Welcome to the Guestbook!

I’m always eager to read your comments about my books and stories, so please feel free to pitch in. Here are a few things for you to know:

1) I answer the messages here personally.

2) No message shows up here until I actually answer it to prevent spam and other inappropriate postings. So there will sometimes be a delay before your message posts, especially if I am traveling.

3) Teachers, a gentle request: Please do not have multiple children send me variants of the same message. A group email is much easier to respond to and not such a drain on my time. My thanks in advance for being alert to this.

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931 entries.
Mohammad Nawaz from Edison wrote on May 25, 2021
My name is Mohammad Nawaz, I am 25 years old, and I will be graduating medical school in the United States in a few months from now. I am only telling you this because it has been 16 years since I read my most favorite book of all, Jeremy Thatcher Dragon Hatcher. It was the first book I decided to read of my own volition, and it transformed my life. I cannot emphasize to you how instrumental this book was in getting me to where I am today. After reading Jeremy Thatcher Dragon Hatcher, I just needed more and more and more. I read the next book in the Magic Shop Book series and the next, to the point where my teacher (Mrs. Coscarelli, bless her heart) noticed and bought me the rest of your Magic Shop Book series and secretly handed it to me when the other students weren't looking. Mr. Coville, you sent me headfirst into the magical world of reading and I just could not stop. Heck, I actually had to get prescription eyeglasses because I kept reading so much in the dark; I barely even watched television or used the computer! Reading fantasy fiction novels helped open up my mind to the real world of possibilities and endless adventure, and it encouraged me to keep on dreaming. I felt my writing improve, my critical thinking expand, and my vocabulary get good ;). My early interest in reading helped me perform well on exams and allowed me to always consider multiple solutions to the same problem. All this, only because I decided when I was nine years old to pick up a book that had a cool looking dragon on the cover. I wish to have the same positive impact on my future patients as you have had on me - even just an ounce, and I would consider myself lucky. Actually, as soon as I finish writing this message, I plan on buying and reading the Magic Shop Books to my little niece and nephew, just so I have an excuse to reread them as well haha! I honestly don't know what inspired me to Google your name after all this time, but I'm glad I did because I stumbled upon this website and saw this awesome message board. Stay safe during these trying times, and thank you, sir, for everything.
Reply by Bruce Coville
Dear Mohammad -
Thank you for this amazing and heartwarming letter. I really could not ask for a better affirmation of my work than this. When I remember how much reading meant to me when I was a 9 year old, I get a great thrill out of knowing that my own books have meant that much to some other young reader.
I hope your niece and nephew will enjoy the books, and having you read to them. I think every child should have a "book uncle" or "book aunt"!
And congratulations on completing medical school! I am sure you are on the path to doing much good in the world! You make me proud!

All my best wishes,
Michelle wrote on May 11, 2021
Hello Bruce.
When I was about 10 years old I found Into the Land of Unicorns at my elementary school’s library and loved it. The book was damaged so the librarian taped it up for me and let me keep it. I read Song of the Wanderer shortly after. However, by the time the 3rd and 4th books came out I was a senior in high school/freshmen in college and didn’t even know about them for years. I bought the 3rd book, but I could never find a physical copy of the final book.
However, during the pandemic, I started to listen to audio books, and I finally found all the audio books in the Los Angeles Library’s collections!

I’m so happy to finally get to listen to the 3rd and 4th! I have waited over 20 years to find out how it all ends! Thank you so much for creating the magical world of Luster where I can travel to!
Reply by Bruce Coville
Hi, Michelle -
First off, my apologies for not getting back to you more promptly. The guestbook does get away from me sometimes . . .
I have always felt bad about how long it took me to complete the series, and how frustrating it must have been for me readers. The only thing I can say in my defense is that I wanted to get it right. I can name some very popular series that really let the readers down in the final volume, and I didn't want that to happen.
I'm glad you found the audiobook versions. I love audio as an art form. Doing the third and fourth books with a full cast was a real challenge, because they are so huge. But I love the way they came out. Heck, I re-listened to them myself last year!
Thanks again for this kind note.

All good wishes,
Jason from Washington DC wrote on May 7, 2021
Hi Bruce - I recently bought a house and after finally moving the remainder of my things out of my parents basement I came across my collection of your books that I read with my friends in around 3rd grade, 1991 or so. See below for a picture, I put them on my bookshelf.

I just wanted to say thanks, I can't articulate exactly how your stories influenced me but I do remember reading them excitedly and talking about and trading them with my friends. We even went as far as to write our own version, "My Librarian is an Alien" - a clear case of copyright infringement however we were pretty proud of it, so much so we stayed in from recess to write and "publish" it, and even got it into our school's card catalog. Apologies for never sending royalities, we were hoping that you could look the other way on that 😀 We still talk and mention your books from time to time - none of us became writers or anything like that but your work clearly had an impact on all of us that we discuss it fondly to this day.

I'm keeping the books on my shelf in hopes that I can reread them with my daughter (she's 6 months old this week!) in a few years. But looking at things with her in mind, you were clearly a reason I enjoyed reading as a child, and since reading is so important at that age I will do my best to make sure she can discover all that magic we had so many years ago.

