Guys Write for Guys Read: Boys' Favorite Authors Write about Being Boys

Guys Write for Guys Read: Boys' Favorite Authors Write about Being Boys

by Jon Scieszka


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780670011445
Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date: 04/10/2008
Series: Guys Read Series
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 196,536
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.73(d)
Lexile: 920L (what's this?)
Age Range: 11 - 14 Years

About the Author

Multiple award-winning author Jon Scieszka grew up in Flint, Michigan, the second oldest and the nicest of six boys. Jon went to school at Culver Military Academy in Indiana where he was a Lieutenant; Albion College in Michigan where he studied to be a doctor; and Columbia University in New York, where he received an M.F.A. in fiction. He taught elementary school in New York for ten years in a variety of positions. He is the author of many books for children including the New York Times Best Illustrated Book The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales (illustrated by Lane Smith), the Caldecott Honor book The True Story of the Three Little Pigs (illustrated by Lane Smith), and Math Curse (illustrated by Lane Smith).  In addition to his work as an author, Jon also runs a web-based literacy program called “Guys Read” that is designed to encourage boys, particularly reluctant readers, to get involved with books. In 2008, Jon was named the country’s first National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, a joint effort of the Library of Congress and the Children’s Book Council. During his two-year role as Ambassador, he acted as a spokesperson for children’s literature, speaking to groups of parents, teachers, and children to encourage the importance of reading. You can visit Jon online at

Read an Excerpt


Hey guys—now here is something for you to read. A bunch of pieces by a bunch of guys . . . all about being a guy. Some are memories. Some are stories. Some are just pieces of art these guys drew when they were your age.

So look around in here for something you like. You don’t have to read in any order. You don’t have to like everything you read. You don’t even have to read everything. But you do have to complete the quiz at the end of each section, and write an essay on each about—

Just kidding.

That’s exactly what this collection is not. It is not required reading. It’s reading to find what you like. And I know you are going to find something in here, because these things are funny, action-packed, sad, goofy, gross, touching, stupid, true, and all very short.

Thanks to all of the guys who donated their thoughts about being a guy to this anthology. All the money from this work goes to support my nonprofit literacy program called Guys Read.

And it built the new Web site at

Check it out.

Find what you like.

Jon Scieszka

Brooklyn, New York


Robert Siegel

The Day I Threw the Trivia Bowl

I have a confession to make: I threw the Trivia Bowl.

The year was 1988. The place, eleventh grade.

In 1988, as an academically advanced (read: geeky) sixteen-year-old, my primary objective in life was the maintenance of my low profile among classmates. I did not want to stick out in any way, especially for anything that had even the faintest whiff of dorkery.

Problem was, I happened to be the captain of a formidable four-man Trivia Bowl team that was to represent the school at the countywide Trivia Bowl competition. For a boy prone to nightmares of academic achievement–related mockery, this was not good.

The night before the Trivia Bowl, I was freaking. I imagined that if we won, they would proudly announce it over the intercom to the entire school during homeroom. This is what they did whenever someone did something notable. I imagined all the kids pointing and laughing at the trivia dork. This prospect terrified me beyond words.

And yet, another part of me desperately wanted to win the Trivia Bowl. I loved trivia and, even more, I loved winning at stuff. It was a terrible dilemma.

The day of the competition comes. We burst out of the gate strongly. What is the capital of Nepal? Kathmandu. What is the largest animal that has ever lived? The blue whale. By the end of the first round, we were in second place and, thanks to a furious late run, had momentum squarely on our side. I was excited, but all the while in the back of my mind, I was imagining that dreaded homeroom announcement.

Things go even better (or worse) in Round Two. We take the lead. As the competition heads toward the finish, it becomes clear that it’s a two-team race. Us versus our hated rivals from Massapequa. We go back and forth, trading blows like Foreman and Ali.

It all comes down to one question. If we get it right, we win; if we miss, they have the chance to answer for the win.

“Who shot Robert F. Kennedy?”

Uh-oh. I know it.

No one else on my team knows. They all look at me expectantly. I am well-known amongst them as the assassination expert. They assume I will blurt out the answer, which, of course, is Sirhan B. Sirhan. I hem and haw. What’s going on? they are clearly wondering. Rob doesn’t know? After what seems like an eternity, I give my answer:

“Jack Ruby?”

“I’m sorry, that’s not correct.”

Massapequa pounces and gets it right. My teammates and I watch as they hold aloft the 1988 Trivia Bowl trophy in sweet victory.

The whole ride home, I wrestled with my decision to blow the Trivia Bowl. I felt terrible about what I did, but at least I would avoid homeroom humiliation. Right?

Wrong. The next morning in homeroom:

“Congratulations to eleventh-graders Robert Siegel, Mark Roth, Adam Frankel, and Dan Eckert for their valiant effort yesterday in the countywide Trivia Bowl competition, in which they placed second.”

Not only was I a dork, I was a losing dork.

The moral of the story is, if you’re ever in a Trivia Bowl, don’t throw it. Either way, they’re gonna announce it in homeroom, so you might as well win.


Grew up: Merrick, New York (Long Island)

Now lives: Manhattan

Random fact: Has never burped

Occupation: Former Editor in Chief of The Onion

Selected Bibliography:

Our Dumb Century: “The Onion” Presents 100 Years of Head-lines from American’s

Finest News Source with The Onion, Inc.

Dispatches from the Tenth Circle: The Best of “The Onion” with The Onion, Inc.

“The Onion” Ad Nauseam news archives with The Onion, Inc.


