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Chris Grabenstein

When I talk to kids about my new book THE ISLAND OF DR. LIBRIS, I torture them with a tale of electronics deprivation.
     "My main character, Billy Gillfoyle," I say, "is spending the summer in a cabin on a lake.  There is no cable, no TV, no DVR, no X-Box, no PlayStation 3.  There isn't even an old-fashioned VCR."
     By this point, the kids' gasps become audible.
     "On his first day at the cabin," I continue, "Billy drops his iPhone and it shatters.  The nearest Apple store is several hundred miles away."
     Jaws drop.  The kids are practically weeping – just like my hero, Billy Gillfoyle.  He mopes around the cabin after the demise of his iPhone and ends up in this scene with his mother:
    
  "Billy, what do you think kids did back before video games or TV or even electricity?"
  "I don't know.  Cried a lot?"  He plopped down dramatically on the couch.
  "No, Billy. They read books.  They made up stories and games.  They took nothing and turned it into something."
 
     And that's what happens to Billy in this book:  He learns to start using and trusting his own imagination.
     Characters from books that he reads in Dr. Libris' study start coming to life out on the island in the middle of the lake.   In no time, Hercules, the monster Antaeus, Robin Hood, Maid Marian, The Three Musketeers, D'Artagnan, Pollyanna, and Tom Sawyer are all bumping into each other's stories.  It's up to Billy, with the help of his new friend Walter, and a bookcase filled with classic literature, to "imagine" a scenario that will bring all the conflicts to a tidy resolution. 
     Yep.  In THE ISLAND OF DR. LIBRIS, Billy Gillfoyle is learning how to become a writer.  He puts his characters into situations and conflicts that will, ultimately, take him to the happy ending he, and everybody else, is looking for.
     When all seems lost, he is on the island with his new friends Robin Hood, Maid Marian, and Hercules, despairing that he's not heroic enough to rescue his asthmatic friend Walter from the clutches of the evil Space Lizard (yes, hideous creatures from video games and fairy tales eventually come to life on the island, too.) 
 
  "Ho, lads and lassie!" said Robin Hood.  "All is not lost!  Look you, Sir William – I remember a time when Sir Guy of Gisbourne held me captive in his tower.  Did my band of merry followers let a moat or castle walls stand in their way?"
  "Nay!" said Marian.  "Little John and I didst lead the charge.  Oh, how the arrows did fly that day!"
  "I'm not Little John," Billy said quietly.  "Or you, Maid Marian.  I'm not a hero."  He looked down at Walter's inhaler.  "I'm just a kid who can't even save his own family."
  "Nonsense," said Maid Marian. "Each of us can choose who or what we shall be.  We write our own stories, Sir William.  We write them each and every day."
  "And," added Hercules, "if you write it boldly enough, others will write about you, too."
 
     In my book ESCAPE FROM MR. LEMONCELLO'S LIBRARY, I wanted to make young readers excited about reading and doing research.  I tried to turn a trip to the library into an incredibly fun scavenger hunt, filled with puzzles and surprises.  (In my perpetually twelve-years-old mind, that's what doing research actually is.)
     With THE ISLAND OF DR. LIBRIS, I am hoping to excite young readers about the power and awesomeness of their own imaginations. I want them to take nothing and turn it into something.  To take two old ideas, toss them together, and create something new.
     And, when they write their own stories, maybe some of them will decide they want to become authors, writing stories for the rest of us, too!
     
     
 


Author Bookshelf

The Crossroads

By: Chris Grabenstein

★ “A rip-roaring ghost story.”—Booklist, Starred

Zack, his dad, and new stepmother have just moved back to his father’s hometown, not knowing that their new house has a dark...

The Hanging Hill

By: Chris Grabenstein

From the New York Times bestselling author of Escape From Mr. Lemoncello's Library comes a series of spine-tingling mysteries to keep you up long after the lights go out.
How serious is stage fright? At the Hanging Hill Playhouse,...

The Smoky Corridor

By: Chris Grabenstein

Zack is about to start at his new school, and in addition to homework, school lunches, and bullies, Zack must also contend with a ruthless hit man seeking a lost treasure, a voodoo savvy ghost waiting to take...


The Black Heart Crypt

By: Chris Grabenstein

Halloween is near, the one day of the year when the ghostly plane is close enough to the human plane to allow mischief and mayhem. But the ghosts who have their eye on Zack aren't thinking mischief, they are thinking...

Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library

By: Chris Grabenstein

A New York Times Bestseller

Kyle Keeley is the class clown, popular with most kids, (if not the teachers), and an ardent fan of all games: board games, word games, and particularly video games. His hero, Luigi Lemoncello,...

The Island of Dr. Libris

By: Chris Grabenstein

New from the author of the New York Times bestseller Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library and coauthor of the I Funny series with James Patterson! Celebrate the power of imagination with this action-packed adventure that shows that sometimes...


Mr. Lemoncello's Library Olympics

By: Chris Grabenstein

The much-anticipated, puzzle-packed sequel to the New York Times bestselling, award-winning ESCAPE FROM MR. LEMONCELLO’S LIBRARY!
 
Welcome, boys and girls, readers of all ages, to the first-ever Library Olympiad! Kyle and his teammates are back, and the world-famous game maker, Luigi Lemoncello, is at it again!
 
...



Rolling Thunder

By: Chris Grabenstein

There’s more fireworks down the Jersey shore in Chris Grabenstein’s sixth fast-paced John Ceepak mystery . A prominent citizen suffers a heart attack on opening day of a brand new boardwalk...

Rolling Thunder

By: Chris Grabenstein

There’s more fireworks down the Jersey shore in Chris Grabenstein’s sixth fast-paced John Ceepak mystery . A prominent citizen suffers a heart attack on opening day of a brand new boardwalk...


Fun House

By: Chris Grabenstein

What if a reality TV show like Jersey Shore set up production in the fictional seaside resort Sea Haven? What if hitting the gym, tanning, and doing a little laundry aren’t the only things the contestants...

Fun House

By: Chris Grabenstein

What if a reality TV show like Jersey Shore set up production in the fictional seaside resort Sea Haven? What if hitting the gym, tanning, and doing a little laundry aren’t the only things the contestants...

Free Fall

By: Chris Grabenstein

“I didn’t do it!” is something cops hear all the time. But when the plea comes from a close friend who’s fallen on hard times, it’s tougher to ignore, especially for young...