Category Archives: Creative Writing

TWO starred reviews for STUCK IN THE STONE AGE! (from Publisher’s Weekly and Kirkus)

The first review of STUCK IN THE STONE AGE is in, and Publisher’s Weekly thinks it’s worth your time!

“…this two-for-one tale is as smart as it is entertaining…”

“Jam-packed with both writing advice and jokes…”

“…this madcap tale also serves as an instruction manual for children thinking of writing their own books…”

Check out the full starred review here!

Learn more about the book here! 

AND OH, HEY, LOOK: a second review just came in from Kirkus, who also gave it a star! You can read the full review here, or just enjoy this fancy graphic the publisher created to highlight a quote from it:

If you’re a kid (or know a kid) who either loves to laugh OR has any interest in creating stories of your own, you might really dig this book. It comes out on March 6th, and you can preorder it at Powell’s, IndieboundBarnes&Noble, iBooksBooks-A-Million, or Amazon.


Posted in Best Adventure Books, Best Middle Grade Books, Best Middle Grade Series, Creative Writing, Funniest Middle Grade Books, Funny Middle Grade Books, Humor Books for Kids, Reluctant Readers, School Librarians, Stuck in the Stone Age, Texas Librarians | Leave a comment


It’s a comic novel for middle graders!

It’s a how-to guide that can help kids create awesome stories of their own!

It’s illustrated by the amazing Hatem Aly!

It’s the first in a new book series by the amazing STORY PIRATES, whose nationwide shows feature improv comics acting out stories written by actual kids!

It’s got a premise–that a brilliant scientist and a much less brilliant janitor find themselves battling angry cavemen and a dyspeptic saber-toothed tiger in 10,000 B.C. due to a malfunctioning time machine–that was cooked up by the I’m-embarrassed-to-admit-he’s-funnier-than-me 11-year-old Vince Boberski of Memphis, Tennessee!

Actually…I think Vince might be 13 by now. But he was 11 back when he submitted the contest-winning idea that led to our collaboration! The book business moves reaaally slowly. But I digress. Back to the hype:

STUCK IN THE STONE AGE IS ALL OF THESE THINGS AT ONCE! It’s like the Swiss Army knife of books!

And if you’re a kid (or a kid at heart!) who wants to A) laugh a lot, or B) learn how to tell awesome stories of your own, at any length and in any genre, you should check it out.


Most books do. I realize that. But the cover was JUST REVEALED TODAY! You can read more about it here on super-librarian Betsy Bird’s blog!

OR you can watch the LIVE FACEBOOK BROADCAST (okay, it’s not live anymore, but it was at the time) of the cover reveal at the Drama Book Shop in NYC!

Or you can click this link to preorder the book!

Or look for it in stores when it comes out on March 6th! It’s a really cool project, and a ton of fun whether you’re interested in learning how to write cool stories of your own, or you just want to laugh and not learn anything at all.

Here’s that cover again, only bigger. (Nice! Right? Hatem Aly is awesome.)


Posted in Best Middle Grade Books, Best Middle Grade Series, Creative Writing, Humor Books for Kids, Reluctant Readers, School Librarians, Stuck in the Stone Age | Leave a comment

An Awesome Writing Contest for Kid Authors! (And a New Book!)

[FYI, the following post was published in July 2017, and the contest it’s describing is over…but the book it’s describing will be out in 2018, and there may be a third book in the series at some point…in which case, I’m sure the Story Pirates will have another contest to pick the idea for that book…so you should keep an eye out for that at]

Are you (or do you know) an elementary- or middle-school-aged kid who likes to write stories?

If so, the always amazing Story Pirates arts and education group is looking for a kid-generated story idea for their new book!

It’s going to be a mystery, it’s going to be funny, and it’s DEFINITELY going to be awesome, because it’ll be written by New York Times bestselling author Jacqueline West, creator of the Books of Elsewhere series!

If you’ve got an idea for a mystery, click this link to submit it — and if your idea gets chosen, you’ll not only get the unique thrill of seeing Jacqueline turn it into a book-length story, you’ll earn $500 cash and a Story Pirates performance at your own school! (Just make sure you get your submission in fast, because the deadline is JULY 21st!)

In case you’re wondering how I know so much about this particular project, it’s because Jacqueline’s mystery is the second installment in the new STORY PIRATES PRESENT book series that pairs up kid writers with professional authors…and I wrote the first one! It’s a science fiction comedy called STUCK IN THE STONE AGE, it’s based on an idea from the truly hilarious 12-year-old Vince Boberski of Memphis, Tennessee,and it’s coming to a bookstore near you on March 20, 2018! (That’s me and Vince on the right. Vince is the one who still has hair.)

STUCK IN THE STONE AGE is a ton of fun to read — and if you’re an aspiring writer, there’s a whole section at the back of the book that’ll help you write stories of your own! It’s called the STORY CREATION ZONE, and if you’re into that kind of thing, it’s as much fun as the story itself!

You can preorder STUCK IN THE STONE AGE now at Powell’s, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, or Indiebound.

And if you enter the contest before July 21st, you could find yourself having as much fun as Vince looks like he’s having in this video the Story Pirates took of the day they announced that we’d picked his story for the first book! Check it out:

Posted in Best Middle Grade Books, Best Middle Grade Series, Creative Writing, Funniest Middle Grade Books, Funny Middle Grade Books, Humor Books for Kids, Stuck in the Stone Age | Leave a comment