12 Jan

Signed, personalized copies of All of a Sudden and Forever now available for pre-order

My next book, All of a Sudden and Forever: Help and Healing After the Oklahoma City Bombing, comes out from Carolrhoda Books/Lerner Publishing on February 4.

It has received starred reviews from Kirkus Reviews and School Library Journal and has also been named a Junior Library Guild selection.

Just weeks after the publication date, we’ll arrive at the 25th anniversary of the tragedy. When I tell people it’s been that long, I’m typically met with surprise. The memory still seems fresh to many.

If you know someone who might appreciate a copy of All of a Sudden and Forever to help commemorate the occasion, my home city’s largest independent bookseller has signed, personalized copies available for pre-ordering.

Eugenia Vela and Meghan Goel from BookPeople also had some great questions for me, such as —

  • How was the story of the Oklahoma City bombing different from others you’ve covered?
  • Could you talk a little bit about how you came upon this story and why you wanted to tell it?
  • Did anything you heard or learned in your research surprise you or especially move you?
  • What were the biggest challenges in telling this story?
  • What is your goal in writing this book for kids now? What do you hope readers take away?

— and you can read our resulting conversation (and see samples from Nicole Xu’s beautiful, sensitive art) here.

06 Jan

“My teacher made everyone stay behind until the thief owned up. It was humiliating and frightening, and I cracked after about five seconds.” (2-question Q&A and giveaway for January 2020)

Welcome to the Q&A and giveaway for the January edition of my Bartography Express newsletter, which you can sign up for here.

My two-question Q&A this month is with author Abigail Rayner and illustrator Molly Ruttan. Abigail and Molly are the creators of the new picture book I Am a Thief!, a tale of light thievery by a girl named Eliza — and her subsequent emotional turmoil — that was published last September by NorthSouth Books.

Kirkus Reviews awarded the book a star, saying, “This humorous story speaks to anyone who has made a regrettable mistake.”

I’m giving away a copy of I Am a Thief! to a Bartography Express subscriber with a US mailing address. If you want to be that winner, just let me know (in the comments below or by emailing me) before midnight on January 31, and I’ll enter you in the drawing.

In the meantime, please enjoy my two-question Q&A with Abigail Rayner and Molly Ruttan.

Chris: If a young reader were to ask you, the creators of I Am a Thief!, if you yourselves ever stole anything and how did that work out for you, how would you plead?

Author Abigail Rayner; image by Karin Belgrave Photography

Abigail: Kids are usually too busy telling me what they have stolen to care about my petty crimes. But if they asked, I would plead guilty for sure.

I often open a reading by explaining the inspiration for I Am a Thief! which was my own act of thievery. I stole a magnet from my teacher’s desk when I was about six. (The nerve!) The teacher made everyone stay behind until the thief owned up. It was humiliating and frightening, and I cracked after about five seconds.

Many years later, when my own child tearfully confessed to stealing something — two full years after it happened — I realized something: We are far too quick to judge children for a mistake so many of us make.

We are horrified if our child steals something because it makes us look bad! Kids don’t have the context, or the self-control that adults have, and we need to help them learn why stealing is wrong in a non-judgmental way.

The book is not just about stealing, but about shame. The point is to foster empathy and give kids a safe place to talk about tricky mistakes.

Molly: When I’ve read I Am a Thief! to kids I’ve had a similar experience to Abi — it really gives them permission to talk about their own petty crimes!

But I’ve found the same is true with the adults! Even when I was working on the book, and would mention the project to adult friends, they would spontaneously tell me their story. The same thing now happens at book signings. Even as adults we appear to still be processing the shame and judgment we felt as kids, even as we tell our stories with a smile.

So, I completely agree with Abi — we are way too quick to judge kids for the mistakes they make. We have all been there! What kind of difference would it have made to all the adults walking around, still carrying around that shame, if they had been treated differently as kids? I think every opportunity we can take with kids to talk things out and explore feelings should be cherished, and this book provides one of them!

All that being said, I was a very shy kid; I barely spoke and avoided attention at all cost. I never stole a thing, or if I did I have no memory of it!

But, I might have to plead guilty to this: I have an identical twin sister, and one thing I clearly remember happened on the last day of school in first grade. My sister’s teacher stopped me in the hall, thinking I was her. I was too shy to correct her, so I sort-of stole her identity for a few minutes while the teacher poured out compliments about how I was so creative and such a nice kid to have in class! (Who knows if my own teacher would have said those things to me!)

