Skip to main content

And Another Thing... An Afternoon with Eoin Colfer

Let me start this by confessing that, prior to seeing the movie version from a few years back, I had not read or listened to any of Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy books or radio programs.  However, my husband and son (the one who does not normally read fiction but has read this complete series) are fans. The happy coincidence of Eoin Colfer being asked to write Part Six of Three in the series (Douglas Adams died in 2001 while in the process of writing notes for the book) brought Colfer to San Diego on a book tour this weekend and we got the chance to listen to him speak - for a whole glorious hour in a very, very small bookstore- and get some books signed.

Even though Colfer is here mostly to talk about the Hitchhiker book, he is happy to share stories about Artemis Fowl.  He started off his talk by commenting on the handful of kids in the audience and how he was going to read from the new book but there were a few swears in it so he wouldn't.  In spite of this, perhaps because he is Irish and has the gift of storytelling, he was totally entertaining and shared stories about parenting, writing, singing with the Rock Bottom Remainders, a group of authors (including Stephen King, Dave Barry, Amy Tan and Matt Groening) and a very inebriated, mouth organ playing Frank McCourt, growing up with four brothers, trying to write scary books for kids and being thwarted by Saturday morning cartoons that are even scarier than what he was writing.  He told a story about how, after his first dismal performance with the Remainders, they told him to go home and learn a U2 (also Irish) song for the next performance.  He was complaining about this over the phone to a friend one day when his friend asked him to hold a moment while he passed of the phone.  A man got on the phone and told him that "Angel of Harlem" was one of the easiest U2 songs to learn, to which Colfer responded, "Who are you to be telling me this?" and the man answered, "The Edge."  Ha!  Colfer also told a great story about how, being rubbish at sports, he took to reading as a teen.  If he was engrossed in a book and put it down to tend to something else, one of his four brothers would find it, rip out the last few pages and force Eoin to pay to get them back.

I highly recommend you attend one of Colfer's signings if you leave nearby.  Because of his gifts for humor and story telling combined with his wonderful accent, I could have listened to him talk about actuary tables for an hour.  It looks like he's mostly on the West Coast for now and in decent sized venues - including an Apple Store in San Francisco.  Here is a link to his tour schedule.

Eoin & me at Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore.  He is truly an elfin sort of guy.  I think we are the same height (he's sitting on a stool) and I am only 5 feet tall...


Popular posts from this blog

POP-UP: Everything You Need to Know to Create Your Own Pop-Up Book, paper engineering by Ruth Wickings, illustrations by Frances Castle RL: All ages

POP-UP:  Everything You Need to Know to Create Your Own Pop-Up Book with paper engineering by Ruth Wickings and illustrations by Frances Castle is THE COOLEST BOOK EVER!!!  I know that I haven't dedicated much time to pop-up books here, but they have always held a special place in my heart, and the phrase "paper engineering" is a favorite of mine. Although I didn't know what it was at the time, I did go through a paper engineering phase when I was ten or so. I would sneak off to the back of the classroom during independent work periods and go to town on the construction paper and glue and make these little free-standing dioramas. A huge fan of The Muppet Show (the original), I reconstructed the all-baby orchestra from an episode, drawing and coloring each baby and his/her instrument then gluing them onto a 3D orchestra section I had crafted out of brown construction paper.  I also made a 3D version of Snidely Whiplash throwing Nell off a cliff with Dudley Do-Right wa…

Made by Dad: 67 Blueprints for Making Cool Stuff - Projects You Can Build For (and With) Kids! by Scott Bedford

On his personal website, Scott Bedforddescribes himself as an "Award Winning Online Creative Professional" working within the advertising and design industry. What is more interesting (and applicable here) is how hisWhat I Made website came to be. While sitting in a Starbucks with his restless young sons, trying to enjoy his latte, Bedford created something out of coffee stir sticks that ended up keeping his boys entertained, finishing his coffee in peace and sparking (re-sparking, really) his creative drive and reminding him of the "enormous joy gained from making things, even simple things, and that this joy is not the complexity or quality of the finished project but in the process of making itself. On Bedford'sWhat I Made website, he even shares Six Cool Coffee Shop Crafts for Kidsthat you can try out next time you want to enjoy your coffee and your kids are making that difficult. I've shared two below - be sure to check out the website and see the rest!


The Seeing Stick, written by Jane Yolen, illustrated by Daniela J Terrazini

The Seeing Stick is an original Chinese fairy tale written by the prolific (and prolifically award winning) Jane Yolen. First published in 1977 with illustrations by Remy Charlip (author and illustrator of the brilliantly fun picture book Fortunately and friend and muse to Brian Selznick, who asked him to pose as George Méliès while he was working on the Caldecott winning The Invention of Hugo CabretThe Seeing Stick was reissued with new illustrations by Daniela J. Terrazini in 2009. I have not seen Charlip's version, but Terrazini's is a beautiful work of art and the book itself is yet another magnificently packaged book published by Running Press, the house that brought us Steven Arntson's The Wikkeling, yet another superbly and uniquely packaged children's book with artwork by Terrazini. Interestingly, both The Wikkeling and The Seeing Stick were designed by Frances J Soo Ping Chow.

The Seeing Stick begins, "Once in the ancient walled citadel of Peking there l…