Monday, September 5, 2016

5 Favorites with Author Josh Funk

Today author Josh Funk stopped by the blog to share 5 favorite books from his childhood.

Josh Funk's newest book Dear Dragon is a clever story about two pen pals--one a boy, and the other a dragon--and the assumptions about each other they make along the way. Dear Dragon is a fabulous book to share with kids about letter writing, making assumptions or just for fun.

Dear Dragon is released tomorrow Sept. 6th, so look for it in your local bookstore or library. 

Today Josh is visiting my blog... tomorrow he is visiting my podcast.
So be sure to stop back tomorrow for a special episode of PCS Reads.

And now...

My first favorite picture book was Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina. This book has everything you could want in a book for preschool age children. It has a very organized salesman with excellent posture and very affordably priced caps. It has naptime. It has the surprise (!) of missing caps. It has mischief making monkeys. It has repetition. And it encourages movement. As an adult, I have to admit that I didn’t love reading this book to my own kids (maybe because of all the flailing limbs). But as I’m analyzing the appeal of Caps for Sale for the first time as I write this, I’m beginning to understand (Note to self: use Caps for Sale as a mentor text for a future manuscript).

I so badly wanted to spend the night in a giant department store bouncing on beds like Corduroy! In fact, I still do. Don Freeman’s teddy bear lived the dream life, where the worst thing that could possibly happen was losing a button (or maybe needing a pocket). I sometimes wonder what it would be like to be one of my cats, napping pretty much all day. But wouldn’t it be even better to be a teddy bear?

I was certainly a fan of William Steig (despite the fact that Sylvester heightened my claustrophobic tendencies). My favorite of his as a child was The Amazing Bone. This was during the early ‘80s and I’ve been told I was going through a ‘pig’ phase, where I also had a thing for Miss Piggy (but who didn’t, right? Right …?). I loved the magic, but the real appeal was that the stakes were so high - as Pearl got into some serious danger - tense for a toddler! Also, my grandmother’s name was Pearl.

In third grade, my teacher read Lafcadio: The Lion Who Shot Back aloud to the class. I remember loving the book so much that I forced my parents to buy it and read it with me so I could share its awesomeness. Shel Silverstein’s storytelling and illustrations are always humorous and familiar (having read several of his other works before). But I think for me as a child, it was the ending (which I won’t give away) that intrigued me so.

Matilda came out at exactly the right time for me. I’d read other Roald Dahl books, but this one was different somehow. Maybe it was because this was one of the first books that I got to share with a teacher, not the other way around. It was a new book, and I read it for the first time at the same time as (or even before) everyone else. Being able to get excited about a book, book talk it to classmates, and champion a book gave me a sense of ownership that I’d never had (or at least don’t remember having) previously. It’s also an amazing story about a magic genius.

Thank you, Laura, for inviting me to share some of my favorite books … from when I “was” a child (I mean, I still pretty much am a child). And thank you for sharing Dear Dragon!

​​Josh Funk is the author of Dear Dragon (Viking/Penguin) and other picture books. Josh is a board member of The Writers' Loft in Sherborn, MA and the co-coordinator of the 2016 and 2017 New England Regional SCBWI Conferences. Josh grew up in New England and studied Computer Science in school. Today, he still lives in New England and when not writing Java code or Python scripts, he drinks Java coffee and writes picture book manuscripts.

Josh is terrible at writing bios, so please help fill in the blanks. Josh enjoys _______ during ________ and has always loved __________. He has played ____________ since age __ and his biggest fear in life is being eaten by a __________.

Find out more at and on twitter @joshfunkbooks.

Be sure to visit the other stops on the Dear Dragon Blog Tour:

The Late Bloomer’s Book Blog – September 6
Teach Mentor Texts – September 7As They Grow Up – September 8Emily’s Reading Room – September 9Reederama – September 10 

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