Some time ago, I was approached by the folks at Thunder Bay Press and Judy O Productions. They were putting together a Nightmare Before Christmas Paper Models kit, and they wanted me to write the keepsake book that came with it. (Together, the kit and the book are called The Nightmare Before Christmas Paper ModelsBook.) Why am I mentioning this? Specifically, why am I mentioning this now? Because The Nightmare Before Christmas Paper Models Book came out TODAY from Thunder Bay Press!
The keepsake book is filled with behind-the-scenes information about the making of the classic 1993 movie The Nightmare Before Christmas. * When I was writing this book, I went through every scene in the movie and pointed out obscure background details, Easter eggs, and trivia facts.
I think fans of the movie will really like this book. And I also wrote all of the trivia facts which appear on the trading cards that accompany the kit and book.
Here’s the official publisher’s description of The Nightmare Before Christmas Paper Models Book:
Build 29 detailed replica models of favorite locations and characters from Disney Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas. Also includes a keepsake book with background information about the movie.
Build a magnificent diorama of Halloween Town and other iconic locations from Disney Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas. This two-in-one kit includes a 56-page model book with punch-out pieces and step-by-step instructions to make 29 detailed paper models such as Spiral Hill, the Mayor’s car, Jack’s house, Oogie Boogie’s lair—and more! Along with these fun paper models is a collection of punch-out trading cards with fascinating film facts, plus a 32-page keepsake book featuring iconic frames from the movie and detailed information about the dual-holiday movie that has captured the hearts of millions of fans around the world.
One more thing: If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you’ll know that this isn’t the first Nightmare Before Christmas book I’ve written. I also wrote The Nightmare Before Christmas Sticker Art Puzzles Book, which was published in 2021 by Thunder Bay Press. The entire book is one huge rhyming poem recounting the plot of The Nightmare Before Christmas. I talked about that book in this blog post, but you can also find out more about it HERE, HERE, and HERE.
* Yup, The Nightmare Before Christmas originally came out in 1993. And if you’re good at math, you know that 2023 is the 30th anniversary of the film. Which is why The Nightmare Before Christmas Paper Models Book was published in the first place!
Hey, look what came in the mail! This is an author copy of a children’s book I wrote. It’s called The Adventures of YOU & Stitch, and it will be published by Scholastic in September 2023. As you may have guessed from the title, The Adventures of YOU & Stitch features the characters from the 2002 animated film Lilo & Stitch.
The Adventures of YOU & Stitch! is written as an in-universe book in which you – the reader – go on a series of adventures with everyone’s favorite fuzzy blue alien, Stitch. The book also functions as a celebration of all things Lilo & Stitch, and I do mean ALL things Lilo & Stitch. That means that there are references in this book to not only the first Lilo & Stitch movie (2002), but also Stitch! The Movie (2003), Lilo & Stitch: The Series (2003-2004), Lilo & Stitch 2: Stitch Has a Glitch (2005), and Leroy & Stitch (2006). Whenever I work on a project I commit to it 110%, and this book is no exception. There are some serious deep cuts in here that Lilo & Stitch superfans will definitely appreciate.
I’m really proud of this book. It’s filled with secret codes, puzzles, ciphers, jokes, guided journal entries, and various other fun activities, all of which are Lilo & Stitch-themed.
And as you can see from the image I’ve posted here, the cover of this book even looks like Stitch! The cover has Stitch’s eyes, nose, mouth, and floppy ears, and it’s made of fuzzy blue plush fabric, so it even feels like Stitch. (That’s a guess on my part. I’ve never held Stitch in my hands, because – spoiler alert – he’s fictional.)
I should also mention that this book will only be available for distribution through the school market. In other words, it’ll be exclusively available through Scholastic Reading Events, so you won’t be able to find it on Amazon.
I had a Stitch-tastic time writing this book, and I hope you enjoy reading it! And by “you,” I mean “kids.” You ARE aware this is a children’s book, right? Hey, grown-ups: this book is NOT for you!
Ever since I was a small child, I’ve been obsessed with animation. Every aspect of it. Who made the greatest animated cartoons in cinematic history, how many Fleischer brothers there were (and what each one did), how to spell and pronounce “Ub Iwerks.” All that stuff. And aside from my work as a writer of variousotherthings, I’m also an animation writer. (In fact, you can see some of my animation writing credits HERE and HERE.)
So I know quite a bit about animation, and I also know a lot about animation history. Pay attention to that last bit, because it’ll be important later.
In addition to all of the above, I’m a public speaker. In fact, for a couple of decades before the pandemic, I used to go all over the world (well, all over the US, as well as a few places in Canada and a couple of countries in Europe) and give lectures at various venues including universities, literary festivals, synagogues, libraries, museums, etc. For the past three years, I’ve been giving lectures virtually, because of the aforementioned pandemic (perhaps you’ve heard of it). Hopefully, now that everything’s opening up again, I’ll start lecturing in person once more. Which would be nice, because I really miss those speaking gigs where I’m actually in the same room as my audience. (What a concept!)
No matter whether I lecture virtually or in person, I usually talk about various pop culture-related topics, often from a Jewish perspective. That’s largely because my lecture career started out with me speaking on subjects like the history of Jews in the film industry and the history of Jews in the animation industry. And that kinda became my thing, for reasons too convoluted to go into here. * Then after my book From Krakow to Krypton: Jews in Comic Books was released in 2008, that was the topic I spoke about the most. I mean, I had written a successful nonfiction book on the history of Jews in the comic book industry. Why wouldn’t that be my most frequently requested lecture topic?
I’ve also done some work for the Union for Reform Judaism (aka “URJ”) over the past couple of decades. For instance, I’ve written several articles for them (both print and online), most of which are about various aspects of pop culture history as well.
At the tail end of 2021, the folks at the URJ hired me to make a video about the history of Jews in the animation industry for their “RJ on the Go” platform. It was called “Drawing the Line: The History of Jews in Animation,” and it was up on their site for about a month, from late December of 2021 to late January of 2022. It’s not up there anymore, but they gave me the link so that it can live permanently on my website. With that in mind, you can check it out here:
* I should clarify that I don’t exclusively talk about these subjects as seen through a Jewish lens, so to speak. Sometimes, in my lectures, I simply talk about film history (in general), or the history of television comedy (in general), or the history of the comic book industry (in general). Other times, I talk about my writing career and how it’s evolved over the years. I’ve even given lectures about specific areas of my writing career, like my career in the video game industry or what it was like working on those three LEGO Star Wars books I wrote for Scholastic. But, at least in certain circles, I am definitely known best for my lectures on the contribution of Jewish folks to various areas of popular culture.