Friday, August 31, 2012

Hold onto Your Shorts!

He's back. To all Captain Underpants fans (which my 8-year-old nephew numbers among), fear no more. The ninth novel in the series is here. I read the first book, and while I can certainly see its appeal, the potty humor proved a bit too much for yours truly. That said, I can't deny the power it exerts on young readers, especially boys. Dav Pilkey speaks their language. To read an interview with the Pasha of Poop, click here.

In the article, Pilkey mentions that it was always a dream of his to inspire kids so that "they'd staple some pages together, grab some pencils, and make their own comics." He's certainly done that, and my nephew is proof. He's informed me that since first grade he's written a total of thirteen comic books and he's halfway through his first novel. Pretty impressive for someone who goes to school ten months of the year.

A couple of weeks ago, he and my niece visited and I took them to a used bookstore that recently opened up in my town. The store has an extensive collection of books for kids and the owner is a joy, both knowledgable and helpful. My nephew questioned her extensively on her Dav Pilkey books, but he already owned or had read all she had. As he looked around for other books, I found one on how to write superhero comics. (He's a huge Marvel fan.) Unfortunately, it was aimed at teenagers. I showed it to him anyway and remarked that one day he might like to own it. At this, he drew himself up and in a withering voice said, "I already am a writer." Then he reminded me of his output, the thirteen comic books and novel-in-progress. Chastened, I returned the book to the shelf.

Later, I thought how right he was. While I don't deny the benefits of how-to books and classes (I teach a writing course), having belief in your abilities and just getting on and doing it are all you really need. I write, therefore I'm a writer. Thank you, Jack!

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