I remember feeling so embarrassed and uncomfortable, I’m not even sure I told my sister! Eventually I learned to speak up, but not speaking up that time, and stealing my sister’s glory like that, felt as shameful to me as if I had stolen an object.

Chris: I appreciate both of you coming clean, but as Eliza realizes in I Am a Thief!, “Nobody is just a thief. Everyone is a lot of things!” So, what are some other things that you are?

Illustrator Molly Ruttan

Molly: I’m so glad you asked this question, because this is my favorite part of the story, when Eliza has that realization. She has realized that — like the stone she impulsively stole — people are multifaceted!

People can be different things to different people, and different things to themselves, in different situations. Plus, even as we are all so many different things from each other, we are also so many of the same things.

I love that Abigail didn’t shy away from introducing such a deep and beautiful concept in a children’s book. Talk about providing opportunity for inspired conversations with kids!

Anyway, yes — I, too, have many facets. I will share a few of my favorites!

First, as I mentioned earlier, I am a Twin! I’ve been one my whole life, haha! Next:

I am an Artist! … OK, obviously. But being an artist is also something I have been my whole life. :)

I am a Mother to three wonderful (grown-up) kids.

I am a Wife to my childhood sweetheart, Gabe, who is an amazing guitar player and a brilliant audio engineer.

I am a Singing Drummer in an eclectic folk-rock band called New Garden. We started out here in Los Angeles, but now occasionally perform around Boulder, Colorado, where my twin sister Linda (who is also in the band) and the singer-songwriter (her husband) live. I’m self-taught am have been playing since I was a teenager.

I am a Percussionist and Backup Singer in an art-rock band called Phideaux. (Linda and Gabe are also in this band.) One of our albums just got on Consequence of Sound’s list of 10 Progressive Rock Concept Albums Every Music Fan Should Own.

I am a Singer in a community choir run by a fantastic school called The Silverlake Conservatory.

I am a Pillion — someone who rides on the back of a motorcycle (piloted by Gabe) on day trips and camping trips! Oh, yes —

I am a Camper, too!

I am a Vegetarian

I am an Animal Lover and caretaker to three dogs, a cat, and a rabbit (my sweet animal babies).

I am a Table-Top Gamer — as in sudoku, crosswords, and jigsaw puzzles!

And last but definitely not least, the obvious: I am an Illustrator and Writer of Children’s Books!

Some of my earliest, most vivid memories are of poring over the illustrations in books. I also spent many hours creating my own little books with folded paper, staples, and magic markers. I’m super excited about my new book coming out in May, called The Stray (with Nancy Paulsen Books), which I both wrote and illustrated.

I also have to mention that, until very recently, I was a Caregiver to my wonderful elderly mother, who lived with us and brought grace and love into our home for 14 years. She passed away in October.

So, these “things” are at the top of my list. Of course I am many other things too — aren’t we all? We’re all human!

I’ll end with a confession — I had to look up “Pillion” and “Table-Top Gamer.” Who knew there were names for those?

Abigail: Molly makes my heart sing when she talks about our book! It was Molly who made the connection between facets in a jewel and the sides to people’s personalities, and I love it. At readings, I like to pause on this beautiful spread and talk about it with the kids.

So, my list of things:

I am a mother to two children. Both of my published picture books were inspired by my kids. They are hilarious, caring, and wonderful company, and have revealed to me a kind of love that is so deep and pure that it is… terrifying. (Thanks, a lot!)

I am a wife to Jon, a talented percussionist turned library IT professional (with obligatory, but superior, tattoos). Jon travels a lot and cannot sit still without coding. But we forgive him because he also makes a pretty mean mince pie, and his grown-up job pays the bills.

I am a Brit. I was born in Manchester, England, and grew up in York and Chelmsford, near London. I moved to the US when I was 26, and December was my 20th in the states. (I hope no one here can do maths).

I am a writer. For me, writing is something I am compelled to do. If I don’t write, I start to get grumpy, like a jogger with a bum knee. I’ve been writing since I knew how, and making stories since before then.

I am an artist. As a child, I spent hours drawing. I thought it would be my life. I did go to art school, but found a degree course that allowed me to focus on writing and visual arts. As I go about my day, I often stop in my tracks to marvel at an ice-encrusted leaf, a dog’s expression, or peeling bark in the woods, and my hand grasps for a pencil. I don’t draw enough, but I’m planning on taking a drawing class this winter.

