HomeAbout BillThe Scandal PlanEventsPressFilmOther WorkKeep In TouchBlog

Monthly Archives: July 2013

A Blog Post About Authors, by Kevin Henkes

In the last couple of months, I started telling my two-year-old son the names of the authors and illustrators behind the books we read. I want him to understand the notion of authorship, that stories don’t just appear out of thin air. Well…

One of Noah’s favorite books this summer has been Kitten’s First Full Moon, by Kevin Henkes, and, as we’ve read it many times, Noah seems to have come to the conclusion that Kevin Henkes is the author responsible for all stories in existence.

NOAH: “Dr. Seuss book, by Kevin Henkes!”

ME: “No, Noah. Dr. Seuss writes Dr. Seuss’s books. Kevin Henkes writes Kevin Henkes’s books.”

NOAH: (more enthusiastically) “Dr. Seuss book by Kevin Henkes!”

Now the problem is that Noah realizes how funny we think he is when he ascribes universal authorship to Kevin Henkes, and he knows how to play to his audience. Recently, at the end of an impromptu rendition of “London Bridge Is Falling Down,” Noah closed as follows:

NOAH: “London Bridge is falling down, my fair lady… by Kevin Henkes.”

I’d like to think that our repeated corrections are starting to have their impact, and Noah is starting to figure out that there are other writers beyond Mr. Henkes. Just yesterday, I was reading him the story Knufflebunny, by Mo Willems, an author whose various books we have enjoyed numerous times.

ME: “Knufflebunny, by Mo Willems.”

NOAH: “Mo…Willems.”

ME: (excitedly) “That’s right, honey, Mo Willems. We read a lot of books by Mo Willems. We like him a lot.”

NOAH: “Mo Willems… by Kevin Henkes!”

The latest…

It has been a period of transition for me. I’ve been laid up for much of this summer, recovering from foot surgery, and I decided to use this time to take a break from my screenwriting and pursue some smaller projects. This was something I think I needed to do for my mental health, but it has proven to be quite creatively stimulating as well. I’m working on a couple children’s books now, and I’ve also been writing some songs, something I had never done before (at least not in a non-collaborative way).

These two mediums actually seem to me like two sides of the same coin: both are rhythmic, highly structured, minimalist forms of storytelling–and I’ve been having fun playing in this world. I know the songwriting will not advance beyond the status of “hobby” for me, but I must say that I am finding the children’s book writing to be a natural fit. And while I certainly intend to return to a larger story in the not too distant future (novel or screenplay), I definitely want to continue pursuing these kid’s books. At least as long as the new ideas keep popping up.

But then, I’m getting ahead of myself. I shouldn’t write too much at this stage of the game. More of my story to come as it is written…