Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Metafiction in children's books

If you haven't heard of metafiction, here are some links to inform you. I think I've been a fan of it before it even "was."  Some say the complex nature of plots, and the blurring of fiction and reality is too hard for children to understand and that you never can get to a full comprehension.  I personally think this genre is pretty cool.  In the picture book world, it is influencing what is called the "postmodern picturebook." It brings the reader into a relationship with the characters, making it a more active and entertaining process. 

There's a link HERE for a few more examples. 

I think that's why The Monster at the End of this Book was always a favorite.  It broke the rules of convention having the narrator talk to the reader. 

There's a new book out by Jon Scieska called "Battle Bunny" that follows the rules (or nonrules) of metafiction. There is witing on the pages, things added to an old nice story by the same kid a few years after he got the book, and is older.  Really creative!

I'd love to hear what you think...  


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The Mystery Box

After reading "S" by JJ Abrams this spring, I'm obsessed with his creativity.  My brother told me to check out JJ Abrams TED talk about the Mystery Box.  It explains a lot about his fascination with deconstructing things, playing with paper, his use of technology or going oldschool with his special effects and how The Mystery Box is woven through his work and career.  Really, really interesting ideas about suspense, mystery and the importance of creativity!


Monday, March 10, 2014

Metafiction as a genre

I recently read "S" by J.J. Abrams (who wrote Lost, Alias, Mission Impossible 3, and so on...) which breaks all the rules of conventional fiction books.  There is writing in the margins, multiple story lines, hidden codes, and layers upon layers.  It asks a lot from the reader.  It is considered a metafiction, a new genre that is hitting the literary and children's book world. 

If you can't figure out how to read "S," then go to this blog which gives an overview. It was really helpful to me as I learned how to go about reading it. 

It's really fun to talk to others about how they chose to read the book.  It reminded me of the "Choose Your Own Adventure" books where the reader could experience a different story than another reader with the same book.  Keep your eyes on this genre...it's up and coming!

There's also a website at http://whoisstraka.wordpress.com/  that breaks down all the conspiracy theories within the book.  I missed half of them (like the one about the monkeys) so check it out after you get started.


Tuesday, February 4, 2014


If you haven't read "S" by JJ Abrams, you've got to!  It's a publishing masterpiece!  The actual book was made to look like an old library book which two graduate students pass back and forth writing in the margins trying to solve a mystery of the fictional author.  There are codes, inserts, things stuck in the pages...the book even smells old with some pages with tear-stains.  There is no one way to read it.  I chose to only read the margins but even that has a system.

When my friends and I read it, half our discussion was "How did you read it?" which is really exciting to think about.  Each reader approaches it differently.  The multiple plot lines are great too (as would be expected from the creator of Lost) but I really enjoyed the actual physical book the most.  A great example of meta-fiction as an emerging genre!