I am a walker and hiker. One of the (many) great things about having dogs is that they need to be walked. We are always out exploring in the woods near my house, or following a nearby trail. I am lucky enough to live at the foot of the Sourland Mountains in New Jersey, and I am surrounded by trees and wildlife. I hike with a good friend, and we recently drove down to the Pinelands in South Jersey. It was all fir trees and sand underfoot. For most of it, we were completely alone and it felt like entering another world. I always considered myself a city girl, but as I get older, I am increasingly more content in the middle of a forest. Sometimes, I wish I could live in a tree.

I am a journalist. I worked for The London Times and The Financial Times as a reporter in London, and then in New York. Once a journalist, always a journalist. I still think like a reporter, and when big news stories break, I feel an ache to chase them.

I am an animal lover. My dogs — a rescue from Puerto Rico named Ruby Maria Pickaxe, and a goldendoodle called Pearlie Queen Peach (thanks kids) — are a big part of my life. Their unconditional love is pure gold, and their goofy antics keep us laughing when times are tough. (And if Pearl could stop peeing on the sofa when she gets excited, that would be great!) We also have a cat named George of the Basement because she hates the dogs and refuses to come out. She does a lot of loud singing so we feel her presence.

I am a celiac-mama! My daughter has celiac disease, which means I am an expert on the topic. If you ask me about it, I will talk your ear off. Having a child with celiac means planning ahead and being organized, so that your child can socialize without being poisoned! That’s a work in progress for me! Having a child with a disability, and watching her suffer (especially in social situations), is very hard, but it has made me stronger and more open to anyone with a difference.

I am a baker. When my kids were little, and there was no time to create, I poured my imagination into baking. My daughter was standing at her kiddie table stirring batter at 18 months, and yes, she ate most of it and threw the rest up the walls. I made ambitious birthday cakes, including princess castles, a Thomas train, and the universe of cake! They were not works of art, but it was fun. After my daughter was diagnosed with Celiac, baking was a challenge, but one which I took up with gusto. I was determined my child would still have fun food. Together we made unicorn cupcakes, homemade fondant, hot cross buns, chocolate-covered marshmallow reindeer pops, you name it, we brought it to the school/scout/birthday party.

I am a language lover. I can’t say I’m a linguist, because I have never mastered a second language, but my brain is like a multilingual scrapyard of Greek, Italian, French, and Spanish. I lived in Greece as a child, but forgot most of my Greek. As a reporter in New York, I took Italian lessons from an elegant and sweet Roman lady on 55th street, who gave me caffe latte and panettone, but didn’t teach me much Italian. Since America’s second language is Spanish, I took my kids to Spanish playgroup, where we learned immersion style. They are not bilingual, but definitely have a feel for Spanish and languages in general. They also switch between Brit and American accents with a seamlessness that would put Peter Sellers to shame. So, if nothing else, they’ll be able to support themselves with voice work.

05 Jan

A second starred review for All of a Sudden and Forever

Right before the new year, I learned that School Library Journal has awarded a starred review to my upcoming nonfiction picture book All of a Sudden and Forever: Help and Healing After the Oklahoma City Bombing, illustrated by Nicole Xu and coming on February 4 from Carolrhoda Books/Lerner Publishing:

Barton commemorates the 25th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing with a tribute that uses spare text to explain the events, the immediate aftermath, and the longterm ways people helped others. … [T]he author emphasizes the vulnerability and humanity of the victims and their relatives, friends, and neighbors. … Debut picture book artist Xu [depicts people without] facial features or expressions, allowing readers to project their own anger, fear, sadness, love, or compassion onto the characters. … Books that help elementary-age children understand disasters are more necessary than ever, so it is helpful to find such a sensitively written and thoughtfully illustrated resource.

This follows a starred review from Kirkus a couple of months ago. I appreciate the attention both reviews have paid to the work done by Nicole in her picture book debut. What a challenging topic for her first children’s book, and how beautifully she rose to the occasion.

04 Jan

“My teachers thought it was an amazing use of time!” and other feedback on my school visits

From my first author visit of 2019-20, at an elementary school in Dripping Springs, Texas

As a human who would love to occasionally experience an interaction with my fellow humans without receiving an emailed survey afterwards, I have mixed feelings (to say the least) about sending out surveys of my own after school visits.

