How to Rock: Author Video, Interview, & Sweeps!

November 8th, 2011 by

Imagine one day you’re the undisputed leader of your school, and the next day everyone is making fun of you because of your new glasses and braces. Would you get revenge? Scheme to regain your status? Or enjoy meeting people in a new social group (especially cute people)?

In How to Rock Braces and Glasses by Meg Haston, queen bee Kacey experiences all of the above — and it’s a wild ride to read about! And who better to tell you all about it than the author herself?

Meg Haston stopped by to say hi and answer a few of our questions — and we made her sing a song for you guys. Literally. Check it out, only on Kidsmomo:

ZOMG! She sounds amazing, doesn’t she? If she didn’t seem so sweet and innocent, we’d guess that Meg bribed a professional singer to stand in for her. We don’t actually see Meg doing the singing, right?

Anyway, here’s that interview Meg mentioned in her video:

The book is being adapted as a TV show on Nick. Are you involved? How closely will the show follow the original story?
Meg Haston: The show is a new live action comedy series called How to Rock, and will air beginning in early 2012. Like the book, the show will follow tell-it-like-it-is queen bee Kacey Simon as she figures out how to balance popularity with being a good friend and a rockin’ lead singer for the band Gravity. And like the book, music plays a major role in the story. The show stars an incredible musical talent, Cymphonique Miller, and will feature original music.

The development of the book and TV show are fairly separate. Translation: Sadly, I can’t get you an audition, or score your cousin a new gig as a background actor. I can keep writing books that will rock your socks off, if that’s any consolation.

(For more on the show and its stars, plus fun activities, check out!)

A rockin’ band plays a big role in the book. Do you have any “guilty pleasure” songs that you love?
Meg Haston: Since music plays such an important role in the book, music played an important role in my writing process. As I wrote, I listened to everything from Joni Mitchell to Beyonce to Bob Dylan. You can check out a playlist of the songs I listened to during the writing of the book here.

But you asked about guilty pleasure songs, didn’t you? Right now, my guilty pleasure is Katy Perry. And once, I downloaded a Lindsay Lohan song. Although there’s a little more guilt and a little less pleasure involved in that one. Sorry, LL.

In the book, Kacey has an advice segment on the school TV show. Here’s a letter from us to her. Any chance she’d give us some advice?

Dear Simon Says,

We have a major crush on a great guy. He’s smart, funny, and cute. Not to mention creative (he has his own band!). He totally gets us, and he likes us for who we are. But here’s the problem: he’s a character in a book! Is this relationship doomed?

Sincerely, Crushing on Kidlit

The response:

Dear Crushing,

Your crush sounds AMAZING! Funny, smart, totally adorable, and, um… fictional.

In related news, I saw a wisecracking golden retriever on TV last night that apparently meets your dating criteria. Interested?

Let’s get to the real issue, Crushed. You want a crush who’s cool, smart, and creative. A crush like Zander Jarvis from How to Rock Braces and Glasses. But you’re worried you won’t be able to find a non-fictional crush with those characteristics.

Simon Says: Guys like Zander are out there. I promise. But they can be tough to find. Follow my Dating Do’s, and you’ll be singing sweet duets in no time.

1. Do: Do something. Join a club, a sports team, or a theater group to find friends (and crushes) who are interested in the same things you are. You’ll have a blast, and maybe even meet a few cool peeps along the way.

2. Do: Put good karma out there, and you’ll get it back. Trust me, Crushing: I know what I’m talking about here. Putting good vibes out there means you’ll get good vibes back. And putting harsh vibes out there means… well, you’ll just have to read How to Rock Braces and Glasses to find out.

3. Do: Refuse to settle. In spite of your tendency to crush on fictional characters, I’m betting you’re pretty great. So give some thought to all the things you want and deserve in a crush, and don’t stop looking until you’ve found them.

And remember, there are always wise-cracking golden retrievers.


Kacey Simon

Wow, thank you to Meg Haston for passing our letter along to Kacey! And for answering our questions and sending us a video — not to mention
singing just for us! Now that you know how awesome Meg is and you’ve heard from Kacey directly, why don’t you get to know them both even better by entering our sweepstakes for a chance to win the book?



Kids (under the age of 18):

Enter for a chance to win our prize! Just fill out this entry form and mail it back to us. (Don’t forget to have your parent/guardian sign it — otherwise, you won’t be eligible to win!) We must receive your entry before December 1, 2011.

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. A PURCHASE WILL NOT INCREASE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING. Legal residents of the 50 United States (D.C.) under 18 years. Void where prohibited. Sweepstakes ends 11/30/2011. See official rules.

