About Me

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I'm author of The Snipesville Chronicles. I'm also a published academic historian, but don't hold that against me.Oh, and I'm a Brit. I just happen to live in Georgia.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Holidays: Read Don't Know Where for 99 cents. Yes, 99 cents.

I want to get The Snipesville Chronicles into the hands of every kid in America (and increase my adult readership, too.) So, I'm trying an experiment: You can now buy Don't Know Where, Don't Know When (The Snipesville Chronicles)for 99 cents on Kindle or Nook.

Yes, 99 cents.

I have a strong following in Georgia, but there are 49 other states, not to mention the U.K., Canada, and every other English-speaking country.

After four years, I know with absolute certainty that my books speak to people, both kids and adults. And now everyone can afford them. If you would like to give a Kindle book as a gift (think electronic stocking stuffer), there's a button for that on the Amazon page.

Please share on Facebook, tell your friends (or just send them a copy), and help me get non-boring history a larger audience than ever before.

Thanks, all, and have a great holiday season!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

On Puppets, Manga, and History

I had a couple of conversations last week that have stuck with me. One was with a fellow schools performer, an affable magician and puppeteer, who recalled a child in his audience who got malicious pleasure from pointing out--loudly and repeatedly-- that neither magic tricks nor puppets are real.
The other was with a fan (and teacher) at the Decatur Book Festival, who praised the historical settings of my Snipesville Chronicles books. "Kids need something more than manga," she said passionately.

These stories may seem only tangentially connected.  But they both led me to think about the many ways in which commercial media and modern school curricula crush children's imaginative capacities. Too much elementary education seems to me to be content-free, relying on worksheets to somehow teach kids to pass tests in math and reading. When social studies (that horrid phrase!) is taught, it is usually a mish-mash of facts that some pressure group or legislative body has determined that kids should "learn."

And manga? At least Sponge Bob has a keen eye for human foibles. What I have seen of manga has been so drop-dead banal, I reckon kids must be desperate to watch it, much less obsess on it.

History is so rich, so amazing, and so fascinating, but the amazing, rich, and fascinating bits seldom make it into American classrooms or children's programming of any kind. Far too many people think history is facts about presidents or battles, and too rarely do kids learn how life-enriching it can be to learn about the past.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Taking Imaginative Journeys

I have the best job(s) in the world: Sometimes I write, and sometimes I go to signings, and sometimes I get to talk to and have fun with kids. I just finished updating the website for my nonprofit, Imaginative Journeys. We bring non-boring history to kids, along with a bit of literature, drama, and all the other mind-expanding subjects that are vanishing from our schools. And we do it with humor and play.

Planning a kids' program is quite a bit like plotting out a book. And just as with a book, I can never be sure how the final draft will look. I'm really excited about our food camp, which is based on the premise that I'm the head chef who has just bought a truly dreadful restaurant. The kids are my apprentices, and they'll be helping me revise the menu throughout the week. During that time, we'll have guest chefs, learn a bit of food history, visit some local farms and maybe even a factory, and have a great deal of laughter (usually at my expense. Nothing entertains kids more than a goofy adult.)

We're also doing Camp Snipesville, which has time travel as its focus, and this time, we're off to the 20s and 30s. I see gangster battles and FDR in my future...

If this sounds intriguing, why not check us out? My trusty accomplices and I have portable programs that we take on the road. Lots more details at Imaginative Journeys.