Saturday, July 8, 2017

Saturday Start: Marvin Terban Does Funny

Marvin Terban is a popular children’s book author and veteran teacher. Called “a master of children’s wordplay” by ALA Booklist and “Mr. English for Kids” by the Children’s Book-of-the-Month Club, he has written thirty-eight best-selling books about the English language. Three of them have sold more than one million copies each. He is also Scholastic’s “Professor Grammar.” A long-time member of SCBWI, he was voted Member of the Year in 2005. Known for his lively, informative, and fun presentations, he is a popular speaker at conferences across the United States and abroad.

Three minutes in, and the laughs keep piling up - joke after joke after joke.

Like the one about the guy who wrote the Hokey Pokey song, who recently passed away. And how his last words were "is that really what it's all about?" And then how they had such a hard time putting his body in the coffin… "They put his right foot in, and then it went right out again!"

And then Marvin hits us with research, and facts, and insights about how humor is so crucial in our lives – in medicine, in education, in entertainment, and especially in the books we create for kids and teens.

Citing a study on kids and reading, Marvin tells us that the number one thing kids want is the ability to choose their own books. The number two thing they want? "I look for books that make me laugh."

He breaks down some examples of juxtaposing humor and tragedy (including Shakespeare and Saturday Night Live after 9/11)

And Marvin shares quotes and tips and stories about the inspirational power of humor. A few highlights:

"The secret source of humor is not joy, but sorrow." - Mark Twain

Do you have to be a naturally funny person to produce funny work? No.

Humor helps your characters deal with situations in their lives.

and one more from Marvin,

"Humor definitely sells."

A great, rollicking keynote!

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