From Seed to Author:
Growing ME as a Reader
by Adam Lehrhaupt
I’ve always been a voracious reader. I devour books like the shark in jaws chomped on unsuspecting tourists and boats. I still do. I read everything. Magazines, blogs, books, articles, even newspaper clippings. Yes, people still have newspapers delivered to their houses. And yes, mom and dad do send me clippings. Lots of times the clippings are great, but sometimes I shake my head and wonder about my parent’s sanity. It could be worse, they could be spamming me with bad jokes.
Newspaper clippings aren’t the only reading material my parents have given me. When I was around 11 or 12 years old, they gave me a copy of Where the Sidewalk Ends. I spent days reading and rereading it. Poem after poem. Picture after picture. The Unicorn. The Bloath. Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout. And a magical place, where the sidewalk ends.
I LOVED it. Every line. Every word. Every illustration. I loved it so much that the cover wore out. And so much that I will read the strange and oftentimes confusing newspaper clippings that my parents still send. Because one of them might be my next Where the Sidewalk Ends. And how awesome would that be?
Speaking of awesome, yeah I needed a segue and this was the best I could do, my parents aren’t the only ones who gave me awesome books. About three years after I received Where the Sidewalk Ends, my grandmother gave me a different kind of book. It was the same book she had received from her grandmother when she was a child. And it was awesome!
Okay, I hear you asking “What was the book, Adam?” Well, I’m not going to tell you. Ha! Just kidding. It was The Adventures of Baron Munchausen.
“What? That’s a book?”
Yes! Yes it is!
“Are you sure? I thought it was a Monty Python movie.”
It was that, too. But first, it was a book.
And such a wonderful book. A main character who makes up fantastic, amazing, unbelievable stories. Supporting characters who not only believe him, but join in his adventures. And the kind of humorous moments that make you snort, and then check to see if anyone noticed. At the end, you are left wondering if the stories are real, or just figments of the baron’s imagination.
I remember thinking, “This is the kind of book I want to write.” But I was young. And I moved on to other things. Specifically Stephen King. Books like Carrie, and Pet Sematary, and The Talisman.
Okay. Yes. I went through a bit of a horror book phase. But I was listening to a lot of hair metal at the time. They were some dark days. I read a LOT of horror. In fact, it was about this time that I started reading books secretly, under my covers, by flashlight. I would stay up until 1:00 or 2:00 in the morning, reading until I passed out.
I still occasionally find a book that I can’t put down. A book that I read cover to cover in one day. But now I have a book light that clips on. And I don’t need to hide under the covers. But I miss those days. The joy of finding a new book that sucked me in so deep that I couldn’t put it down. The look on a parent, or grandparent’s face as they gave you a copy of their favorite book.
Now I have my own kids to give books to. I hope that they connect to one of them the same way I did to some of the books I received in my youth. And I really hope that they find one that makes them stay up all night reading. It would be even better if that book was one of mine.
About the Author
Adam Lehrhaupt is the award-winning picture book author of Warning: Do Not Open This Book!, and Please: Open This Book!, as well as the upcoming Chicken in Space ( May 17, 2016) I Will Not Eat You (October 22, 2016), and many more books to come. He has traveled to six continents, performed on Broadway, and lived on a communal farm. He firmly believes that opening a book is a good thing, even if there are monkeys in it. Adam currently lives in the suburbs of Philadelphia, PA, with his wife, two sons, and two bizarre dogs. Follow Adam on twitter, Instagram, and Google+ @lehrhaupt for the occasional brilliant thought or picture, and at adamlehrhaupt.com.
About Chicken in Space
Meet Zoey, an adventurous chicken who always finds a way to pursue her wild ambitions. Outer space is only the first frontier in this series, which celebrates imagination, friendship, and never giving up...even when your dreams are way too big for your barnyard.
Zoey is not like the other chickens. She has dreams. She has plans. And she has a best friend, Sam the pig, who will join her on her wild adventures...if only he gets to eat some pie along the way. Will Zoey and Sam find a slice of pie in outer space? And how will they get up there in the first place? One thing is certain: Zoey always finds a way.
Author Adam Lehrhaupt is a rising talent in contemporary picture books, and illustrator Shahar Kober brings great humor and expressiveness to Zoey and Sam’s memorable crew of barnyard friends.
About Warning: Do Not Open This Book!
CAUTION! This book contains monkeys, toucans, and a whole lot of silliness. You really shouldn't be opening this book.
Just put it back on the shelf.
You're still reading this?
Well, don't say I didn't warn you...
It looks like a book, it feels like a book, and it even smells like a book. But watch out...madness and mayhem lie within! Debut author Adam Lehrhaupt urges you NOT to take a walk on the wild side in this humorous, interactive romp with inventive and engaging illustrations from Eisner Award-winning comic artist and rising star children's book illustrator Matthew Forsythe.
This quirky, subversive creation begs to be enjoyed again and again and again.
About Please: Open This Book!
Books are made to be opened. Especially this one. But, guess what...
Someone closed this book! Who would do that?
Luckily, you can fix this. All you need to do is open it. You can do that. Can't you?
We need your help!
Please, Open This Book!
They warned you, but you just couldn't listen--now, the creators of Warning: Do Not Open This Book! are back with their zany monkey crew, and they need your help!
In Warning, Do Not Open This Book!, which School Library Journal called "more fun than a barrel of monkeys," turning pages meant increased chaos and delight. Now the tables have turned, and opening the book is the only way to save the desperate group of monkeys trapped between its pages. This irresistibly entertaining rescue effort puts power in the hands of the page-turner, and giggles into everyone!
Learn more about the Growing A Reader series here!