Meet Jeff Kinney!

March 17, 2010 at 10:41 am | Posted in Kids and reading, Publishing your story, Puppets, Writing | 1 Comment
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After self-publishing a children’s book we know the struggles and hard work a writer has to go through to make their book come to life. We made the Undercover Kids come to life by creating puppets, but often books are turned into movies or television shows. Here at the Exciting Read Publishing group we are always so excited when we get the chance to speak to authors and hear their stories. Last year, we were luck enough to speak to author Jeff Kinney at the 2009 National Book Festival in Washington, DC. Kinney wrote the very popular book  “Diary of a Wimpy Kid.” Jeff’s book was made into a movie and it comes out this Friday. It looks like a lot of fun. We would like to thank Jeff for speaking with us and say good luck with the movie. Did you read “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” and will you be checking out the movie?

Use your imagination to create your own an Undercover Kid Play

January 28, 2010 at 3:26 pm | Posted in Education, Kids and reading, Mystery books, Publishing your story, Puppets, Writing | Leave a comment
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Did you like to act? When I was younger, I loved to act out plays and create my own  characters in those plays. Once we created the Undercover Kid’s puppet show and started taking it around to schools, I started to notice what a great play this book would make. There’s adventure, comedy and suspense all these things make for an exciting play. (It would be really funny to see Cooper running around on stage). What if the Undercover Kids ended up on Broadway? I’m getting ahead of myself. But I could definitely see the Undercover Kids on Stage.

Do you think that you could write your own play involving the Undercover Kids? What would happen? Where would they go? Would you be in the play too? Write your own play (it could even be a page), then act it out for your friends and family. Post it on YouTube with your parent’s permission and maybe you will become an internet star!

The Undercover Kids Journey Continues: Alden Place Elementary

November 9, 2009 at 4:23 pm | Posted in Education, Educators, Kids and reading, Librarians, Mystery books, Parent Teacher Groups, Parents, Puppets, Writing | Leave a comment
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The Undercover Kids have now performed at three schools and we are practically pros. Last week we visited Alden Place Elementary with Gloria and The Undercover Kids  (Katie, Jake and of course Cooper). The performances went well. But while we were at the school, I couldn’t help but think about how whirlwind these past couple of months have been. As I started looking back towards our past, I couldn’t believe how far we’ve come. Two months ago we didn’t have our puppets or even a script and now as almost through magic we have managed to visit three schools and provide a show for children. I think this is a testament to how hard work can pay off and if you put your mind to it you can accomplish anything. Another thing that surprises me about our performances is the reactions from the kids. So far, every school has been different. Some groups are rowdy and some are more reserved, but they are always full of curiosity. For example the children really enjoy interacting with Gloria (Katie and Jake too!) and asking her questions. My favorite question and answer interaction between Gloria and a student would have to be when a young boy from Alden Place asked Gloria if she could write a book about a car and when Gloria said sure what kind of car, The boy replied, “A 1969 Ford Mustang.” As funny as that response was it really made me think that kids really know what they want and we really have to listen to them. We will have to keep that in mind for any future performances we have in the future. Until next time!

Katie, Jake and Cooper Break a Leg!

October 13, 2009 at 4:56 pm | Posted in Education, Educators, Kids and reading, Librarians, Mystery books, Publishing your story, Puppets, Writing | Leave a comment
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Last week The Undercover Kids took one of their most exciting journeys yet. This time, they didn’t travel to any exotic locations, but stayed right in their own backyard in Port Jervis, NY. Well, to the Anna S. Kuhl Elementary School in Port Jervis to be exact. Katie, Jake, Cooper and Gloria Smith Zawaski (their creator) made a presentation to 1,000 children at the school ranging from kindergarten students all the way up to sixth graders. The presentation touched on important subjects such as: literacy, how to develop characters for a story and using your imagination. The presentation was fun and the best part about it is that the children really seemed to enjoy it. Check out some sneak peeks of the presentation here, and tell us what you think! Do you think that The Undercover Kids were a success?

The Undercover Kids’ puppets come alive

August 28, 2009 at 5:11 pm | Posted in Community groups, Educators, Kids and reading, Mystery books, Parents, Puppets | 1 Comment
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The Puppet Kitchen puppeteers create Jake.

The Puppet Kitchen puppeteers create Jake.

In order to engage kids we are sending author GloriJake front view 2a Smith Zawaski to visit schools with her new puppet friends….Jake, Katie and their dog Cooper.

Gloria created Jake (Katie and Cooper) in her new book The Undercover Kids’ Holland Adventure. The wonderful folks at The Puppet Kitchen are making The Undercover Kids jump off the pages of Gloria’s book and on to the stage as “live” puppets.

“Here are a bunch of photos of Jake – we’ve started with him,” say Emily DeDeCola, one of the principles at The Puppet Kitchen in New York. Jake side view

“I think the little guy is pretty cute, although clearly, he has no arms,” continues Emily.

According to puppet group, Jake’s arms are coming next week and they plan to fatten him up. (I wonder if we will have to put him on a puppet diet?)

Share pictures of your favorite puppets. And visit often, as we post updates on the creation of The Undercover Kids.

3 puppeteers make a pitch to create The Undercover Kids

August 12, 2009 at 11:29 am | Posted in about life, Community groups, Kids and reading, Mystery books, Puppets | Leave a comment
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The Puppet Kitchen puppeteers I met three wonderful puppeteers today…Emily DeCola, Michael Schupback and Eric Wright. They call themselves The Puppet Kitchen. They were passionate in their belief that they have the abilities to bring  Katie, Jake and Cooper to life so that the kids will identify with them. Just as author Gloria Smith Zawaski and illustrator Karen Connelly brought Katie, Jake and Cooper to life in book “The Trunk in the Attic.”

 The puppeteers realize that it is their responsibility to create characters with personalities that the kids will readily identify with. And it is my team’s job to develop a script that gets the kids involved.

For those who have read the book, I would love to know what you think Katie and Jake should look like. What clothes do you think they would wear? Let me know, and we will try to incorporate your ideas into the newly created puppets.

I have given the three puppeteers a budget and am now waiting in a coffee shop around the corner from their studio to see whether they agree to be Katie, Jake and Cooper’s creators. They are in a pow wow in their studio trying to figure out if they can do the project  for the budget I quoted.

They told me that as a relatively new company (They are a year old.), housed in a moderately sized studio with limited overhead, they can offer more reasonably priced project costs than other shops in the region. But they also told me that the budget I quoted was on the low end of the spectrum.

I told them I would give them the project if they could give me an answer today. And that is why I am waiting in a coffee shop on Avenue B and 4th Street.

Whether they say “yes” or “ no” I have learned more about the world of puppets than I knew before coming down to Manhattan.

Here they come… Emily is smiling but Michael is more reserved. “We want to do your project, but I need some clarification on some issues,” says Michael.

I knew then that the Puppet Kitchen puppeteers were going to be the creators of The Undercover Kids. And let the adventure begin.

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