My Life as a Book

My Life as a Book

By Janet Tashjian; Jake Tashjian (Illustrator)

Christy Ottaviano Books-Henry Holt and Compan, Hardcover, 9780805089035, 211pp.

Publication Date: July 6, 2010


Summer's finally here, and Derek Fallon is looking forward to pelting the UPS truck with water balloons, climbing onto the garage roof, and conducting silly investigations. But when his parents decide to send him to Learning Camp, Derek's dreams of fun come to an end. Ever since he's been labeled a "reluctant reader," his mom has pushed him to read "real" books-something other than his beloved Calvin & Hobbes.
As Derek forges unexpected friendships and uncovers a family secret involving himself (in diapers no less), he realizes that adventures and surprises are around the corner, complete with curve balls. "My Life as a Book" is a 2011 Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year.

About the Author
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.

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.

Praise For My Life as a Book

“This book is visually appealing to reluctant readers and shows that all kinds of stories can surprise us.”Chicago Tribune


“Janet Tashjian, known for her young adult books, offers a novel that’s part Diary of a Wimpy Kid (2007), part intriguing mystery; yet the best element here is really the first-person voice, which captures so completely the pushes and pulls in the life of someone with learning disabilities . . . . Give this to kids who think they don’t like reading. It might change their minds.” –Starred, Booklist

“Amusing stick figures accompany Derek’s narration, dutifully following his teacher’s suggestion of animating any difficult vocabulary word.” –Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

“Sure to engage fans of Jeff Kinney’s “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” books (Abrams) as well as those looking for a spunky, contemporary boy with a mystery to solve.” –School Library Journal

"[The] illustrations, drawn by Tashjian's 14-year-old son, Jake, are quite clever." -Publishers Weekly


“A kinder, gentler Wimpy Kid with all the fun and more plot.” —Starred, Kirkus Reviews

My Life as a Book is a fabulous, fast-paced choice for reluctant and avid readers alike.” —BookPage

“Cartoon drawings by the author's teenaged son decorate the margins and not only re-create Derek's illustrated vocabulary lists but also reduce the amount of text on each page, making the book more approachable for kids like Derek. Derek tells readers, "If my life were a book, I'd have my own cool adventures." It is, and he does.” –Horn Book