Take care, and thanks again,

Reply by Bruce Coville
Hi, Jason -

First of all, my apologies for being so slow in responding. (Sometimes the guestbook gets away from me!) I loved the picture - and also that your memory was of reading the books with your friends. That was one of my own favorite aspects of reading when I was a kid . . . sharing books with friends who loved them as much as I did.

I got a charge out of your story about working with your friends on "My Librarian is an Alien" (I'm looking in the other direction in the matter of copyright . . . ) I get an even bigger charge out of the fact that you and your friends still think about the books to this day. What more could a writer ask for!?

I hope you will find great joy in reading to your daughter when the time is right. Reading to my own kids was one of my favorite things in the world when I was a young father!

All good wishes,
Todd Turonski’s Grade 5 class from Port Colborne, Ontario Canada wrote on March 31, 2021
Hi Bruce Coville we love your My Teacher is an Alien series. We have read My Teacher is an Alien, My Teacher Fried my Brains and My Teacher Glows in the Dark. We just started My Teacher Flunked the Planet and we love it so far. After reading My Teacher is an Alien we HAD to read the rest of the books in the series. We are so sad the series is coming to an end, but we are enjoying it as we read. We have a question for you. Are you going to make another My Teacher is an Alien book? And if so what would it be called and what would it be about? One of the students is making a book all about My Teacher is an Alien the book is called Alien Diaries. We love your books and we are excited to read more. Have a good day Bruce Coville! -Abbey
Reply by Bruce Coville
Ahoy Mr. Turonski's Class -
Thanks for the great letter. I'm really glad you're enjoying the MY TEACHER books. I honestly believe the last one in the series is the most important book I ever wrote.
I'm sorry to report that I will not be making another book in the series. I was offered a great deal of money to write a 5th book but I declined because I thought the series had come to the right ending point. I have seen many series that go on to long, and become less and less interesting, and I didn't want that to happen to these characters.
I'll tell you an inside secret: Duncan Dougall is based on a kid I had in my classes when I was an elementary school teacher!

Have a great spring!

Bruce Coville
Eric wrote on March 26, 2021
Hello Mr. Coville! Serious question here. I was wondering how you deal with readers (mainly parents) who feel scandalized by the frank portrayal of homosexuality in The Skull of Truth. As a kid myself when I first read the book back in 1999, I admit I was made uncomfortable by that aspect (it just wasn't a cultural conversation we were having at any kind of mainstream level at that time), but ultimately it shook me out of my complacency and made me examine my biases. I'm glad art exists to make us uncomfortable sometimes. For my part, I wish I could explain to those sorts of parents that they don't do their children any favors by hiding them from the truths of the world.
Reply by Bruce Coville
Hi, Eric -
Many thanks for this message. I'm quite delighted to know how SKULL OF TRUTH impacted you, personally. It was one of the first middle grade novels to acknowledge that gayness exists, and I take a great deal of pride in that. Some people have said it was brave to included that, but it never felt brave to me. It just felt as if that was what should happen in the story. (Every time someone says that something I have written, or said in a lecture, was brave, my feeling is I was either too dumb or too cranky to be afraid!)
I got less pushback than I expected, though I am sure that there are things that I don't know about - most especially schools and libraries that simply never bought the book because of it's content, despite it being part of an extremely successful series. The only specific penalty I've paid for my "bravery" was having four "Christian" schools drop out of a tour I was doing in Korea when someone read the book and felt scandalized.
So I really haven't had to deal with much direct confrontation on the book. When it does come up, my response varies with what I can sense about whoever is complaining. Is this person amenable to reason? Can I have a conversation? Or am I facing a mind that is locked and closed. The basic point I want to make if I have someone I can have a conversation with is that this is simply an acknowledgment of reality, and a situation that many, many families will at some point find themselves face to face with. Pretending it's not real will not make it go away!

Many thanks for this message. I truly appreciate it.
Daniela from Hanover, Germany wrote on March 24, 2021
At age 16 or so I saw the first book of your unicorn chronicles series and I absorbed it immediately. To be fair, it was a bit silly at the time, seeing as how I was already 16 years old but still reading about unicorns and what not! Unfortunately I lost the name of the book for years but thanks to a lot of googling I found it and bought a copy two years ago! Whenever people see it they ask about it and why it looks in near-perfect condition, assuming that I've had the book when I was younger. I really can't explain why I grew so attached to your book (haven't read the others yet, I'm sorry! School and work is a mess right now!) at that age, I guess I just felt safe? Anyways, thank you for writing the book, truly, it was really nice to read it. Greetings from Germany! Auf Wiedersehen!
Reply by Bruce Coville
Hi, Daniela -
Well, you would have to work hard to convince ME that there is anything silly about continuing to find unicorns fascinating, but I suppose I constitute an unusual case . . . ;>
Anyway, I'm delighted to know that you continue to have a fondness for that first book. Thanks for taking the time to let me know!

