Archive for February 29, 2012

Fan Mail Wednesday #140 (Monster Art Madness)

An eight-year-old named Jake sent me a nice, long letter about my book, Jigsaw Jones #11: The Case of the Marshmallow Monster. He included this fantastic drawing:

As for the letter . . .

I replied, in part:

In real life, there was once a famous movie director named Alfred Hitchcock. His movies were sooo scary. Everybody loved them — because for some strange reason, people LIKE to be scared. That’s why the kids in my story are eager to hear more, more, more.

So when I needed a man to tell a scary story, I modeled him after a real person, Alfred Hitchcock. In the story, you’ll see that he’s known as “Mr. Hitchcock,” and later on Mr. Jordan calls him “Alfred.”

Computer savvy readers — and I’m assuming you are (savvy, that is) — can click here to learn more insider info about that book.

Fan Mail Wednesday #139 (Bystander, Again)


I’m forwarding this out from the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Cherry Hill, NJ, on my 5th day of my 9-day barnstorming mission. So far, so great. Gotta run!



There’s no point sharing my reply here. I just tried to be gracious and thankful.

Fan Mail Wednesday #138 (Bystander)

Posting this from a hotel in Ohio . . .

I replied:

Dear ______:

I know you wrote it a long time ago, and maybe you forget what you wrote, but I’m writing to thank you for your letter.

It blew me away.

I’m glad that it touched you, inspired you to aspire to become a better, kinder person. I’m confident that you already are.

To answer your question, no, I was never bullied as a child. I suspect I was more like you, a bystander, a floater, and it took me a long time before I opened my eyes to see, as you wrote, “that regular people can make a difference.”

My best,


Fan Mail Wednesday #137 (A Response to BYSTANDER)

I get incredible letters. It might be from a child who loved a picture book, or a boy who got turned on to reading through Jigsaw Jones, or a baseball nut who loved Six Innings. But more and more, I get letters in response to my book, Bystander. The senders of these missives are older than most of my readers in the past. They write longer, with more skill, more depth, and often with more feeling.

This week, because I’m on the road visiting schools for ten days (OH, NJ), I’m going to pass along of few in succession, just to give you a taste. As always, simply click on the letter to make it larger for readability.

I replied:

Dear ______:

I don’t like to begin my letters with an apology, but sometimes it’s necessary. I’m sorry for the lateness of my response to your letter.

Please don’t get the idea that I don’t appreciate what you did, or the things you shared about your own experiences at _______ Middle School.

Writing can be lonely work. It’s mostly done in a quiet room, scribbling words on a blank page. Likewise, reading is also a thing done in isolation, often in silence. And yet here we are, you and me, miraculously connected through the written word.

Aren’t books incredible? You as a reader can feel that connection with me, and with so many other writers from all over the world . . . and from hundreds of years ago. Wow, when you think about it, just wow.

As always, “Stand up! Speak out! Be kind!”

My best,


Gavin & Piano & iPad: Teaching Himself the Main Theme from “The Simpsons”

A couple of weeks back I heard Gavin at the piano, teaching himself the main theme to “The Simpsons.” When I saw how he was doing it — through Youtube, and with our iPad propped against the piano — I documented it with a few snaps.

Some world we live in, ain’t it?