Unbored ABOUT page 550

“The first kids’ book to truly encourage a hands-on approach to creating a personally meaningful life.” — Mark Frauenfelder, editor-in-chief of MAKE

“Fighting the war against techno-passivity, it reads like an old-fashioned child’s activity book for a modern Gen-X parented family.” — New York Times

“If your kids ever give UNBORED back to you, you may want to do a whole lot of the great ideas yourself.” — Lenore Skenazy, author of Free-Range Kids

“This book can have a really meaningful, positive influence on the children you love most.” — SAVVY AUNTIE

“The quintessential guide for today’s tech-savvy and socially engaged kids.”— Minneapolis Star Tribune

UNBORED is a great new addition to the DIY/Maker/Hacker movement.” — GEEKDAD

“What I love about UNBORED is that it’s for ALL, not ‘daring girls’ or ‘dangerous boys’.” — Peggy Orenstein, author of Cinderella Ate My Daughter

“It’s a book! It’s a guide! It’s a way of life!”
Los Angeles Magazine


In December 2012 and January 2013, UNBORED spent several weeks on the national and regional Indie Bookstore Bestseller Lists. We are very grateful to the independent bookstores who made this possible.


CHECK OUT AN EXCERPTRemote-Controlled Water Blaster [via BOINGBOING].

WATCH AN INTERVIEW — below, with Joshua Glenn and MAKE‘s Mark Frauenfelder [via LA Times Book Review].

A LIST OF LISTS: So many magazines and blogs included UNBORED on their 2012 holiday gift lists that we created a separate post to archive them…

LISTEN TO AN INTERVIEW (below) with Elizabeth Larsen [via Minnesota Public Radio News].

CHECK OUT A SLIDESHOWpages and illustrations from UNBORED [via DESIGN OBSERVER].

LISTEN TO AN INTERVIEW with Joshua Glenn [via SCPR'S show "Take Two"].

READ AN INTERVIEW with Joshua Glenn [via Los Angeles Magazine].

EXPLORE ELIZABETH’S HOME! The New York Times published a feature about Elizabeth’s Minneapolis home — this slideshow lets you take a virtual tour.




NON-BOOK STORES — WANT TO CARRY UNBORED? Call Bloomsbury’s Customer Service line at 1-888-330-8477.

READ The UNBORED Manifesto!

READ Josh and Elizabeth writing about parenting issues for SLATE.

READ Josh and Elizabeth writing about education issues for HUFFINGTON POST.



“The DIY/Maker/Hacker movement is exploding in a big way right now… UNBORED is a great new addition to the movement. The hardbound tome is an activity book for children aged 8 and up, with over 350 beautifully designed and illustrated pages that encourage kids to use their natural curiosity and skills to be creative and to try to change the world. However, it’s the ‘extras’ in each section that help to make UNBORED stand out from the crowd of maker-type books. There are Q&As with people with relevant knowledge — from the inventor of Twister and Nerf to polar explorer Ann Bancroft — to offer the reader a different perspective on the world. Excerpts from classic literature such as Dracula and Around the World in 80 Days, to inspire them. Fun lists covering subjects such as ‘Best Ever Graphic Novels’ and ‘Best Ever Car Free Movies’, and recurring ‘Train Your Grownup To…’ and trivia sections. Quizzes, comics, how-tos, recipes and subjects including writing, music, electronics, travel, crafts, and gardening mean there really is something for everyone here. And refreshingly, there’s no ‘Boys’ section and ‘Girls’ section here, everything is for everybody. The tone throughout is light-hearted and jovial, never patronizing… They never say ‘you must do it this way,’ but rather encourage experimentation and participation.”
Wired‘s GEEKDAD blog (Nathan Barry)

Best Book of 2012: Montana Parent

“I want my daughter to read this book with a flashlight after bedtime and plot to take over the world with her friends.”
— Children’s book author Jenny Offill

“I can already tell that it’s going to lead my son into some awesome adventures.”
Reading Comics author Douglas Wolk

“In the same vein as The Dangerous Book for Boys and The Great Big Glorious Book for Girls. Except without all of the vomit-inducing gender stereotyping.”
— from the momblog COFFEE WITH JULIE

