|Boy, age 8|
Q: In the scene where Umberto and Derek first meet, were you thinking that Umberto was just being mean to Derek, or were you imagining that Umberto was embarrassed by Derek's question, and he just didn't want to share about why he was in his wheelchair?
I think Umberto was embarrassed because if I was in a wheelchair and somebody came up to me and asked me why I was in my wheelchair it would be embarrassing! ~Aly, age 8
Janet: I think Umberto's gotten into the bad habit of being aggressive as a way to deal with feelings of uncertainty, especially since he just transferred to a new school. He's nervous and wants to do well and make friends, but he's not sure how to do it. Unfortunately for Derek, he's the one Umberto zeroes in on to act out all his fears.
|Ashton, age 9|
In the scene where Umberto is yelling at Derek about nicknames, Derek said he felt like a verbal punching bag. The same thing happened to me at recess today, and I said it felt like I was being punched in the face with words.
I thought it was weird for Umberto to give himself a nickname that is his enemy's name. Derek was so embarrassed when that happened. It made me wonder...
Q: Have you or Jake ever experienced an embarrassing moment? (Matt, age 9 & Katy, age 8)
|Grant, age 9|
Q: When writing the scene where Carly starts dating Crash, did it remind you, or Jake, of a time when it felt like your best friend ditched you for somebody else? ~Zoe, age 9
Janet: Sometimes when I’m working, my friends will go out without me and it does feel a little like I got ditched. But you have to have faith that your friends are still your friends – even when they do things without you.
Jake: It kind of reminds me of the time when I wanted to hang out with a smart, funny, and nice girl at my school but she always had better things to do – or so she said. I was crushed. It was TERRIBLE. But you know how hard preschool can be.
|Emma, age 9|
When I get older I want to run an art after school club.
Q: Have Janet or Jake ever run an after school club? What was it and how did it go? ~Dee, age 9
Janet: Jake and his friends in middle school were obsessed with funny movies so I started a comedy club after school so he and his friends could watch and talk about movies. We had a blast; they loved it.
Jake: My mother was totally embarrassing. She picked these totally sappy movies and snorted when she laughed. It was awful.
|Aly, age 8|
Q: Jake, did you ever get in a fight at school? ~Madelyn, age 8
Jake: I’ve never been in a fight at school - unless you count the time I got jumped by the bus driver trying to steal my lunch money. I had to clobber him with my Simpsons lunch box; then my dad saw us and jumped on top of the bus driver and started shoving my tunafish sandwich in his mouth. Kids were screaming and freaking out. Oh wait…I think that’s a scene from a book we’re working on...
Derek has to sit and be lectured by his parents and he has to go to detention with Umberto.
Q: Have you ever gotten caught doing something wrong that was someone else's idea, and then took the blame for it? ~Emma, age 9 & Jaelyn, age 8
Janet: I’ve done plenty of things that were stupid or wrong. Unfortunately they were always my own ideas!
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