But I do send them. Every month, I have a survey company email all my recent host librarians to ask for their feedback — not just on my performance, but also on communication, logistical support, etc.

I know that nothing is stopping librarians from reaching out directly to me with feedback after my visits. But I have much more to gain from receiving that feedback than librarians have from providing it, and I see requesting it as just good business for visiting authors and illustrators.

I figure, there’s a difference between the office supply place asking about my experience buying a $20 package of padded mailers and me asking how one of my hosts felt about a much larger investment of a school’s time and resources.

When I receive constructive feedback from my hosts, I reflect on what they tell me and how it ties into feedback I’ve received previously, and I consider how I could do better at future visits.

That sort of response is even more valuable than the warm, fuzzy feeling that I get from a host librarian’s praise, because it can lead to a concrete way to improve at what I do.

Still, I do really, really, really like it when I hear that I hit the mark, and I recently began routinely asking those I survey for their permission to share their anonymous feedback in places like this post.

A few examples that made my heart sing:

He was very engaging. I liked that he talked about never giving up.

Chris took special care to really interact with the students.

The communication was easy and stress-free.

Kids were excited to meet him in person.

Chris was very clear as to what he needed to make the visit run smoothly.

I loved the way both the writing process and the love of books were emphasized.

My teachers thought it was an amazing use of time!

My students loved it and are all dying to read every book.

My administration said she heard great things and was pleased.

I always received immediate responses and the pre-planning was great!

Loved the discussion about how each child has a talent to develop.

The students loved hearing him read his own book.

All of which is to say that, in the end, I’m glad I ask for that feedback from my customers. I appreciate their honesty, and it gets me past any reluctance I might feel about sending out surveys.

I still delete the vast majority of the surveys I receive, though, because who has time for that? But in case anyone from Office Depot asks, those padded mailers are working out just fine.

03 Jan

Booklist and SLJ on Fire Truck vs. Dragon

Over the holidays, two new reviews came in for my upcoming picture book Fire Truck vs. Dragon, which is illustrated by Shanda McCloskey and will be published on March 10 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers.

Booklist says:

Barton’s energetic day-in-the-life story of an unlikely pair of friends, Fire Truck and Dragon, teaches young readers quite literally to look beyond a book’s cover. … McCloskey’s vibrant illustrations implement a striking primary color palette with expressive characters and fun, roughshod linework to match the liveliness of the plot. This book teaches readers to express and appreciate differences, value unlikely and unexpected friendships, and be proud of yourself and your loved ones for things you succeed at.

In its review, School Library Journal brings up those same themes:

Despite the two titular characters going head-to-head as depicted on the cover … [t]his companion to Barton’s Shark vs. Train is not only good fun, but also shows children that people with differences can still be friends.

Taken with the previous reviews from Kirkus and Publishers Weekly (a star!), the welcome awaiting Fire Truck vs. Dragon sure feels like a warm one. I can’t wait for you to see it for yourself.

02 Jan

“…the balance between what readers NEED and what readers WANT”

I always enjoy learning more about how the editors of my books work and think, which makes this interview with Carol Hinz by Ryan G. Van Cleave at his Only Picture Books blog highly satisfying.

Carol is Editorial Director of Millbrook Press and Carolrhoda Books at Lerner Publishing Group. She and I are in the process of making our fourth picture book together, following The Nutcracker Comes to America, Dazzle Ships, and our upcoming All of a Sudden and Forever: Help and Healing After the Oklahoma City Bombing, which will be published next month.

Given the difficult topic that we explore in All of a Sudden and Forever, I’m especially interested in Carol’s comments when Ryan asks — in the context of Can I Touch Your Hair? Poems of Race, Mistakes, and Friendship and Sachiko: A Nagasaki Bomb Survivor’s Story — “How do you negotiate the balance between what readers NEED and what readers WANT?”

Part of Carol’s answer:

I think adults … don’t give kids enough credit for what they can handle. This often comes out of a desire to protect kids from all the terrible things that are a part of our world. But we need to keep in mind that not all kids receive that protection, and we can’t control when a kid is going to first encounter something biased, racist, or hateful. To those adults who feel uncomfortable, I say: Isn’t it far better for a kid to encounter [difficult subject matter] for the first time in the pages of the book, when there’s time and space for a kid to think about it and talk with a trusted adult about it, rather than encountering it first in some other way when there might not be opportunity for thought and conversation?

