When H.A.C.K.S. Attacks

You're reading a children's book by Neil Sedaka?! Are you out of your MIND?!
You’re reading a children’s book by Neil Sedaka?! Are you out of your MIND?!

A recent post by the lovely Jilanne Hoffmann reminded me that I am supposed to be heading up an Important Social Movement.

Point taken.

And now Humans Against Celebrity Kid Stories (H.A.C.K.S.) is open for business!

Click on the menu item “H.A.C.K.S. Facts” at the top of the page!

Read all about it!

Join the cause (by “liking” the Join H.A.C.K.S. page)!

Spread the word!

Only together can we put an end to awful stories — like that Christmas one by Harry Connick Jr! (I expected better from you, Harry.)

Bye Bye BCCBA! Acronym Contest Winners Revealed!

It is a joyous occasion! Grab the Lipps, Inc. LP; let’s hear some Funkytown!

Despite Hurricane Sandy and, I assume, Madonna’s henchmen, the Boycott Celebrity Children’s Books Acronym Contest could not be stopped! Hooray for us! Hooray for society!

The view from my driveway. Nice try, nature.

As I mentioned in past posts (this one and this one), I began a crusade to boycott awful picture books by celebrities. I have been delighted by your support. Apparently many of you, too, believe that Madonna And Company have done little more than kill trees and atrophy young minds.

What this cause needed, however, was a catchy acronym because, well, BCCBA sounds like an SAT cheat sheet. I needed your help and you fine folks came through. Below is just a sampling of acronyms designed to turn this little pet project into a national movement:

SCRIBE: Stopping Celebrities Regarding the Inking of Bad Editions

BABBLE: Buying Actors’ Books Begets Less Education

WRITERS: Wielding Righteous Indignation about Talentless Egos—Really, Stop

AUTHORS: Authentic Undermined Talented Hopefuls Over Rapacious Stars


ACT WISE: Avoid Celebrity Trash Writers; Inspire and Support Excellence

ACT NOWW: Avoid Celebrity Trash Nurture Only Writers Writing

HACKS: Humans Against Celebrity Kid Stories

FAWT: Famous 

ESCHEW: Embargoing 

CRAP: Celeb Riters Are Poopy

DR“A”FT: Don’t 

And this is just some of them. Man, do I love you guys.

But how to choose? For a decision this important, I wanted to bring in four qualified judges:

Steve Patchett is the Director of Communications at Morristown-Beard School, responsible for all of the school’s marketing and public relations. Years ago I held this exact same job. After the school administrators came to their senses and fired me, they hired Steve. This was a wise move. The guy is very, very good at his job. He is also a pal.

Jacqueline Haun is a librarian and archivist at The Lawrenceville School and a supurb writer. I should know; she is a regular contributor to The Lawrentian, the magazine I edit. She was an editorial assistant and arts reviewer for a daily newspaper. She also has an unhealthy obsession with the show True Blood.

Lisa Gillard is the Director of Public Relations at The Lawrenceville School. When the fit hits the shan, she knows how to make all the badness go away. She can also get “rah rah” stories in The New York Times if you ask her nicely.

Ellen is my wife. A former high school English teacher, she now runs a very successful SAT business. She also ruthlessly critiques my stories. She is my sweetie.

None of these judges were allowed to see who authored what. None of them were influenced by me in any way.

The results are in. Here is the moment of truth.

In a split decision, with two out of four votes, the winner is…


And – oh, you gotta be kidding me – that means Madame Weebles has won both of the contests I’ve held on this blog. So Weebles is the HACKS co-president and wins a signed copy of my book, Sarah Gives Thanks!

But here’s the thing: Since Weebles already HAS a signed copy of my book, she has decided to give the book away to another acronym author of her choosing. How cool is that?

Her choice? AUTHORS.

So Khaula Mazhar wins the book! You know how to reach me, Khaula; send me your mailing address and I’ll send you a book.

And for those of you keeping score, Lauri Meyer’s FAWT and harulawordsthatserve’s ACT WISE each received a single vote. Because of this, I would like to offer both Lauri and Harula the Executive Vice Presidency of the newly-named HACKS.

If FAWT won, I would’ve used this old stamp as the model for the Association’s logo. Perhaps FAWT’s loss is not such a bad thing.

All of you who entered the contest (especially Vanessa, who inspired this contest and whose CRAP acronym still makes me giggle like a schoolgirl), may now have roles on the HACKS Executive Committee. Please indicate your willingness to be on the committee in the comments below.

And, hey, ANYONE can join the club! Wanna join? Write me a comment and tell me! Only together can we make a difference!


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!