I wrote Greg and the Barbarian when I was teaching fifth and sixth grade students.
I’d always enjoyed reading aloud and doing novel studies with my students. I asked them what they would like to read and they told me about a kid everyone called the Barbarian. They wanted a story about him.
Apparently nobody liked the boy.
The Barbarian wasn’t in any of my classes and he moved away before I had a chance to meet him, but I wondered about the Barbarian.
What was he really like? The kids said he was a bully. What secrets did he have? How did he feel about the other kids? How did he feel about himself? Why was he acting like a bully?
I told my students that I’d like to write a book about the Barbarian and asked them who would like to be another character in the book.
Yes. You guessed it. A student named Greg wanted to be that character.
Voila, Greg and the Barbarian was born.
Well… Not quite that fast. It took a lot of writing and rewriting and I had wonderful feedback from my students. They did art work for many of the chapters. Unfortunately I don’t have any of the original student art work, but I still remember their drawings.