Saturday, January 21, 2006


I just added two things to my Talking Books website: a link to my Manifesto on good books written late last year, and the Query Letter from Hell, written in jest by my friend Katy, which I've now annotated to explain all the things in it that annoy me. And there are a lot of them.

We also recently added an excerpt from The Book of Everything to the Arthur A. Levine Books website. This is the book I rave about in my SCBWI interview, where nine-year-old Thomas talks to Jesus, faces down his abusive father, and learns how to be happy; it is extraordinary and heartrending and astonishing and deeply joyous, and it will be published this coming April.


  1. Hi Cheryl,

    I enjoyed the SCBWI interview -- informative, insightful, and fun. I especially loved seeing the photo of your trees and metrocard creations after reading about them.

    The Book of Everything excerpt took my breath away. Truly, I haven't been that moved in ages. I can see why you're in love with it.

    Julia D.

  2. Cheryl! Hello!

    Thanks for the Book Manifesto! It addresses quite a few of the things that we’ve been discussing around out house. My husband is a teacher, we’re all compulsive readers and there are few things in this world that we want more for our son than to enjoy books.

    We’ve read the first five Harry Potter books as bedtime stories. I’m waiting until later in the year to start Book Six mainly because there is so much homework and required reading that I don’t want the story to be interrupted. I postponed “Order of the Phoenix” for about nine months, mostly because I wasn’t sure if a seven-year-old was ready for Professor Umbridge. Most of the Potter violence is of a “safe” sort. Harry gets bones regrown, people get injured, some even die, but it’s handled in a way that isn’t “a constant haze of misery” as you say. But the cruelty of Umbridge was hard to handle and was something that we talked about quite a bit, “What would you do if a teacher treated you like that?” “What should Harry have done?” “Why do you think Harry didn’t just go to Dumbledore and tell?” I’m not sure exactly how we are going to handle Dumbledore in “Half Blood Prince”, but I’m looking forward to it with a few spoonfuls of trepidation.

    We’re always seeking out exciting books with “pleasurable emotions” as you described them. I guess it’s like food. Now the kid likes pizza and chicken nugget things, endless P.B. and J, and, oddly enough, sushi. Later, when he is older, I’m sure he’ll like fiery curries, garlic, cilantro, salsa, all those really intense flavors that make food worth eating. I’m not going to force him to eat a plate of calamari any more than I’d make him read “Catcher in the Rye” at age nine, though I do hope that he reads it when he’s ready. Heck, he can read ANY book that he wants, as long as he enjoys it.

    If you have any suggestions for books for a third grader that likes robots, cars, things blowing up, and most of all an awesome read that will give us something to talk about, please send them my way.

    And keep using your superpowers for good,


  3. I was bummed I missed your give-away on child_lit. (I left town for 8 hours or so, and see what happens?) But, I'll buy this one for sure. And, I found your blog through your announcement. Love the art in your apartment. Very cool.

  4. Heartrending, indeed.


  5. Big congrats to you and Lisa Yee on Stanford Wong making the ALA Notables list!