Fran Cannon Slayton - The Wild Ride To Publication (Children's Book Version!): Meeting Jon Scieszka

Monday, April 14, 2008

Meeting Jon Scieszka

I had the fantastic opportunity to meet our new Ambassador for Children’s Literature, Jon Scieszka, at my friend Joan Kindig’s house yesterday. What a fun time! Joan was kind enough to tell him that I had a book coming out, so we talked shop a bit and I got his opinion on my current burning question: should I go to ALA this year when my book doesn’t even come out until 2009? He said GO!

Now, I’ve been asking a lot of people this question lately, and I’ve heard a wide variety of answers. Some say go for sure. Some say nah, probably not worth it. And some fall somewhere in between. The huge bonus for me about Jon Scieszka saying “go” without qualification is that now I have a HUGE tool to rationalize going in my back pocket. No matter the benefit, no matter the cost – an AMBASSADOR has said that going is worth it. And how, my friends, can I argue with that?

Besides getting all chatty with Jon, I was able to get The Stinky Cheese Man (no, I didn’t already have it, and yes I am embarrassed about that fact) and his new Trucktown book. Both signed, My daughter was THRILLED with Trucktown. She was even able to read the words “smash” and “crash” throughout the book, which was huge fun for both of us.

By the way, can you say “Trucktown” 50 times fast? Jon is going to be doing 50 books in this series over the next 3 years! WOW! And there’s also going to be a Webkinz-like product for at least some of the characters in the book.

I tried to imagine some of the characters in my MG novel as Webkinz, but stopped when I got to the corpse in my first chapter. Maybe not such a good idea.

I think the biggest thrill of meeting our new Ambassador was this: he’s truly got a great sense of humor (hey, he laughed at some of my jokes so IMHO the guy’s a freaking laugh riot – or was he just being polite?), and we need humor to reach kids in the literacy arena. Kids will want to read when they connect reading with fun. And I sure had fun yesterday, which reminded me that not only should kids have fun reading, but authors should have fun writing, too. And that was a fun thing to remember.

So thank you, Mr. Ambassador – I salute you! [Insert raspberry here]


Andrea -- Just One More Book!! Podcast said...

OOOOOoooh!! Lucky you to have an informal visit with such an amazing author.

I'm so, so, so envious!!

I'm also glad to hear he was a great guy.

Ghost Girl said...

Oh, I love it, Fran!!! What a great time! And yes, go go go to ALA. Maybe I'll tag along! I had a great time this year.

I spent the weekend with some great authors, too. But I really connected with TA Barron, who is uncommonly generous with his time and attention. What a neat guy. I'll tell you more in an email :-)