Kids love the book (witness this comment on Cheesie’s website today from a girl in Florida: “This book is so great i finished reading it in 2 days!!!!!i just don’t want to stop reading it!!!!!!). Even better, teachers have told me the stealth educational content I slipped into the laugh-out-loud story ties right in with middle-grades lesson plans.
Laughing and learning…the perfect combo!
The paperback will be released in May, and the second book in the series, Cheesie Mack Is Cool in a Duel, comes out in June. Publishers Weekly noted all this in today’s issue and included the terrific photo above from a visit I made this month to Calusa Elementary School in Miami.
The following, in Shonnie Brown’s “Neighbors” column, appeared in The Healdsburg Tribune, our local weekly, on February 9, 2012. [Most of the images were not in the original.]
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Ann, born and raised in Casper, Wyoming, has the dubious distinction of attending high school with both Dick and Lynne Cheney and participating in student government with Dick. Dick, who Ann recalls as being “good looking” back then, wrote “I’ll be your friend forever” in Ann’s yearbook.
My answer is to show them how reading a good book is an adventure in itself. I get them to ask themselves questions. Questions like: Who are these characters? Why did the plot take that turn? How did the author create this mood?
I call it being a reading detective.
And in that spirit, my school presentations consist of lots of questions. Using my middle grades novel, Cheesie Mack Is Not a Genius or Anything, first in a series from Random House, I engage students, exhorting them to become reading detectives.
I was in Southern California all last week hopping from bookstores to schools in an exhausting and exhilarating schedule of 22 Cheesie Mack book events and two Pobba concerts. All were fun and rewarding, but one visit, a spur-of-the-moment trip back in time, stood out.
In September 1952, Oxnard’s Kamala School (K-6) opened to students. I was one of those students, a fourth grader, full of energy.
A couple of days ago there was an article in the New York Times about the many new and different nicknames for grandparents. Looking to stay and act younger, my generation is no longer just Grandma, Grandpa, Nana, and Papa.
In my first Cheesie Mack book, almost-11-year-old Cheesie talks about the unusual nicknames for his mother’s parents:
“I have never met anyone who has a Gumpy or a Meemo. I am collecting grandparent nicknames on my website. You can put yours in if you want.”
Lots of kids have sent in their family’s nicknames, and the list is very diverse. For a first-hand, child-driven take on this “I’m-not-old-enough-to-be-called-Granny” trend among the older generation, visit Cheesie’s grandparent nickname webpage.