Get to know the first National Ambassador for Young People's Literature and September's Author of the Month, Jon Scieszka (rhymes with "Fresca"). He explains the inspiration behind the first book in his new Frank Einstein series, Frank Einstein and the Antimatter Motor, what got him started in writing and his love of new words.
Where did you get your idea for this book?
I’ve always loved science. I really like the story of Frankenstein. And one of my favorite ages to write for is 8-12 year olds because I taught elementary school in NYC for years. So I put all of these loves together, cracked myself up with the funny name Frank Einstein, and realized I could write about all of Science (in kind of the same way I could write about all of History with the Time Warp Trio guys).
Now I’ve planned how to go from Matter, to Energy, to Humans, to Interconnected Life, to Earth, to the Universe in 6 books with 10 year old inventor genius Frank Einstein, his smart robots Klink and Klank, and the evil kid genius, T. Edison. And oh yes, the unpredictable Mr. Chimp. A chimpanzee who has taught himself sign language. And QuickBooks accounting software.
What was your favorite book when you were growing up?
How old were you when you started writing?
I started writing stories when I was in 3rd grade. School assigments. But I remember wanting to be funny like Dr. Seuss, and subversive like Bugs Bunny.
What is your favorite word?
I have a different favorite word every couple days. My newest favorite, found just today, is the name of the giant new dinosaur they just discovered in Argentina. 65 tons of plant-eating beast called DREADNOUGHTUS. (Dreadnought being a fearsome type of battle ship from the early 1900s, meaning “fear nothing”)
What is your favorite book about Chicago?
The Carrot Seed. It’s about Chicago, and New York, and St. Louis, and Albuquerque, and Flint, Michigan where I was born, and every city where there is a kid who believes his carrot seed will grow into a carrot big enough to fill a wheelbarrow.