A playlist of cool things for cool kids!

Kids rock! There's no question about it. They are simply much cooler than you and me. This playlist is for those of us just trying to keep up with these mod toddlers and hip preschoolers. It's about promoting children's books, music, and other media that rock just as much as our kids do. Check out something cool for your cool kid.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Have You Seen This Guy?

Hey! I'm at the SCBWI Winter Conference this weekend. If you see me, say hello.

SMALL TALK: I'm a Kentuckian living in Brooklyn. I've written lots of books for children including over a dozen books for Scholastic Education.

REAL TALK: I've got two projects on offer.

The Haunted Crayon 
[Middle Grade Chapter Book: 17,000 words, Ages 6-9]
Who’s afraid of the third grade?  Not Mark!  He has a Haunted Crayon that can bring his drawings to life beyond the page!  But is he about to be “drawn” into ridiculous danger by a buck-toothed vampire and a werewolf princess?

Scribble & Beep
[Picture Book: 32 pages, Ages 2-5]
Scribble and Beep are best friends, but that may be the only thing on which they agree in this quirky tale of a fastidious robot and a carefree doodle sharing a play date.

You can take a look at them here:
The Haunted Crayon
Scribble & Beep

  1. I once had a beer with Maurice Sendak. 
  2. I also once sold books to J.D. Salinger. 
  3. New York Magazine called my indie-rock picture book Good Morning Captain the "world's most terrifying children's book.”


THE HAUNTED CRAYON by David Martin Stack
[Middle Grade Chapter Book: 17,000 words, Ages 6-9]

Who’s afraid of the third grade?  Not Mark!  He has a Haunted Crayon that can bring his drawings to life BEYOND THE PAGE!  But is he about to be “drawn” into ridiculous danger?

Mark and his best friend Luna didn’t know what to think of the new kid.  Walter had problems.  For one thing, he was a buck-toothed vampire.  He couldn’t draw blood.  And he couldn’t draw either.  He needed an artist like Mark who could handle the power of the Haunted Crayon.  But the crayon was cursed.  It turns Mark into a ghost!  

An evil skull named Sligo has plans for the Haunted Crayon.  Sligo has an army of messed-up monsters and a terrible sense of humor that is almost as scary.  When Sligo turns their favorite teacher into a horrible Werebot, the friends share a crazy adventure that takes them from the dungeons of the school library to the dunes of the moon and back.  Along the way, Luna proves to be more than a rad scientist and dodgeball champion.  She’s a werewolf princess!

Can Mark, Luna and Walter protect the Haunted Crayon?  Can they turn their teacher back to normal?  Can they possibly survive Sligo’s awful jokes?  Together maybe they stand a ghost of a chance.  

The Haunted Crayon is a hilarious and spooky chapter book that is sure to appeal to boys and girls ages 6-9.  The manuscript is complete at just over 17,000 words.  It is packed with puzzles, mazes and drawing pages, and loaded with science facts about the moon.  It is the first book in a proposed middle grade series of chapter books that mix silly monsters and serious non-fiction.  


Chapter 1:  Disappearing Ink

I’m not scared of school if that’s what you think. It’s not like a math book ever said boo to me. Today was the first day of third grade at Sküll Elementary. And I was excited. I swear I was! 

So maybe my backpack was heavier this year than last year. But that was okay. Because it was full of new school supplies. I had a cool new mechanical pencil. I had brand new folders that I got to pick out all the colors. And better than that, I had a bunch of new notebooks with lots and lots of blank paper. And even better than all those things? I had new magic markers in just about every color. The magic part was that they were permanent markers! My mom finally let me have some. Everyone knows magic markers are what real artists use. No more little kid crayons for me.  

On the bus ride I couldn’t resist taking the markers out to show Luna. She wasn’t exactly impressed, but she was my best friend so she had to pretend to be. I could tell Luna was more interested in trying out the new magnifying glass her parents got her for Science class. That gave me an idea. I pulled out some of the monster trading cards I had made with my new magic markers to show her. I called them trading cards, but really they were just post-it notes that I drew my monsters on. So they were really small. Perfect for her magnifying glass. Now we were both excited.

The trading cards were of all the monsters I’ve ever met at Sküll Elementary. They weren’t real monsters obviously. There is no such thing as real monsters. But sometimes they were just as scary.  
There was the school bully who always broke my pencil tips on purpose. And there was the really loud computer teacher who didn’t like paper at all. And there was the recess monitor who wouldn’t let me draw on the playground and made me run instead. 

“I like the Ms. Gorgon one,” Luna said. Ms. Gorgon was the one with the strict rule about NO DOODLES on any schoolwork. “But I think she had more tentacles.”

We both busted out laughing.  

The bus driver glared at us in her big mirror. She shouted, “Quiet back there!” We stopped giggling as best we could. I was going to have do a bus driver monster trading card. She would have really scary eyes in the back of her head. But first things first. Luna was right. I needed to give Ms. Gorgon more tentacles.I uncapped one of my new permanent magic markers. It was bright green like a lollipop. But it smelled like shoe polish. I started to draw the extra tentacles when suddenly the bus jerked to a stop. My hand slipped.  

Next thing I know, the bus driver stomped down the aisle to our seats.

