When I think about the authors who shaped my formative years, one of the biggest in my pantheon is Gordon Korman, who wrote his first book, This Can’t be Happening at MacDonald Hall, when he was 12 years old. Thirty-five years after MacDonald Hall was published (when Korman was 14), I got the chance to see him in person at the International Festival of Authors. The first in a series of books featuring troublemaking good guys Bruno & Boots, MacDonald Hall was just one of my many go-tos for bookish comedy. Go Jump in the Pool, The Twinkie Squad, Who is Bugs Potter?, and No Coins, Please, as well as my personal, all-time favourite I Want to Go Home, exemplify the kind of laugh-out-loud, clever, slapstick humour that Korman is known for. His extraordinary heroes got into all kinds of hilarious, super-fun trouble just trying to navigate their ordinary worlds.
Korman is the author of more than 75 books. The beloved titles I read in the 80s and early 90s led him to write books about the Titanic (Unsinkable, Collision Course, and S.O.S.), heist novels involving canines (the Swindle series), and participation in the wildly popular 39 Clues series with other middle grade heavyweights including Rick Riordan of Percy Jackson fame.