The things kids do say…


Happy birthday to David B Coe! He’s taking today off to celebrate his 29th birthday (no, really, he’s 29! Would I lie to you? 😉 ) And he gets cake, which makes any day a party!

I work in a middle school library. Middle schoolers are fascinating beasts – not children, not adults, they flail about in a loose-limbed fashion, trying to figure out what the next step will be. Tears and fights are instantaneously begun, and end just as quickly. Most of them love to read, but many of them pretend they’re much too grown-up for that, and come in here to check out books with the secretive nature of a spy in a dime novel. They’ll toss the chosen book toward me and immediately turn away, so that anyone who happens to glance inside the library will think they’re only standing around near the desk.

And they say the craziest things. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to chew the inside of my lip to keep from laughing. My favorite happened a couple of weeks ago. In anticipation of Mad Kestrel‘s release, I’d printed some paper bookmarks with my book cover and synopsis. Students were oohing and ahing over them. One boy read the bookmark carefully, and the following conversation ensued:

Him: You wrote this book?

Me: Yes, I did.

Him: Have you read it yet?

For a second, I didn’t know how to respond. Of course, I’d read it, silly boy. Hadn’t I? I read it while I was writing it, and I read it again during both big rewrites. I read it while it was printing for the twentieth time. But now I think I want to read it again. Because now it’s a book. Maybe it sounds different now that all the pages are bound and there’s a cover around it. I’ll read it and see if what I tried to do succeeded.

Out of the mouths of babes…


7 comments to The things kids do say…

  • Michele Conti

    Happy Birthday David B. Coe!! YAY… 29…that sounds like a good age to be forever, doesn’t it? I think I’ll stay that age forever once I get there.

    I wish there were people like you guys working in *my* schools. I might’ve actually enjoyed school!

    Apparently I have to order Mad Kestrel online, because nobody has it in the city. Which is starting to bother me, because I don’t have enough books that I want to get the free shipping on

    Oh…moms in Philly this week, maybe she’ll have time to hit up a book store there.

    I think it’s a valid question though. I mean, *this* time you’d be reading it for enjoyment, and not for work. So you wouldn’t be worried so much about grammar and stuff, you could just sit back and enjoy it.

    teehee… though, I’m not sure that an 8th grader would think to make that kind of distinction. Depends on the kid though, I suppose.

  • “teehee… though, I’m not sure that an 8th grader would think to make that kind of distinction.”

    *laughs* Some of my kids are pretty intuitive, and I have a great time discussing literature with them. This one isn’t one of those. But he gave me something to think about, so that was nice.

  • Thanks for the birthday shout out, Misty. Sadly, this is the 16th anniversary of my 29th birthday….

    As the father of a middle-schooler, I found your description of the kids and this incident VERY amusing. My daughter is reading my first series now, and though I haven’t had the urge to go back and read those books for a very long time, I want to now, just to remind myself of what it is she might be seeing in the books. It’s a fascinating age — she and her friends hover between childhood and adulthood. One moment she’ll be talking to me about something and I’ll have a glimpse of what it will be like when she’s all grown and we can interact as equals, as friends. And the next moment she’s a kid again, doing something utterly goofy, or else flying off the handle about who-knows-what.

  • Beatriz

    I highly recommend the book. It was wonderful!

    I think middle-schoolers are an exotic breed of shape-shifters. The kids who were hugging on me in the morning walked past me in the afternoon with their noses planted in the air.

  • That’s funny! This boy is a killer comedian, but I guess I understand what he tries to say. I can’t explain it though. In my mind this has a bit of logic behind it!

  • Happy Birthday David — belatedly. Logging on from the mountains of NC, so I’m a day or two behind. Glad your kid is reading your work. What will you say if she has a complaint? Or a debate with you about yrou workd society? Oh, man, that sounds like fun! It’s imagining times like this that I wish I had kids!

    Misty, You book is grand! It’s even better now (after the rewrite, which is another topic this week) than it was in its infancy. And it was pretty cool then!

  • Thank you, Faith!! That means so much to me!