Excerpted from "Guys Write for Guys Read"
by .
Copyright © 2008 Jon Scieszka.
Excerpted by permission of Penguin Young Readers Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

Scieszka has put together a diverse and fast-paced anthology of scribblings and stories that deserves a permanent place in any collection serving middle graders. The book features brief contributions from scores of heavyweight authors and illustrators….[T]here’s something undeniably grand about this collective celebration of the intellectual life of the common boy. —School Library Journal, starred review

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

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Guys Write for Guys Read: Boys' Favorite Authors Write about Being Boys 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
Jennanana on LibraryThing 7 months ago
I was excited to read this because of Jon Scieszka, but I was a little disappointed. The stories were all based on older men from when they were boys and the stories and interests were a little outdated. Anthology of stories, illustrations and photos by and about famous authors, or guys in general.
ewyatt on LibraryThing 7 months ago
Directed toward boys, this selection of short pieces by notable kids and young adult authors and illustrators is a mixed bag. Some of the writing retells funny stories about growing up from the writers' lives, some are about learning to love reading or drawing, and some are about what it means to be a guy. Young readers could read a page or two here or there and with the brief bibliography from each contributor could get to lots and lots of good stuff. This quote struck me from Michael W. Smith's piece, "The point is simply this: If somebody tells you that reading is something you do by yourself, tell them they're wrong." (233)
mmpvppl on LibraryThing 7 months ago
If you are younger than 6th grade, this book isn't for you. It might be nice to read it with a parent. It's a great resource to find authors that you might like to read. Lots of choices. An excerpt from various authors/illustrators. As a mom of 2 boys, I will use it as a resource for years to come.
sexy_librarian on LibraryThing 7 months ago
In this collection of stories, essays, and other stuff, guys will find inspiration from some of their favorite writers/cartoonists/whatever. Chalk full of advice and humorous quips, it is no surprise that this collection will not just be enjoyed by guys. There is much in this book to love, even the essay about what guys do (burp, yell, scratch etc). The short entries make it easy to pick up and put down on a whim, and there is no reason to finish it all in one go, unless of course you just can't stop turning the pages.
josier80 on LibraryThing 7 months ago
I thought the idea of having male authors write for boys is a great idea, but I'm not sure if it would really pull in reluctant readers. A)It's pretty long. B) Some of the stories seem dated. C) Its not real easy to pick which stories you might want to read because they are not really broken up into any particular order. I did however really like the mix of writing styles, illustrations, and the cool info about the authors at the end of each story.
Joshua_da_Bae More than 1 year ago
This book was very wonderful. It showed a lot of similarities to my childhood right now since I am a guy. I have had a fair share of these issues in my childhood from long time ago until now. This book showed so many things to me about how I am not facing my own unique problems but somewhere out there more than 5 authors face similar issues just like me. This book is very unique and I loved this book, I love how each and every author has their own perspective and their own problem. This book is also pretty funny and I like how they switch authors and how they came up with a brilliant idea to choose these specific authors. Some of these authors I know and some I don't know. The authors that I do know tell some problems that I can relate a lot to their other stories. So I would rate this book a 5/5 and I really like this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guys Read by Jon Scieszka is about multiple authors retelling their childhood memories. These collections of memoirs are funny and also suspenseful. For example, one character was about to hit a ramp, and the reader has to going to imagine what happens next. I enjoyed this book because the plot changes constantly. It also teaches us lessons, but you have to find out what the lessons are. I would recommend this book to teenage boys eleven and up because there are small swear words that don’t really affect the story. Famous authors are in this book include: Stephen King, Gary Paulsen, Gordon Korman, Andy Griffiths, and Rich Wallace. Famous Illustrators are in this book also include Matt Groening who created the Simpsons and Futurama, Dave and Liam McKean.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Stories, stories, and even more stories of guys just being guys. Either young or old, short or tall, skinny or fat, guys do similar things in life. There are 69 authors in the book Guys Write for Guys Read. This book is about author’s lives when they were young.  This book mostly talks about an event that happened to them to change their perspective on life. The stories in the book share a similar tone making the book, overall, humorous. Guys Write for Guys read is the book for young guys who just want to be guys. I enjoyed this book because it was a funny and entertaining book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sonja72 More than 1 year ago
I purchased this book for my 12 year old son for Christmas. After reading so many favorable reviews, I knew I had to give it a try in order to motivate my son in reading. It worked!!!! After reading each story, he shares the tales with my husband and I with such enthusiasm. I wish there was a 2nd book to continue.
ACLibraryAide More than 1 year ago
Scieszka founded the Guys Read initiative ( encourage boys to read and to help them find good books. This compilation of vignettes introduces the reader to nearly 100 authors and illustrators - it's like a book catalog with samples. The contributors share stories from their youth that are relate-able,touching, and often laugh-out-loud funny. Stephen King, Mo Willems, Jerry Spinelli, Gary Paulson, Dav Pilkey, David Shannon, and Scieszka himself are just a few of the excellent authors/illustrators included here. They write about being a 'guys' guy', and about discovering it's OK to not be a 'guys' guy"; the relationship between father and son; how childhood doodling led to careers as illustrators; the stupid, dangerous, irresistible things kids do; and much more. Working in an elementary school library, this book is - and will continue to be - an excellent tool for me in finding and recommending authors to my male students (and female, as many of these authors appeal to both).
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book has stories that are short, perfect for kids, and can entertain even adults!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Boys don't get encouraged to read funny, gross, imaginitive content in school. Maybe that's why boys don't read. It was fun to hear descriptions of a boy's life. My boys 'ate it up'
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love to read anyway. Come on guys, we can't just have the girls reading and not us. They have all this stuff for girls and nothing for guys! So u should take advantage of this book and read it now. Before they come out with another stupid book about girls.