“The kids love that it’s not gender-specific.”
— from the momblog BEN AND BIRDY

“Do your children bore easily? Are they Minecrafting themselves into oblivion? … UNBORED will teach kids how to make their own fun: ‘create instead of consume.’”
— Christina Kelly, at Entertainment Weekly‘s blog THE FAMILY ROOM

“The next time your kids even start to utter ‘There’s nothin’ to do,’ throw the book at them.”
— from the magazine FAMILY FUN

“This book opened my eyes to a parallel universe filled with people doing all kinds of tantalizing, crazy, and fun stuff I’d never considered…. Books in this genre usually break my heart, with their promising covers and meh insides. (Vinegar/baking soda/food dye. Pipe-cleaners/googly eyes/a tissue box. Enough.) I love that this book incorporates the technologies we’re so immersed in, giving us license to play with screens in ways we hadn’t considered, instead of scolding kids (and parents) to unplug and build things with toilet paper tubes. UNBORED is a perfect addition to any creative/kind of creative/wants to be creative family’s life.”
— from the parenting blog KIDOINFO

“The underlying advice? Don’t sit around and accept what’s handed to you, whether it’s an idea or a prefab toy. Create your own meaning and your own entertainment.”
— from the St. Paul Pioneer Press momblog MINNMOMS

“Reasons I love UNBORED: It’s about making (and remaking) stuff. It sends the right message: Let’s value discovery, creativity, sharing, and initiative. It’s all about what’s possible online, offline, indoors and outdoors. It’s about finding your scene and niche. It features contributions from a wide array of experts providing craft steps, trivia, best-of lists, and Q&As, all while teaching you how to break free from your ultra-organized life to allow some true innovation to break through. Age 8-14 is a time of growing independence for kids, but also an opportunity for youth to foster deep connections and meaningful engagement with their parents, and why not bond both on and offline?”
— Vanessa Ziff Lasdon, at the blog W.O.R.D. INK

“I would definitely choose UNBORED if I only had one book to keep in my library as I was raising an awesome, can-do-anything son or daughter.”
Home Education Magazine

“Never had we needed a book like this more than after Hurricane Sandy took out our power.”
— from the parenting blog BARISTA KIDS

“This is the kind of book I wished I had as a kid, but better late than never.”
— from the Appalachian Mountain Club blog KIDS OUTDOORS




In December 2012, UNBORED was one of Amazon’s Editor’s Picks (Kids & Teens Holiday Gift Books category), and also…
#1 Best Seller: Family Activity Books
#1 Best Seller: Crafts & Hobbies Books
#1 Best Seller: Parenting Books
#9 Best Seller: Sports & Outdoors Books

* “UNBORED is the ZOOM! Catalog for the 21st Century, and it couldn’t have arrived at a better time.”

* “My 8-yr-old LOVES this! I keep catching him after bedtime with a flashlight reading and giggling & plotting. This is the perfect thing to distract the videogame-obsessed kiddo.”

* “The book is utterly, intensely, irrefutably child-friendly. And by ‘friendly’ I mean doing kids the service of showing them fun end-runs around a) techno-enabled childhoods of passivity and enervation and b) mollycoddled pre-adolescences in which nary a knee gets scraped.”

* “As a grandmother with 6 grandchildren ranging from 1-13 years of age, and as a former teacher, now professor of education, I find UNBORED a refreshing change to the usual litany of ‘educational’ activities generated to be ‘adult-approved.’ Instead, the activities leverage creativity, imagination, links to a world becoming increasingly technologically- and media-oriented, and commonplace materials and equipment… So, hip grandmothers (and grandfathers) with smartphones, who aren’t afraid to get dirty, make mistakes, use a little technology and engage with media, this is the book for you!”

* “As an elementary school teacher … UNBORED is a fantastic resource for after-school programs, teachers, summer camps, parents of bored children, and for children themselves.”

* “My tween son and I are finding great projects and inspirations for his Unschooling/Homeschooling activities with UNBORED! I appreciate that it encourages and challenges him to step … outside of his comfort zone.”