17 Dec

What do you give for a holiday like that?

How about a book included in Diverse Book Finder’s 2019 Holiday Gift Guide: Racially/Culturally Diverse Picture Books?

Or a title recognized by the National Council of Teachers of English in this list of Outstanding Nonfiction for Children published this past decade?

Or a biography of someone who had a few words to say about impeachment?

You can find What Do You Do with a Voice Like That? The Story of Extraordinary Congresswoman Barbara Jordan at an independent bookseller near you.

Happy holidays, and here’s to a great end to 2019 for you and yours.

06 Dec

The first 20

Kids often ask me how many books I’ve made. Heck, my mom recently asked me that, too. It’s legitimately a frequently asked question.

The answer is 20, including upcoming releases All of a Sudden and Forever and Fire Truck vs. Dragon.

(For what it’s worth, it’s now been just over 19 years since the day I realized I wanted to write books for children, so I’m now in Year 20 of this career. So, today’s post is brought to you by the number 20.)

Here are those first 20 books, in chronological order:

For more details on most of these, plus a couple of anthologies I’ve contributed to, have a look here.

Here’s to the next 20, and the next 20. Thank you for joining me along the way.

02 Dec

“I was drawn toward tales of underdogs — especially when they banded together to achieve something none of them could ever do on their own.” (2-question Q&A and giveaway for December 2019)

Welcome to the Q&A and giveaway for the December edition of my Bartography Express newsletter, which you can sign up for here.

My two-question Q&A this month is with author Scott Peterson, a transplant to the Pacific Northwest, and with illustrator and lifelong Mexico City resident José García.

Scott and José are the creators of the new dystopian YA graphic novel Truckus Maximus, which smashes together monster trucks, the Roman Empire, and a high-stakes reality TV competition and was published this fall by First Second.

The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, in recommending Truckus Maximus, summed up the book this way:

With its action-packed visuals, tricked-out cars, and edge-of-your-seat racing stunts, this sci-fi graphic novel holds plenty of tween and teen appeal. The plot reads like an alt-world action movie, complete with training montages and climactic race to the finish, but the story never loses its heart or its humor. Readers will be drawn to Axl, stubborn Piston, and the rest of Team Apollo’s crew. Give this broadly likable novel to fans of … Lowriders in Space, NASCAR, racing video games, and The Fast and the Furious franchise.

I’m giving away a copy of Truckus Maximus to a Bartography Express subscriber with a US mailing address. If you want to be that winner, just let me know (in the comments below or by emailing me) before midnight on New Year’s Eve , and I’ll enter you in the drawing.

In the meantime, please enjoy my two-question Q&A with Scott Peterson and José García.

Chris: How does Truckus Maximus fit in with what you yourselves read when you were in middle school and high school? Is this a book that would have been up your alley at that time in your lives, or does it reflect interests that you’ve acquired since then?

author Scott Peterson, as depicted by Mike Parobeck

Scott: Well, on one level, it’s nothing like anything I was reading in high school, because unlike most of my comics-creating peers, I didn’t read comics in high school.

I loved comics when I was in younger, but the small town I grew up in didn’t have a comic book store (not many did, back then), so it was only when I could convince my mom to buy one off a spin rack in the grocery store that I lucked out.

Fortunately, my oldest brother, Jay, got into comics for a few years, courtesy of our more sophisticated New Yorker cousin Dominic. But once Jay stopped collecting, I was out of luck. So I read and re-read that three-or-so-year period of comics over and over again. But I didn’t read any new comics from about 1978 to about 1988 or so.

Then I happened to see a spin rack of comics in a 7-Eleven one night in college and thought, hey, I haven’t read a comic book in forever! I picked one up — it was a Batman, naturally — and was instantly hooked. Then I discovered the work of the great writer Alan Moore and realized comics could actually be literature. A year or two later, my then-girlfriend/now-wife (children’s novelist Melissa Wiley) helped me to realize I might just want to try to make this my career.

But when it comes to the larger picture — the kind of story, and not just the medium — then yes, it fits in with what I was passionate about, the kinds of stories toward which I gravitated. I loved what’s now known as speculative fiction, but which back then was simply called sci-fi or fantasy, with some horror thrown in. (I don’t think I had yet read anything which could be called alternate history, which is very much part of the larger speculative fiction banner, and which is probably where Truckus Maximus fits best.)

