I still remember the excitement I felt as a child, fidgeting in my seat in the school’s multipurpose room, eagerly awaiting the start of an assembly. Who would our special guest be? A mesmerizing magician? A juggling clown? An Olympic athlete or world traveler?
Five decades later, I feel a similar anticipation when I walk into a school auditorium, but now I’m honored to be the special guest. I take that role seriously. I try my best to motivate, educate and entertain my young audience, hoping each child will walk out of that room with a smile on his or her face, feeling inspired and empowered.
Later, when a parent asks, “So what did you learn at school today?” I hope that child will light up and say, “That I can be anything I set my mind to be!” Maybe even an author.
My latest book for children, Construction Cat, was published by Simon and Schuster’s Margaret K. McElderry Books on Oct. 9, 2018. Mama Cat runs the construction site while Daddy stays home with the kittens. (Take that, stereotypes!) Adorable illustrations by Sydney Hanson!
Available now. Click here to order.
Feeling awestruck over this bit of paper discovered in a box in my parents’ garage—and wishing I could give my mom a very big hug right now.
How did she know the receipt from my very first skateboard would have so much meaning 45 years later? (And did she hide the receipt so I wouldn’t find out that it was my parents, not Santa, who got me that Hobie Super Surfer in 1972?)
THRILLED to report that Simon & Schuster’s prestigious Margaret K. McElderry Books will be publishing my latest book, CONSTRUCTION CAT, about a mama cat construction worker (dad stays home with the kittens).
I haven’t found out yet who the illustrator will be for the project, but I’m sure my editor, S&S Vice President Karen Wojtyla, will choose a great one. S&S/McElderry is the publisher of my past two books, Smash! Mash! Crash! There Goes The Trash! and A Crazy Day At The Critter Cafe, and it’s very exciting to add a third book to my list there!
Check out my author page at Simon & Schuster here: http://authors.simonandschuster.com/Barbara-Odanaka/17802110
After AARP produced a video on us that garnered a combined 4 million views on Facebook and YouTube, they decided it was time to follow up with a piece in AARP Magazine, which has the highest circulation of any magazine in the U.S.
Here’s me, trying to look casual while skating with a broken wrist, with some of the Sisters of Shred. Cheering, from left: Stevie Jangard, Theresa McCabe, Amy Bradshaw, Tamra Bowman, Claudia Hoag and Eva Armanto (broken wrist under her cast).
Photo: Gregg Segal for AARP Magazine.
I started skateboarding on Christmas Day, 1971, when Santa brought me the Hobie Super Surfer. Though equipped with treacherous clay wheels, the board itself was the coolest board of its time. My girlfriends and I all got skateboards that Christmas, and soon we were learning to push, carve and tic-tack around our neighborhood.
Like most skateboarders, we were super stoked when urethane wheels came out. The wheels were both silky smooth and grippy, an awesome combination for surfing the paved waves.
In sixth grade woodshop, I made several skateboards, all out of ash. (I think that’s why I chose ash…
Children’s book author, literacy advocate, over-the-hill skateboarder, ex Los Angeles Times.