“Just what do you think you’re doing?” the bus driver yelled. “Are you vandalizing the bus seat?”

I didn't even know what “vandalizing” meant. But I felt really bad about the green line — the permanent green line — I had accidentally drawn on the back of the seat.  

“Give me those markers,” the bus driver said.  

And just like magic, my markers were gone.



SCRIBBLE & BEEP by David Martin Stack
[Picture Book: 32 pages, Ages 2-5]

Scribble and Beep are best friends, but that may be the only thing on which they agree in this charming tale of a carefree doodle and her fastidious robot buddy sharing a playdate.  

Playdates are so much fun!  But what if your friend wants to play something different than you?  Beep the robot knows exactly what he wants to do — and he doesn’t like it when you mess with his program.  But Scribble the doodle has her own ideas of fun — and they’re just as wacky and original as she is.  Can Scribble get with the program?  Can Beep draw outside the lines?  

In the tradition of beloved odd couples like Elephant and Piggie, Frog and Toad, or George and Martha, Scribble & Beep is sure to delight preschoolers ages 2-5 who are just learning to negotiate the ups and downs of their first friendships. 

Scribble & Beep promotes the healthy assertion of a child’s own individuality while celebrating the beauty of friendship.  It’s okay to like different things…and each other.  

SCRIBBLE & BEEP by David Martin Stack

Scribble and Beep were best friends. 
That is how it’s always been.  
Ever since Scribble was a little doodle, and Beep was just a microchip.

And today was a very special day.  

“We’re having a play date!” they both cheered happily.

“I’ve got a million ideas about what we could do!” Scribble giggled.  
“I can always count on you,” Beep beeped.  

So what would they choose?  

They could play games.
Scribble wanted to play checkers.  “That’s the one with lots of jumping, right?”
But Beep wanted to play chess.  “I know all the rules.” 

They couldn’t agree.  So they looked in the toy box instead.
Beep wanted to play trains.  
“I like to connect the tracks.  Did you know all the trains have names?”
Scribble liked trains too, but she wanted to play puzzles. 
“I like to dump out the whole box!  Look at all the shapes and squiggles!  Every piece is different.”

They couldn’t agree.  So they tried to make some music instead.
Scribble wanted to play her sax.  
“This is a little song called Peanut Butter Pizza.  It goes like this! 1, 2, 3…hit it!”
But Beep didn't know her song so he couldn’t play his drums.  
“Is this song hip hop?  Is it jazz?  Does it rock?”

They couldn’t agree.  So they made some art instead.
Beep wanted to take pictures of each other with his camera.  
“You get to press this button.  It clicks!  And then you have a perfect picture.”
But Scribble wanted to paint a princess or a pirate or a scientist.  She couldn’t decide.  
“She’ll be blue.  That’s my favorite color! And pink, and green! And yellow, and orange! Purple too!”

They couldn’t agree.  So they went to the playground instead.
Scribble wanted to kick her legs high on the swings.  
“It feels like flying! Watch my skirt float in the air.”
But Beep wanted to go down the big slide.  
“It’s shiny and metal. And you get to take turns!”

They couldn’t agree. So they headed to the park instead.
Beep wanted to collect leaves.  
“This red leaf has five points.  This leaf only has one.  Now you find some. We could keep score!”
But Scribble just wanted to climb trees.  
“It’s more fun to look at the leaves while they’re still on the branches.”

They couldn’t agree.  So they went to the zoo instead.
Scribble wanted to see the monkeys.  
“They sound like laughing.  Everything is their swing-set.  
I could watch them be silly all day.”
But Beep wanted to visit the aquarium.  
“It’s so quiet. And I like to count the fish.”

They couldn’t agree.  So they hit the beach instead.
Beep wanted to build sandcastles.  
“I can make towers and tunnels with my shovel and pail.  I have a castle all planned out.”
But Scribble wanted to run and play in the waves.  
“I have a bright beach ball.  And I can make a big splash.”

They couldn’t agree.  So they went to the amusement park instead.
Scribble wanted to ride the roller coasters.  
“I love the loops and dips and dips and loops.”
But Beep was afraid.  
“Roller coasters make me dizzy.”

They couldn’t agree.  So they went to the circus instead.
Beep wanted to see the clowns.  He liked clowns for some reason.  He couldn’t say why.
But Scribble did not want to see the clowns.  She was afraid of clowns.  She just was.

They couldn’t agree.  So they ended up at the library.
Scribble could not pick a book.
“Stories are so exciting!  Does this one have a pirate?  A princess? What about a monkey?  I want a story about a monkey pirate princess!  And I want a happy ending.”
Beep smiled.  That sounded like a great book.  But he liked books about facts.
“Facts make me happy.  So all my books have happy endings.” 

They couldn’t agree.  So they each picked their own book.  
(Scribble picked a whole stack of books.)

Scribble curled up with her pile of books on the floor.  Beep found a nice firm chair.  
At least, they found something they could do together.  Sort of.

Then before they knew it, the play date was over.  It was time to go home.

“Wow.  We didn’t agree on much today,” Scribble giggled. 

“That is a fact,” Beep beeped. 

Then Scribble and Beep shared a big grin.  

And together they both said,

“Want to do it again tomorrow?”