* “This book is refreshing, fun, and exactly what is needed in a society that is cookie-cutter and oriented to selling children ‘stuff’ rather than creating experiences for their healthy development…”

* “Occasionally my son will give me the ‘I’m bored!’ thing (code for can I play video games now?). So the last time he resorted to this I handed him this book. Within a few minutes there was clearly much discovery going on and questions like ‘Do we have a (fill in the blank), I want to make/do/try this (again fill in the blank).’”

* “I appreciate that this book is not written for drones, but rather intelligently mixed with a some playful antidotes and commentary that forces some thought and a whole lot of laughs. This is perfect fun for a child (and parent) who appreciates fun, quirky, and slightly mischievous adventures.”


Signing books at PowerHouse Arena, Brooklyn. From left: Josh, Elizabeth, Tony.



“This is not just a book, it’s a way of life for kids and parents alike.”
— Anthony DeBenedet, MD, author of The Art of Roughhousing

“If your kids ever give UNBORED back to you, you may want to do a whole lot of the great ideas yourself.”
— Lenore Skenazy, author of the book and blog Free-Range Kids

“All parents, teachers, and anyone else who wants kids to have fun and wants to have fun with kids will love, love, love this book.”
— Edward Hallowell, M.D., ADHD and parenting expert, author of Delivered From Distraction

“Sure to bring a new generation and new kind of maker into the world.”
— Douglas Rushkoff, author of Program or Be Programmed: Ten Commands for a Digital Age

“This is the awesome family book we didn’t know we were waiting for!”
— Homa Sabet Tavangar, author of Growing Up Global



“Fighting the war against techno-passivity is in part what inspired [UNBORED]. With how-to ideas like making LED graffiti and get-out-and-explore manifestoes by the illustrator Joe Alterio and others, it reads like an old-fashioned child’s activity book for a modern Gen-X parented family.” New York Times

New York Magazine’s Approval Matrix — click for larger version

“Exactly the book parents need during a weeklong school break that feels like a month.”
New York magazine’s APPROVAL MATRIX

“This year’s hottest activity book for kids may well be UNBORED. The 350-page book highlights science experiments, crafts and upcycling, board game hacking, and geocaching.”
Publisher’s Weekly DIY CRAFTS BOOKS 2012 round-up

“It’s a book! It’s a guide! It’s a way of life!”
Los Angeles Magazine

“Its over 350 beautifully designed and illustrated pages encourage kids to use their natural curiosity and skills to be creative and to try to change the world.”
WIRED’s GeekDad Holiday Gift Guide

“Probably the best do-it-yourself and activity book for children I’ve seen. The variety of projects is astounding, and it’s modern and appealing to kids and adults.”
— from the blog BOINGBOING

“A parent-and-kids guide to doing things that are smart and quirky.”
— from The Los Angeles Times Book Review blog, JACKET COPY.

“The quintessential guide for today’s tech-savvy and socially engaged kids.”
Minneapolis Star Tribune

“The aim is to empower kids to be kind to the earth and each other and to understand that you don’t need to spend money to have fun.”
The Boston Globe

“My parents could have used this when I was growing up!”
— from the USA TODAY blog POP CANDY

“This book will encourage kids to use their technical skills as well as their natural curiosity to be creative, try new things, figure out how things and systems work, and just maybe change the world in the process.”
Parents & Kids Magazine

“It’s more than an activity guide; it’s a kids’ guide to a sustainable, exciting, imaginative, and above all else independent lifestyle.”
— from the DESIGN OBSERVER blog

“If you can’t find an exciting activity to do in this book, there might be something wrong with you.”
Sports Illustrated Kids

“The coauthors of this book believe that young people are capable of much more than grownups usually think possible. And they are right! It’s a guide to life — if you want an exciting and unbored life!”
— 12-year-old reviewer, in New Moon Magazine

“An uncommonly brainy kids’ activity book that encourages youngsters to invent, grow and melt stuff.”
Hemispheres, the in-flight magazine of United Airlines

“This mixture of step-by-step how-tos, inspirational articles, comics, and excerpts from literature puts a priority on having fun and learning new skills, all while becoming more independent.”
School Library Journal