The Great Big Beautiful Podcast, Episode 72: James Howe
This week, the 8-year-old in me freaks out as we welcome James Howe to the show. Howe wrote my favorite series of books as a kid, which also happens to be the world’s best series about a vampire bunny and his fellow housepets: Bunnicula!
Seriously, Bunnicula, Howliday Inn, The Celery Stalks at Midnight, and Nighty Nightmare were right up there with Beverly Cleary’s Ramona Quimby books and Choose Your Own Adventure as my reliable go-to books. And I’m reading them to my kids now. We’re in the middle of Howliday Inn, and they’re loving the books just as much as I did. The books haven’t aged at all, and they’re just as entertaining and fun in 2016 as they were in 1986.
But James Howe is so much more than Bunnicula. He’s written close to 100 books, which is simply astonishing, and his books cover a spectrum of styles and genres: picture books, children’s nonfiction, beginning reader chapter books, kids novels, YA fiction, and screenplays.
Aside from the Bunnicula books, he’s probably most well known for The Misfits series of YA novels, which deal with issues of bullying, peer pressure, sexual identity. and breaking out of the boxes that society puts around us.
On this episode, we chat about the responsibilities inherent in being a writer for young people, coming out as a children’s book author, how to break free of “write what you know,” the pros and cons of “work for hire,” and his self-proclaimed “worst book ever.” I’ll give you a hint about that last one: