H.A.C.K.S., On Writing

Introducing the H.A.C.K.S. Seal of Approval

H.A.C.K.S. approves.
H.A.C.K.S. approves.

Are you a member of H.A.C.K.S. yet? No?

Do you at least know what H.A.C.K.S. stands for? No?

Sheesh. I need some PR people.

H.A.C.K.S. stands for Humans Against Celebrity Kid Stories. I founded the organization last year as a way to ever-so-gently dissuade people from buying picture books written by celebrities.

The reason? Simple. Because most of these celebrity-written children’s books are – and this is backed up by years of careful study – stinky.

Want to learn more about H.A.C.K.S.? Wonderful! Click here for info.

Are you one of those devil-may-care types who join organizations without knowing anything about them? Wonderful! Click here and “like” the page.

Now let’s get to the subject of this post. Although it has been proven that most celebrity children’s books are stinky, some are not. Case in point: Charming actress and fiber-filled-yogurt pitchwoman Jamie Lee Curtis has written several excellent picture books.

You can get regular be eating yogurt? Who knew? SHE did.
You can get regular by eating yogurt? Who knew?
SHE did.

Yes, Ms. Curtis is a celebrity but she is also a writer. She deserves, I think, immunity from any H.A.C.K.S. initiatives.

So I propose The H.A.C.K.S. Seal of Approval, an honor to be presented to a celebrity whose book (or books) can proudly stand alongside books that were written by people who do this writing thing for a living.

With the H.A.C.K.S. membership’s permission, I would like to nominate Ms. Curtis as our very first Seal of Approval recipient. All in favor?

Please also consider this post to be a solicitation for future H.A.C.K.S. Seal of Approval nominees. Have a suggestion? Have you read a celebrity children’s book that impressed you? Moved you? Made you laugh?

If so, fellow H.A.C.K.S.ters, leave a comment! Together let us encourage great writing!

On Blogging, On Writing

Boycott Celebrity Children’s Books!

Et tu, Martin?

The Crow, Steve Martin’s 2009 banjo album, includes a track titled “Late for School” – a song I didn’t very much care for. The song, though energetic, was sloppy, with an inconsistent meter and some pretty labored rhymes.

Oh, and there was a second reason why I didn’t like “Late for School:”

“If Martin doesn’t turn that song into a bad children’s book,” I told my wife, “I’ll eat my hat.”

Well, I have good news and bad news.

The good news is my diet is 100% polyester-free. The bad news is…well, you know.


I haven’t been this disappointed in Steve Martin since he starred in Bringing Down the House.

Martin, of course, isn’t alone. He is far from alone. The picture book market is lousy with celebrity titles. Tiki Barber, Joy Behar, Katie Couric, Billy Crystal, Bob Dylan, George Foreman, Jeff Foxworthy, Whoopi Goldberg, Jay Leno, Jerry Seinfeld, Brooke Shields, and John Travolta are now “Men and Women of Letters.”

And the list goes on and on.

And on.

And on.

Yogi Berra’s on the list. Yep, the genial Yankees catcher, whose claim to fame is being kinda incoherent, wants to educate your children.

And, of course, there’s Madonna. When she was on TV plugging her first children’s book, she told the interviewer she wrote it because “I couldn’t believe how vapid and vacant and empty all the stories were.”

That interview was maybe 10 years ago, and I still remember that line. Oh, and I shall take that line to my grave.

This disturbing trend affects us all. When a celebrity children’s book is published, it doesn’t only make an angel cry, it robs the world of a spot on a publisher’s release list. That spot could’ve been given to a hard-working unknown who has dedicated his or her life to the craft of writing. But noooo…Neil Sedaka had to cut the line.

I mean, come ON!

Well, it is time someone said  “enough!”

I am that someone!

And I am looking for other someones to say “enough” also!

Consider this blog post a call to arms!

Join The Boycott Celebrity Children’s Book Association (BCCBA)!

You don’t have to be a writer to be a member, just a concerned someone who wishes to promote and encourage good writing by writers.

Joining couldn’t be simpler! To be a full-fledged, card-carrying member of BCCBA (cards not included) you only need to follow three rules:

  1. Boycott children’s books written by film, TV, pop, or reality show stars; politicians; newscasters; or sports figures.
  2. Respectfully discourage non-members from buying children’s books written by film, TV, pop, or reality show stars; politicians; newscasters; or sports figures.
  3. Come up with ways to respectfully encourage celebrities to submit their children’s book manuscripts under pseudonyms – so the stories may be judged on their literary merits alone.

I know, I know. Some of you are thinking, “But Jamie Lee Curtis is different! She can really write!” And you’re right, she can.

But for boycotts to succeed, sometimes the innocent must temporarily suffer. Fear not, friends; Curtis will be fine. Her books will almost certainly be accepted on the basis of the meritocracy model I propose. In the meantime, she can generate extra cash by making some more of those commercials for the yogurt that helps you poop.

Jamie Lee Curtis: great actress, fine writer, has regular bowel movements.

So who’s with me?

Write a comment and show your support for the cause! All suggestions are welcome!

Join the Association and spread the word! 

Only together can we make a difference!