Monday, July 08, 2013

Sidekicked-- Guest Post by John David Anderson

Take a look at the picture below. If that's not a middle grade author, then I don't know my stuff. To kick off the Sidekicked blog tour we have an interview AND a U.S. only giveaway. To enter the giveaway, please leave a comment below. Winners are chosen very scientifically by Members of Staff (aka my teenage children who are devoting their summers to sleeping.).

Please welcome Mr. Anderson, the author of Sidekicked, who has some insights, as well as haiku, for us today. 

PictureWhy is it that when you are forced to do something it is never as much fun than if you had chosen to do it yourself? I remember not enjoying writing much in grade school, in part because I was often told what to write and also because my handwriting was deplorable and I would always get marked down for legibility. (Thankfully in high school I got a Brother typewriter/word processor, the kind that saved to those 3.5 inch floppy disks that conquering extraterrestrials will no doubt dig up from a cave in some future century and puzzle over.) My rather lackluster junior career as a writer carried on clear through high school, in fact. I never wrote for the school newspaper. My essays on "The Theme of Redemption and Retribution in Piece of Literature I Was Forced to Read Most Recently" were finished on the bus on the way to school and usually earned an A-, but they incited no real love of the craft.
And then there was the school literary journal. Ours was called Etchings in Thought. We were all encouraged to submit, so I did.
And nothing. They didn't even send a rejection letter. I was devastated, of course, and vowed from that moment on that the student editors of Etchings would rue the day they decided not to publish "Ode to the Lunch Lady"! Oh yes, I would show them! I would grow up and win the Nobel Prize for Previously Unpublished High-School Poetry, and then they would be sorry! Bwaaaa-haaaa-haaaa-haaaa, cough, choke, ahem.
Actually, it didn't bother me in the slightest. Even at that age I was still planning on growing up to be Indiana Jones. And my poetry really did stink. It would still be a couple of years before I got serious about writing, and then it would be several more before anyone else realized I was serious about it.
Thinking about these things got me wondering, though, what the characters of Sidekicked might write if they were forced to submit to their school's literary journal.
The answer, of course, is haiku. Note: You might enjoy these more after you've read the book.
Selections from the Highview Middle School Literary Journal, Voices From on High
Note: Participation and publication in the journal is mandatory; actual literary merit is not a prerequisite. For that reason the majority of Highview students choose to write haiku to fulfill their required number of submitted poems—not because they are any good at writing haiku. Just because they can at least count to seven.
From your Voices editor, Rebecca Feldmen—the only student who apparently knows what a sonnet looks like.

Hanging by a thread,
Holding my breath regardless.
Tuesdays are the worst.
                - Andrew Bean
Poor frizzy kitten
Only wanted to pet you
                - Michael Vanderbolt
I am a demigod.
Hercules weeps in envy.
Just look at my pecs.
                - Gavin McAllister
Beyond right and wrong
There's only worth it or not­­—
Totally worth it.
                - Jenna Jaden
Sloppy Joes suck.
That's only four syllables.
Poetry blows.
                - Andrew Bean
Momma always said,
Too many fish in the sea
And you are the bait.
                - Nikki Walters
Cute little gerbil
I just wanted to touch you
The smell of fried fur
                - Michael Vanderbolt
On the news last night,
Somebody else's savior.
Still hard to believe
                - Andrew Bean
I can see your words
I know what you are thinking:
That deaf boy is hot.
                - Eric Chang
Great expectations.
Tired of looking at myself
looking at others
                - Jenna Jaden
I am the tiger
Stalking, waiting, silent, sure.
And you are my prey
                - Eric Chang
Fell off my skateboard
Because somebody's stupid
And didn't hang on
                - Michael Vanderbolt

John David Anderson
Author of the book SIDEKICKED
Sucks at poetry

You can find out more at or on Facebook at JohnDavidAndersonAuthor.


  1. This book is on my son's summer reading list!

  2. I think I would enjoy the haiku much more after reading Sidekicks, but I saw a glimmer of what it might be in those poetic words! (I taught middle school for many years!) Congratulations on the book!

  3. I'm definitely going to read this one. I love to laugh and this post made me laugh, so I imagine the book will do the same. Thanks for the review.

  4. "The smell of fried fur." That's hilarious. And a little scary. And totally makes me want to read the book to find out what exactly Michael Vanderbolt is doing.

  5. I like the one lamenting only four syllables.

    Brings back days of a classroom full of young Texans absolutely mystified by our teacher and the dictionary insisting fire (fi-yure) was only one syllable.

  6. Oh my, what a hysterical photo. I am beginning to see where the originality came from when John wrote Sidekicked. Great job!

  7. I can't wait to add Sidekicks to my middle grade collection! Also, it sounds like Michael may have a problem with furry animals, or electricity!

  8. This one sounds like so much fun, I've been anxiously awaiting its release for months! :)

  9. It sounds like a fun book to read!