Bad Words I’ve Learned from Kids

When a first grader says, “Johnny called me the F-word!” I now know through careful interrogation it means ‘Fart’. I’ve  learned the same way that the S-word for the playground set is ‘Stupid’. A word so bad that they don’t even want to give it an alternate is what I’ll call the K-word: ‘Kiss’. At this point,… Read more »

Hair #2

“Mr. Roth,” a fourth grader said to me today, “What’s it like to be bald?” “Uh, well…” “It must be cool,” he said. I stroked my stylish stubble. “Yes, you think?” “Yeah. You don’t get any lice or bugs.” I wish I was making this stuff up.

Invasion of the Micro Aliens

Vampires, zombies, dystopian societies, and now…tiny aliens? Let’s hope so. My latest work is about a ship of micro-travelers that crash into a boy’s thumb. Not exactly the stuff of popular trends, I know – except that David Wiesner’s newly released picture book, Mr. Wuffles, is also about a stranded ship of small aliens! (plus a cat,… Read more »

Hair Today…

I have a poster by my classroom door that pictures a bunch of famous artists. The other day a third grader in line turned to me and said, “Mr. Roth, you’re like Picasso.” I stroked my chin. “Yes? How so?” “He doesn’t have any hair.” Before I could speak, another student stepped forward to defend me…. Read more »

Funniest Line Ever

I like to write funny kids’ books. I’d even like to publish one someday. But no matter how funny I am, it’s humbling to know that nothing can ever top the humor of this simple line: “Wooshee gaga.” “Wooshee gaga” comes on page 20, paragraph two of Ian Falconer’s brilliant picture book, Olivia and the Missing Toy…. Read more »