The Children’s Book Review | March 27, 2014
Janet Tashjian Interviews Jake Tashjian
What is it like collaborating on books with your wildly talented mother, the author Janet Tashjian?
Jake – Who? Oh, you mean my mom? It’s kind of great – where else can you go to work where your colleague does your laundry and makes you dinner?
Janet – That sounds awfully sexist, Jake.
Jake – I was going for the joke, Mom.
If you could change one thing about your amazing mother, what would it be?
Jake – Where do I start….Well, for one thing, she’s obsessed with old-fashioned typewriters. They’re all over the house. She even has a typewriter app on her computer so it clacks like a typewriter when she’s on her laptop like the rest of us in the 21st century. Totally annoying.
What kind of book would you like to illustrate next that your incredibly accommodating mother could write?
Jake – What does accommodating mean again? Never mind, I just looked through my illustrations to find the definition. I want to do a book about circus-clown gangsters called The Clownfather and I also want to do a book about Hillbilly Aliens. My mom’s not as sold on the ideas as I am.
Janet – Our editor says alien books aren’t selling well.
Jake – But how are hillbilly books doing? Clown books? I’m very flexible.
Jake Tashjian Interviews Janet Tashjian
When are you going to give me some fun words to illustrate like tetrahedrane or floccinaucinihilpilfication?
Janet – Consider it done. I look forward to seeing your wacky pictures of both words, which I will look up immediately and try to work into the text of our next book.
Jake – Rut-ro.
Two-part question – What are your favorite ways to procrastinate and are they as good as mine?
Janet – I could NEVER compete with the inventive ways you procrastinate, Jake. Watching you alphabetize your Looney Tunes collection and color code over a hundred Pentel markers was quite enjoyable. Lining up and counting all my mascaras, baking a chocolate soufflé from scratch, and finding the tiny puncture hole in the inflatable pool raft seem boring by comparison.
Jake – So you’re saying that watching ME procrastinate is your favorite way to procrastinate?
Janet – Exactly. I feel a tiny bit less guilty than procrastinating on my own.
Can you give me a heads-up for what book comes after MY LIFE AS A NINJA?
Janet – Yes, the next in the series is called MY LIFE AS A YOUTUBER, which sends kids into a frenzy whenever I mention it on a school visit. But be prepared, this means we’re going to have to watch A LOT of videos.
Jake – YAY!
Janet – I don’t know much about the plot yet, but tetrahedrane and floccinaucinihilpilfication will definitely be involved.
Jake – Thank you.
Janet – You’re welcome.
My Life as a Ninja
Written by Janet Tashjian
Illustrated by Jake Tashjian
Publisher’s Synopsis: Book 6 in the bestselling My Life series!
Derek Fallon has expanded his taste in cartoons to the world of manga and anime. Together with his friends Carly, Matt, and Umberto, Derek has fun learning about all the cool aspects of ninja culture. When someone starts vandalizing their school with graffiti of a mischievous troll-like figure, these ninjas-in-training are convinced they’ll be able to crack the case. But it turns out that being a ninja is a lot more work than they thought, and this adventure brings about new opportunities for Derek to embarrass himself. For once, can he be the hero that saves the day?
Ages 8-12 | Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. | April 11, 2017 | ISBN-13: 978-1627798891
About Janet Tashjian
Janet Tashjian is a middle-grade and young adult novelist who’s been writing books for children for fifteen years. Her first novel ‘Tru Confessions’ was made into a critically acclaimed Disney TV movie starring Clara Bryant and Shia LaBeouf. ‘The Gospel According to Larry’ series is a cult favorite and ‘Fault Line’ is taught in many middle and high schools. Her novels ‘My Life As a Book,’ ‘My Life As a Stuntboy,’ and ‘My Life As a Cartoonist’ are all illustrated by her teenage son, Jake. Their collaboration continues with a new series, ‘Einstein the Class Hamster.’
Janet has been doing school visits for fifteen years; you can email her for details.
You can follow her on Twitter and like her books on Facebook, and check out her YouTube Channel.
About Jake Tashjian
Jake Tashjian is a teenage illustrator of middle grade children’s books. He has illustrated My Life As a Book and My Life As a Stuntboy, as well as My Life As a Cartoonist and Einstein the Class Hamster. He collaborates on his novels with his mother, the author Janet Tashjian. He has a video blog entitled Notes From the Panic Room at their My Life as a Book website. He films all of the segments then edits the vlogs in iMovie.
When Jake was in elementary school, he used to draw his vocabulary words on index cards. This later became the inspiration for the main character, Derek, in the My Life As A..series.
Jake grew up in Needham, Massachusetts and currently lives in Los Angeles where he attends Fusion Academy. He is an avid surfer and film aficionado.
Discover more books like “My Life as a Ninja,” written by Janet Tashjian and illustrated by Jake Tashjian, on The Children’s Book Review by following along with our articles tagged with Books About Ninjas, Jake Tashjian, Janet Tashjian, Middle Grade Books, and Mystery.