Aaron Starmer: Author Video & Interview

October 11th, 2011 by

What do an evil principal, five child prodigies, one boy prophet, a mysterious machine, and a world without adults have in common? They all come from the mind of author Aaron Starmer!

His first book, DWEEB (for ages 8-12), is about a group of middle schoolers who are kidnapped by their principal and have to thwart his dastardly plan — pronto.

His new book, The Only Ones (for ages 10 and up), just came out last month, and we were delighted to receive a copy hot off the presses!

But we were even more excited when Aaron took a break from his intergalactic vacation to send us a video message about his books. Confused? Just watch the video — filmed exclusively for you guys here at Kidsmomo:

HA HA HA HA HA! We hope his lamp survived the video shoot…

Anyway, here’s that interview Aaron mentioned in his video:

In DWEEB, five kids band together and call themselves, well, DWEEB. Did you ever form a club with your friends when you were a kid? And if you could be in your dream club now, what would it be?
Aaron Starmer: I never had a club when I was a kid, but we definitely had a tight-knit group of guys who would build forts and play capture the flag and flashlight tag together. We weren’t quick to let other kids in on some of our adventures, so I guess there was a silly air of exclusivity about it. These days, I’m not ashamed to admit, part of me would still love to be in a band. I never had the patience to learn to play an instrument, but rock star dreams don’t ever completely fade away.

In The Only Ones, each kid in the village has a special skill they bring to the group to help the town run. One kid hunts, another purifies the water, another puts on elaborate shows for entertainment, etc. If you lived there, what do you think you would have done?
Aaron Starmer: I like to think I would be a halfway decent survivalist, who could build things and start fires by striking stones together. But that’s probably not the case. I would hope I’m a good enough storyteller that people would come over to my house in the evening to sit next to the fireplace while I would regale them with tales. In the mid-80s, when I was a kid, I lived in Australia and that was sort of my job there. As an American, I had seen all the TV shows that hadn’t yet reached Australia. So I could tell my new friends what was going to happen on The A-Team and V and Dukes of Hazzard, long before they were able to see it. For an 8-year-old, that was power!

Both books have a really interesting and unique cast of kids. Are any based on real people in your life?
Aaron Starmer: Not consciously, but every character is a little bit me and a little bit the people I know… and a lot of who-knows-what. I think every person has at least one thing that is remarkable about him/her, and I tend to start by defining what is remarkable about each character. Then I try to find contradictions in the character, because we’re all full of contradictions. I definitely borrow dialogue and anecdotes from things I’ve heard friends and family say, but that’s hardly the majority of the writing. It’s more about establishing a character and setting them loose in a world with its own particular rules.

Well, wasn’t that nice of Aaron Starmer to interrupt his space travels to say hello? Why don’t you reward his efforts by entering our sweepstakes for a chance to win his books?

• Copy of DWEEB, signed by the author
• Copy of The Only Ones, signed by the author

[This sweepstakes is now closed.]

Raymond Bean: Author Video, Interview, & Sweeps!

September 22nd, 2011 by

Let’s just get this out of the way, shall we:

Farts! *Giggle.* Air biscuits! *Snort.* Laying an egg! *Guffaw!* Cutting the cheese! HA HA HA HA HA! Ha ha ha! Ha!

Sorry, we couldn’t resist. But can you blame us? We’re talking about the Sweet Farts books by Raymond Bean, after all! But now that that’s out of our systems, we can move on. (Out of our systems! Get it? Okay, now we really are done.)

If you’re not familiar with Sweet Farts and the sequel, Sweet Farts: Rippin’ It Old School, well, we could tell you all about them. But why not get the 411 directly from the author himself? Check out this special video greeting from Ray Bean, just for Kidsmomo readers:

(Here’s a link to the German version of the book, Stinker, as mentioned in the video.)

Raymond was also kind enough to answer a few of our burning questions:

Describe a time when you let out an S.B.D. (Silent But Deadly)!
Raymond Bean: I’m kind of a wonder of science. I don’t pass gas. I have, however, been on the recieving end of more than my share over the years. Being a teacher can be kind of smelly at times.

Keith decides to take matters into his hands and investigate farts for the science fair. What were some of your own science fair projects you did as a kid?
Raymond Bean: I remember working on experiments that involved lots of fizzing. Vinegar and baking soda can be a very fun combination. I also liked to experiment with electricity. I think I did a project where I tried to generate electricity with lemons.

Did you have to do any fart-related research for the books? We want details!
Raymond Bean: As a matter of fact I did have to do “fart-related” research. I had been working on a story about a 4th grader who cured the smell of human gas. I knew the boy in the story would try to find a way to make gas have different scents. When I started looking for interesting ideas to include in the book, I learned that Benjamin Franklin had a similar idea. In 1781 he wrote a humorous essay calling on scientists to work to find a way to make human gas smell better. He claimed that it would be one of the greatest scientific discoveries of all time. In the book, Keith sets out to make old Ben proud.

