When I was a kid, I loved James and the Giant Peach. And yet, children's literature only came into my orbit a few years ago.
It happened one night when a short story character did something very bad: she offed someone and then bragged about it.
I shut my laptop.
I knew this wasn't going to end well.
And I couldn't harbor a fugitive.
So I decided to write picture books.
And to do this, I needed to know how kids saw the world around them and the icky adults who stood in their way.
But I did have an advantage. I could think like a kid in some ways.
I mean, I do believe in magic and hope to one day fly on a giant peach.
Plus, there are some really scary things that hide in dark corners, like the chupacrabas and yoga mats.
Still, I had my doubts.
What qualifies me to be a kid?
I have a fruit roll up and beef jerky diet.
I have six best friends, all imaginary and a fear of big dinosaur statues.
So I think I've checked off some boxes.
But let's face fit, kids are also brutally honest.
When I taught school, a sea of wrinkled noses would emerge after every barber shop visit,
"Why does your head look like that, teacher?"
Others, much kinder, offered their own troubles.
"My mom makes me wear weird shirts, too."
By comparison, adults are predictable.
And when they're not, they can be on a not-so-nice path, aka, the gorilla in Donkey Kong.
It's like being bored and horrified at the same time.
Seriously, I can barely cobble the energy to stitch this personality together.
To pull off this new project, I needed to talk to the experts, the kids.
After all, they live this all day, every day.
These were the people who believed they could summon an army of giant wombats to bust into the local juice factory if, God forbid, the cafeteria ran out of juice boxes.
So, I took my next steps:
And that was the beginning of my journey.
By the way, I'm sipping from a juice box right now waiting for my giant flying peach.
Life is a Giant Flying Peach.
Who's Got a Juice Box?
I Like All My Friends.
Omaha, Nebraska, June 2017.
Looks like some new friends are waiting for me to step into their story.
Guadalajara, October 2018.
I wonder if these umbrellas can fly me over the city?
Las Vegas, Nevada, October 2018.
I bet she has some incredible stories to tell.
Giants always do.