On Creating Children’s Books from Life

It’s off to school they go. The bus stops at our driveway at exactly 7:58am each school day. Today it arrived at 7:57am. “Bus,” Lucas yelled as he grabbed his coat and knapsack. Abigail raced down the stairs, fuzzy vest in hand. I opened the front door. They were out, just in time.

There is no participation trophy. You can’t simply show up on time and expect a ride, not from this driver. The kids have taken to calling this bus driver, “Eli The Evil.” They don’t know his actual name. “Why don’t you ask him?” “Because we wouldn’t understand him anyway. He mumbles and is always a grump.”

Always? He’s a grump every day? Come on. “Yes, Mama. Even when he says good morning, it sounds like he’s complaining.” If I had to drive a bunch of kids anywhere I’d be grumpy, too. “Listen,” I tell the beans, “you’ve got to kill him with kindness. Be over-the-top nice. When he grumbles and mumbles ‘good morning,’ you respond, ‘Why, yes, it is. Aren’t you just marvelous for pointing that out. A very good morning to you, Sir!”

“He’s going to think we’re aliens,” Lucas says, then laughs. “Nice aliens,” I say, mussing his hair. Only, none of this can happen because as soon as Evil Eli saw my kids running to his bus, he closed the door and drove away! “My God,” I say, “He really is evil.” Poor Eli. Abigail tells me I should write a children’s book about winning over Evil Eli. Including all the ways we try and fail to fill him with good cheer. “In the end,” I tell her, “we won’t manage to win him over. That would be too simple. Instead, we’ll create our own fun, because at least that we can control.” “Hmm,” she says, “aren’t you just marvelous for pointing that out.”

School Bus Boarding


  1. Have you changed your blog layout? Just a heads up that this post was difficult to follow: it was broken up by the illustrated headers so it wasn’t clear which paragraph was next in the sequence.

    1. Author

      Thanks for the feedback. I *think* I just fixed it. I have updated the site recently and have been experimenting with different formats. Thanks for letting me know; I really appreciate it!

      1. It’s much clearer now. Always glad to catch a post from you, regardless of small layout issues!

  2. I haven’t said anything before, Stephanie, but am going to chime in now since the subject was raised. The new layout/s really are not an improvement. They’re more difficult to follow. In fact, because of that, sometimes I don’t even bother reading. Please consider returning to the old format.

    1. Author

      Thanks Carole for letting me know! I didn’t realize. From now on the posts will be in the original format. It’s a big help to hear this information… it’s like a live focus group!

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