And now it’s your turn to make Keith proud! How can you do that? By honoring his work and entering our Sweet Farts Giveaway!


• Copy of Sweet Farts, signed by the author
• Copy of Sweet Farts: Rippin’ It Old School, signed by the author
• A box of SWEETARTS®


Kids (under the age of 18):

Enter for a chance to win our prize! Just fill out this entry form and mail it back to us. (Don’t forget to have your parent/guardian sign it — otherwise, you won’t be eligible to win!) We must receive your entry before October 31, 2011.

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. A PURCHASE WILL NOT INCREASE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING. Legal residents of the 50 United States (D.C.) under 18 years. Void where prohibited. Sweepstakes ends 10/30/2011. See official rules.

A big thanks to Raymond Bean for stopping by Kidsmomo and providing the sweepstakes prizes! Now what are YOU waiting for? Enter the sweepstakes now!

Video Interview with “Joey Fly” Creators

December 12th, 2010 by

What happens when you put together an author who’s obsessed with bugs and an illustrator who’s inspired by Where’s Waldo? Why, a graphic novel series about a crime-solving fly, of course!

Okay, maybe that wasn’t the most obvious answer — but it’s what happened! To be more exact, you get the Joey Fly, Private Eye books, written by Aaron Reynolds and illustrated by Neil Numberman. As you may recall, Nancy named Joey Fly Book 1 (entitled Creepy Crawly Crime) as her pick for our More Mysteries theme. The second book, Big Hairy Drama, just came out last month.

So, now we have another question for you: what happens when you put together the creators of Joey Fly, Private Eye and the crazy minds behind Kidsmomo (that would be Karen and Nancy)? Why, a video interview, of course! (Hopefully, you got that one right — it’s the title of this post, after all…)

(PS – If you’re on the go — say, solving mysteries and avoiding spiderwebs — don’t worry, you can still listen to our interview with Aaron Reynolds and Neil Numberman. Just download the audio.)

Have you read either of the Joey Fly books? Leave a comment telling us what you thought!

Supervillain/Author Interview: Vordak the Incomprehensible

September 15th, 2010 by

A couple weeks ago, we were kidnapped by an evil mastermind and forced to post about his new book, How to Grow Up and Rule the World. Er, we mean… we were contacted by a friendly minion and then happily announced the opportunity to interview Vordak the Incomprehensible, supervillain and newly published author. Yay? We mean, YAY!

And in fact, EXTRA YAY because today’s the day we get to share Vordak’s wisdom with you!

But first, in case you need a refresher, How to Grow Up and Rule the World is a thorough manual on everything you need to know to become a dastardly master of the universe — from ideas for a killer costume (literally) to tips on communicating with your arch-nemesis. We really gobbled this book up! Then again, if we hadn’t, we would have been gobbled up by the sharks swimming around under the cage we were in, so that may not be the most objective review…

But now we’re safe at home and truly excited to present to you… our Q&A with Vordak the Incomprehensible!

Why should kids read your book?

Vordak: Because if they try to eat it, they’ll miss all the great illustrations.

What’s the #1 most important tip in your book? If kids only remember one piece of your advice, what should it be?

Vordak: Let me get this straight — you’re asking me to GIVE AWAY my #1 piece of advice? For FREE? That may work with other authors, but not Vordak the Incomprehensible. It appears you think me a fool. I’ll tell you what. I’ll give you my #56 piece of advice, but only if everyone who reads it agrees to send me $25 in the mail.

Which of your evil feats are you most proud of?

Vordak: I would have to say Dancing With The Stars. That was MY idea, you know. MUAHAHAHAHA!!

See More…

Vordak Wants to Hear From YOU!

August 30th, 2010 by

Attention all aspiring super villains: Do you point and snicker when someone falls? Is teasing your sibling one of your greatest joys in life? Have you been practicing your maniacal laugh in your spare time? Then we’ve got a treat for you: Vordak the Incomprehensible, the evil genius behind the new book How to Grow Up and Rule the World, has chosen Kidsmomo for the first stop on his blog tour!

If you’ve read the book, then you know that Vordak’s mission is to educate a new generation of bad guys. How to Grow Up and Rule the World is an amazing guide to perfecting your true nefarious nature — including instructions on how to create your own evil name, advice on choosing the right lair for your business, and tips on how to hire a good henchman (and by “good,” we of course mean “bad”).