But even within those genres, it was the type of story that attracted me most: I was drawn toward tales of the underdogs, the misunderstood, the outcasts — especially when they banded together (perhaps being forced to do so) in order to achieve something vitally important but which none of them could ever do on their own. The idea of a small group fighting against forces much bigger and stronger than themselves, and willing to make tremendous sacrifices, for some utterly imperative goal really resonated with me in a way I don’t think I fully realized for many, many years.

illustrator José García, in avatar form

José: Yeah, totally, as a young reader I was introduced to comics with the Death of Superman and Batman: Knightfall. I don’t think I understood them all that well at the time, but the drawings were cool so I got hooked into comics that way.

As great as those comics were, I wasn’t all that invested on following those gritty, more mature comics just yet. That’s were I found Uncanny X-Men. For me, Joe Madureira’s art was the hook! His drawing style, combining the best of American comics and manga, got me right away.

Once I got to read the adventures of the X-men, a bunch of underdogs trying to save the world while they were never really accepted was an appealing idea to me and my situation.

If I had seen Truckus Maximus back then, I would totally have picked it up. The one thing I never really liked about comics was how briefly action scenes would last. Sometimes an epic battle was cramped into one or two pages at best, but Truckus takes its time for the emotional and action scenes thanks to Scott’s awesome writing skills.

And of course, I’d pick a book written by Scott Peterson. At that time, Scott’s Batgirl was my favorite comic!

And the best thing is, Truckus Maximus is all in just one book — no need to hunt down every single issue or wait one month to get to another cliffhanger.

Chris: While you were working on Truckus Maximus, did either of you have other projects in the works that you can talk about, or are you one-project-at-a-time creators and/or secretive types?

José: I’d love to be able to work on just one project at the time, but that’s financially impossible for me. I’m usually drawing three or four books at the time, and I’m not secretive at all! (Unless the contract says otherwise.)

While I was working on Truckus, I finished three issues of an indie comic called Broken for Neat-O Comics, a mix of Pokemon battles and robots and teenage shenanigans. In total I believe I made 100 inked pages for that.

I inked, drew, colored, and lettered another 150-page comic called Comics in Academics Chapter One: The Discovery, an educational comic which I don’t really know if it was published or was a digital release.

Then I worked on two books for French publisher Ankama Editions called Death Road, Tome 1 and Tome 2 (art, colors, lettering), each 65 pages about a parent trying to keep her recently deceased daughter’s spirit from entering to hell, and one personal book called Egoista — around 90 full-colored pages for a contest I won in Mexico.

I might have missed a book or two in the middle, my first months drawing storyboards for Dreamworks TV, lots of commissions, and opening online art courses, but yeah, those were busy times.

Scott: I have to laugh, because I KNEW José and I were going to be giving such radically different answers to this one. :)

I’ve always had a tendency to go deep into something I’m into. So for a few years after I first went freelance, for instance, I listened to pretty much nothing but jazz. Then I listened to nothing but classical music for several years. Before I knew it, it’d been a decade since I’d listened to pretty much any rock and roll, any of the stuff I’d grown up obsessing over.

So when I work on one project, I tend to go deep. If I’m in Gotham, I’m in Gotham. Even visiting Metropolis or Tatooine or the Roman Empire or Oz or wherever will be jarring, so if I can help it — and I’m a freelancer, so I can’t always — I try arrange to work on things sequentially and not concurrently.

When I started writing Truckus Maximus, I think I worked on it and nothing else for about six months. I sent the first rough draft off to our editor at First Second and while I was waiting on her notes, I wrote a miniseries set in Mumbai. When the notes came in and it was time for my second draft, though, I still had a few issues of the Mumbai series left, so I just had to let Truckus sit until that was done.

A similar thing happened later when Jose started sending in Truckus pages. I was so excited to get them, but I was nearly done writing the Batman: Kings of Fear miniseries, and for about five months, that was all I did or could do: 100% Batman, 100% of the time. So I took a few days to finish up writing that and then took weeks and immersed myself in José’s amazing pages.

I wish I were more like José. :)

25 Nov

An opportunity for Texas students: Letters About Literature

Questions (and a contest! with a cash prize!! and a video featuring me!!!) for Texas students grades 4-12: How did an author’s work change you or your view of the world? How and why are you different now than you were before you read this work?

For more details, visit the Texas Center for the Book at the Texas State Library and Archives Commission.