, sometimes classical, sometimes folk) or that all families carried books around with them from room to room like rectangular appendages that were attached to their hands. And doesn't everyone buy a piece of art when they go on vacation, or have friends who paint artwork for them?
Like most people, when I grew up and had my own home, I did some things differently than my parents . The music in my house is more Grateful Dead, David Bowie, and the Beatles (although we have plenty of folk, rock, and classical as well--especially by my talented composer husband, Daniel Burwasser), and they are not on vinyl, but rather CDs which will probably someday seem as antique to my grandchildren as the vinyl at my parents' house did to my kids. The books in our floor-to-ceiling shelves are more in keeping with our love of non-fiction and biographies than my parents' fiction collection. Art from my travels hangs on the walls, but so do international musical instruments procured by my musician husband and son during our various family vacations. There are also paintings by my multi-talented daughter scattered among paintings and tapestries found on the streets of Europe and the Middle East and flea markets in Philadelphia and the Catskills.
Recently I was watching some of the home makeover shows on HGTV and sadly noticed the lack of books in the rooms. There were no floor to ceiling shelves filled with multi-colored book spines. The people didn't insist on state of the art stereo systems--they just wanted a place for giant flat screen TVs. And there was little art on the wall, other than a few generic things purchased at a local Lowes or other hardware chain. In short, there were plenty of open concept rooms, but even at the three-months-later recap stage, there was nothing in the rooms that might open the homeowners' minds.
I don't need big closets, a swimming pool, or granite countertops. I just need good books, good music, and fine art to make me happy. Is it possible I am part of a dying breed? I hope not. I hope it's just that I've turned on the TV at the wrong time. Maybe one day, when I click on the tube, the Property Brothers will be building bookshelves, installing a massive sound system, and hanging art from around the world on the wall, all in time for that great reveal. How awesome would that be?
But for now, I think I'll just go read a good book.
Just back from a relaxing few days up in Newport Rhode Island, soaking in the sights, sounds, and food of a New England town. There's something so calming about being around water all day long, whether it's waking to the sound of seagulls flying over the deck of our hotel room, or riding around on a boat taking in the sights. And of course there are those New England lobster rolls. Nothing better, I swear.
That's the thing about vacation--spending a few days away from the routine (and in this case, away from the dog, who was being baby-sat by my parents) will allow your brain to rejuvenate. I didn't write a single word over this vacation (unless you count the endless tweets, instagram comments, and facebook status updates that I made almost constantly). So now I am ready to break into a new project that I hope I will be able to reveal to all of you very soon. (Superstitious author, I'm holding my tongue til the contract is signed.) My energy is renewed and my creativity is about ready to burst out of my brain.
I hope all of you had an amazing summer and are ready to embrace the Fall, and the routine that comes with it, in a revived, vibrant, manner!
Wishing you all much love and laughter!
I'm really just a big kid. And I intend on staying that way!