However, if the book just isn’t enough for you, now’s YOUR chance to ask Vordak your burning questions. He’s agreed to do an interview with Kidsmomo, and he’s even deigning to answer questions submitted by our followers — that means you guys! (Guess he’ll take his minions wherever he can find them…)

So leave a comment with your question for Vordak (and include your first name, your age, and your state). We’ll sort through your submissions and pass along the best questions to Vordak for his evil expertise.

Check back here on September 15th for his answers! That is, if Vordak hasn’t blown us all to bits by then…

Update 9/15/10: Attention all minions! You can now read our interview with Vordak &#151 including answers to YOUR questions!

Interview with Jon and Pamela Voelkel, Authors of Middleworld

August 7th, 2010 by

Today, we’ve got a very special treat for you guys! Some of you have noticed that every so often, an author will leave a comment on the site. When that happens, we have heart attacks of joy, and then after we recover, we do little happy dances in our respective homes. Well, take that excitement and multiply it by roughly a bazillion — because today we have a full-fledged interview with TWO authors: Jon and Pamela Voelkel.

Their book, Middleworld, is a fast-paced supernatural adventure story about a regular old kid who ends up fighting to save the world from the Ancient Maya Lords of Death. You know, just your average children’s book. It’s actually the first installment in the Jaguar Stones trilogy, so hopefully there’s plenty more jungle exploring, butt kicking, and monkey conversing to come!

Middleworld was recently featured as an Al’s Book Club pick on The Today Show. In other words, Jon and Pamela Voelkel are big time — and they were nice enough to do a Q&A for us:

The mysterious housekeeper Zia is the one who gets Max on a plane to rescue his parents. Will she play a big role in the later books?

J&P: YES! Zia has a much bigger role in The Jaguar Stones, Book 2: The End of the World Club — which is out on 12/28/2010.

In the book, spirits of Lord 6-Rabbit and his mother Lady Kan Kakaw inhabit howler monkeys. If the two of you were to possess the body of an animal, which animals would you choose?

J&P: Jon chooses a jaguar because they rule the rainforest and they’re so sleek and handsome. Pamela would rather be a house cat and sleep all day.

An illustration by Pamela Voelkel from Middleworld, Page 33

The two of you write the series together — how does that work? Do you end up talking about The Jaguar Stones all day and night?

J&P: Yes we do — and it drives our children crazy. But the characters in the book are like our children too; we’ve lived with them for six years. When we first started writing the book, we used to pass the manuscript to and fro between us, each one writing a complete draft. Now that we have a better idea of where we’re going, Pamela does most of the writing and Jon does most of the illustrating. We still plot everything out together and the balance of male/female, action/emotion seems to work pretty well.

The two of you did a lot of traveling around the country, talking to kids at schools and book stores. What was the most surprising thing that happened to you on the road?

J&P: Neither of us were big fans of school as kids, so the biggest surprise has been discovering how much fun it is to go back there now and talk about the Maya. There have been so many favorite moments — like arriving at a little school in the wilds of Arkansas to find it decorated from top to bottom in paintings of Mayan glyphs and calendars and animal masks to welcome us… or the principal in New York who went out to direct school buses wearing our Maya king costume… or the party at Square Books Junior where they made the tamale recipe from our book.

What was the funniest thing that happened on tour?

J&P: The funniest thing happened at a school in Massachusetts. It was a Friday afternoon after a week of testing, and when the principal stood next to the Maya king, 300 kids stood up as one chanting “Sac-ri-fice! Sac-ri-fice!” Luckily for us, the principal thought it was hilarious!

The Voelkel kids in Uxmal and illustration by P. Voelkel from Middleworld, Page 130 ... looks familiar!

We just finished Middleworld, and loved it — what are some books you’d recommend to our kid readers at

J&P: We’re so glad you enjoyed Middleworld — and we promise that Book 2 is even faster and more fun! Recommended for kid readers are:

  • Before Columbus: the Americas of 1491 by Charles C. Mann
  • Motel of the Mysteries by David MacAuley
  • The Monster Blood Tattoo series by D.M. Cornish (for teens)
  • The Hungry City Chronicles by Philip Reeve (for teens)
  • The Roman Mysteries by Caroline Lawrence
  • The Sea of Trolls by Nancy Farmer
  • The Owl Service by Alan Garner (for teens)
  • Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne
  • Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

So there you have it — 0ur Q&A with the authors of Middleworld, Jon “the Jaguar” Voelkel and Pamela “the House Cat” Voelkel! And now we’ve got the same question for you: If you were to possess the body of any animal, which one would you choose? Leave a comment with your answer!

And also leave a comment or submit a review if you’ve read the book! And if you haven’t, what are you waiting for? The Ancient Maya Lords of Death await you!

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