Saturday, December 27, 2008

Flint Portraits: Jon Scieszka

Jon Scieszka and some other more stoic guys, courtesy of

Flint Expatriate and children's book author Jon Scieszka has a new work out that's drawing praise from Lisa Von Drasek in The New York Times:

“Knucklehead” is Scieszka’s own tall tale, a memoir organized like a collection of snapshots about growing up with five brothers in the Flint, Mich., of the 1950’s. Ever the teacher, in this slim volume ­Scieszka writes a model memoir. Or as he puts it, when you are getting in trouble “it’s good to be the one telling the story.”

Scieszka gets children, and he gets their humor. Especially boy humor. He tells the truth about what really goes on when parents aren’t looking. (Chapter 34, “Fire”: “There is something about boys and fire that is like fish and water, birds and air, cats and hairballs. They just go together.” Good thing Scieszka’s mom was a nurse.

Of course, you expect good things from the country’s first national ambassador for young people’s literature, "a kind of children’s book version of the Library of Congress’s poet laureate program."


  1. Well I grew up next door to the Scieszkas. Their youngest was about 6 years older than me, and to a kindergardner, that house of 6 teenage+ boys was a truckload of awesome almost every day. fire, fireworks, mini-bikes, pranks, partying while their parents were at the lake. They were almost like superheroes.

  2. Jim, I thought that name sounded familier. They lived between you and the Wylie's, which I think I spelling wrong, right? We're they responsible for the street hockey with the flaming tennis ball?

  3. I recall a littany of outrageous activty, including 3 or 4 flaming tennis ball activities, including zippo lighter powered flaming tennis ball mortars, flaming tennis, falming street hockey, and flaming dodge ball. Now whether this was an all scieszka affair or if the older wylies were involved (I would be money on it), I can't recall.

    Their parents has a place on lake Tipsico (sp?) and often disappeared on weekends, and then, well... nature tooks its course.


Thanks for commenting. I moderate comments, so it may take a while for your comment to appear. You might enjoy my book about Flint called "Teardown: Memoir of a Vanishing City," a Michigan Notable Book for 2014 and a finalist for the 33rd Annual Northern California Book Award for Creative NonFiction. Filmmaker Michael Moore described Teardown as "a brilliant chronicle of the Mad Maxization of a once-great American city." More information about Teardown is available at