Monday, May 24, 2010

Cute Author Alert: Mac Barnett

Mac Barnett: In fact, almost all my ideas for books have come to me while traveling. The others occur to me while taking showers.
Adam Rex: Now he's got a hundred children's librarians picturing him in the shower. Le travail bien fait, Mac Barnett

Mac Barnett is a children's book author and strongman-for-hire.  He is also a director of 826 LA, a non-profit organization that helps support and improve children's and teenagers' writing skills. 826 LA has a sense of humor and whimsy about itself not usually associated with after-school programs, including their store called the Echo Park Time Travel Mart (a convenience store for time travelers, motto: "Whenever you are, we're already then") and allowing Sam Rockwell the opportunity to tute children.  He participated in the Guys Read series started by author Jon Scieszka, which promotes reading and literacy to boys, you can read more about the program here and here (and see more pictures of Mac and fellow cute author Adam Rex). Just when I thought Mac couldn't get any dreamier, it turns out he's a fan of librarians too:

Mac's literary career dates back to the mid 90s, when he worked as a cover model for a series of books called the Ozark Adventures, a Christian spin on the Boxcar Children (source).  More recently, Mac has published three books working with illustrator Adam Rex: Guess Again?, Billy Twitters and his Blue Whale Problem, and The Brixton Brothers' mystery The Case of the Mistaken Identity.  Meant for children, Barnett's books are enjoyable for adults too.  They are intelligent books (Billy Twitters works a surprising amount of whale facts into the story) with a dry sense of humor and excellent illustrations.  Expect to hear more from Mac Barnett, this year sees the release of 4 books he was involved with, including: Guys Read: Funny Stuff, The Clock Without a Face, Oh No! My Science Project Destroyed the World, and the second Brixton Brother's mystery, The Ghost Writer Secret.  

Check out one of his books:

The Case of the Mistaken Identity (2009).
Guess Again! (2009).
Billy Twitters and his Blue Whale Problem (2009).

BTW: Chicago has a sister store to the Echo Park Time Travel Store.  It's a secret agent themed store called the Boring Store and it's located on Milwaukee Ave. in Wicker Park (between Paulina and Wood).  All proceeds go to 826 CHI.