This is my nephew Trevor in his kindergarten school photo. Have you ever felt like this?
Watch a clip of me and some kid friends exploring
New York City.
Wonder by R. J. Palacio
This book is WONDER-ful! The main character is born with a face deformity. As a result he has been home-schooled until now—the beginning of junior high. Will the kids at his new school accept a boy who looks so different?
When I was seven years old, I was in a terrible farming accident. The right side of my face was shredded. I had to go through ten years of plastic surgery to fix my face. Throughout that time, people did not respond well when they saw me. Some even screamed. One threw up! So, I could relate to the main character and how he tried to fit in at his new school.
Last Stop on Market Street
by Matt de la Peña
Now this is what a picture book should be! The beautifully-written and poignant text by Matt de la Pena and the evocative illustrations by Christian Robinson (which remind me of my great love for Ezra Jack Keats' art) capture a world few picture books enter (but should).
The research for my books takes me to some interesting places. Here I am at the Botanical Gardens of New York City. The very stinky and rare corpse flower blooms for only 24-36 hours and this one hasn't bloomed for decades. I feature this plant in my upcoming book NINJA PLANTS: SURVIVAL AND ADAPTATION IN THE PLANT WORLD.
And here I am at the Wolf's Lair in Poland. This was Hitler's main bunker and hideout during World War II. This is for my book called HITLER'S TASTE-TESTER, based on the true story of a girl forced to be one of Hitler's taste-testers during the war. She was the only taste-tester to survive, thanks in part to a daring escape she made when the Russians were approaching.