All good wishes.
Navya wrote on March 22, 2021
Dear Bruce,
I have read The Monster's Ring it was AMAZING !
I really LOVE to write and your book has inspired me so MUCH!
I had a few questions since I've wrote a few books my self but..... little problemo I do NOT know how to publish my spectacular books!! Can you tell me how you got your thrilling books out and into public?
Thank You,
Reply by Bruce Coville
Dear Navya -
I'm delighted to know that you liked THE MONSTER'S RING so much . . . and even more delighted to know that it has inspired you to start writing on your own.
As far as getting your books published . . . that is such a big topic that there are entire books written about the matter! I do know one terrific book for helping young writers improve their work. It is called SPILLING INK and it is by Anne Mazer and Ellen Potter, two terrific writers themselves. I highly recommend it.
My own single most important piece of advice for young writers is NEVER GIVE UP! It took me seven years from the time I started trying to write to the time that I sold my first book. If I had given up . . . well, I wouldn't be writing this message to your right now! ;>

Wishing you the best of luck with your writing,
sally M wrote on March 22, 2021
hello Bruce,
I am a big fan of all your books! You really inspired me to write books of my own( I really LOVE writing) !!
Reply by Bruce Coville
Hi, Sally -

I'm glad you love my books, and I am quite flattered to know that they have inspired you to write books of your own. It's great that you are enjoying the process. Best of luck - and never give up!

gr.3Hum from Calgary wrote on March 22, 2021
Dear Mr. Coville,
Our class really enjoyed reading The Monster’s Ring. It was extraordinary and humourous. It started as realistic fiction and quickly became a fantasy story. Here are some questions that we have about this story.
-Will you write another book about The Monster’s Ring? Will Russell appear inanother book?
-Did you write books as a kid? Can you tell us about any stories you wrote as a kid?
-What made you want to become an author?
-We are interested in publishing stories too. Can you tell us about the process and how you published this book?
-In your other books, did you write about other students? (you mentioned in your author’s note that Russell and Eddie were modeled after read students)
-Are any of your character traits in this story? (especially, character traits of Russell)
We enjoyed the twist of the story! You really inspired us with this story! We think you should write part 2 of this story!
Mrs. Hum’s grade 3 class
Reply by Bruce Coville
Ahoy, Mrs. Hum's Class -
Lovely to hear from you. I am delighted that you enjoyed THE MONSTER'S RING so much. It was the very first novel I published, and it thrills me that people are still reading it.
My goodness, you do have a lot of questions!
Will I write another book about Russell? Probably not. I wanted to write a sequel when it was first published, but my editor was not interested. But I loved the Magic Shop too much to let go of it, so my next idea was to do a book of short stories about the shop. Except I tend to get carried away, and most of the times when I tried to write a short story, it turned into a book instead. That's why there are now FIVE Magic Shop books!
Russell and Eddie are the only characters I have based completely on my students. Characters in my other books are made up, but I use a lot of what I learned about kids from (a) being a kid myself and (b) working as a teacher for seven years.
The first time I wanted to be a writer was when I in 6th grade. Other careers appealed to me, but the desire to write never went away.
As far as getting published, that is a huge topic, so big that whole books are written about it! The best book I know for kids about HOW to write better is SPILLING INK by Anne Mazer and Ellen Potter. I highly recommend it.

Thanks for writing - and keep reading!

All best,
Mrs. Jana Hodson and her Grade 3's from Calgary, Canada wrote on March 15, 2021
Dear Mr. Coville,
We just finished reading "The Monster's Ring". We loved it! It was funny and adventurous and cool. But we want to know more, so here are some of the questions we came up with. Did Eddie and Russell become friends? Did Russell change into a monster every full moon? How did he hide it from his mom and dad? What happened to the ring, did it fall off or did he absorb it? Was the full moon monster the same monster that Russell had turned into? Does Russell wake up naked every time he turns into a monster? We know that the magic shop makes 5 more stops, will there be anymore? We are about to start our individual novel study of Jeremy Thatcher, We can't wait to find out what happens next in the magic shop!
Mrs. H. and the Grade 3's
Reply by Bruce Coville
Ahoy Mrs. Hodson's Class -
Thanks for your message. I'm delighted to know that you enjoyed THE MONSTER'S RING so much. You might like knowing that I wrote the first version while I was teaching 4th grade, and Russell and Eddie are both based on real life kids I had in my class!
You asked some good questions. Russell and Eddie definitely became friendly, but I am not sure they actually became real friends.
Russell does indeed become a monster every full moon. How he hides it from his mother and father would be one of the main points of the story if I were ever to write a sequel. Since I haven't written a sequel, I never really worked that out!
I believe Russell absorbed the ring.
The "full moon monster" would be something else that I would have to work out if I wrote a sequel. For example, it might be that it is a cycle - he becomes the first monster on the first full moon, the second monster on the next full moon, and the mega-monster on the third full moon. And then it would start all over again. He only loses his clothes with the third transformation, but once he knew it was coming, he would probably strip first and put his clothes in a safe place so he could get back into them once he turned back in the morning.
Wow! That's more that I've thought about what would happen next than I ever did before. Great questions!
I hope you'll enjoy the rest of the Magic Shop books. There are no plans for another one right now, but you never know . . .

Your friend,
Bruce Coville