Joshua Glenn is editor of the website HiLobrow, and coauthor or coeditor of several books, including Significant Objects (2012). In 2011, he produced and co-designed Ker-Punch!, a brainteaser iPhone app for kids. He has worked as a newspaper, magazine, and website editor; and he was a columnist for The Boston Globe. During the 1990s he published the zine/journal Hermenaut. He lives in Boston with his wife and sons. Email | Twitter
Elizabeth Foy Larsen is a writer and editor whose stories on children and families have appeared in The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Mother Jones, Parents, and elsewhere, including anthologies. She has worked as a newspaper, magazine, and website editor. In the 1990s, she was a member of the team that launched Sassy, a magazine for teen girls. She lives in Minneapolis with her husband, daughter, and two sons. Email | Twitter
Tony Leone is principal of Leone Design, a graphic design studio and consultancy in Boston. His work has been honored by the American Institute of Graphic Arts and the Brand Design Association, and has been featured in Communication Arts, Print, Graphis, and elsewhere. In the 1990s, he was design director of the zine/journal Hermenaut. He lives in Boston with his wife, son, and daughter. Email
Parents and kids, please upload short UNBORED-related videos (e.g, to YouTube or Vimeo) and email us a link to the video along with info — including your first name(s) and your city/town. Send photos, too!
Heather Kasunick teaches visual arts in a public high school. She has exhibited at the Fitchburg Museum of Art, the Brattleboro Museum and Art Center, and The MPG Contemporary Gallery (Boston), among other venues. She lives in Northampton, Mass., with her husband and their dog.
Chris Piascik is a freelance designer and illustrator from Connecticut who recently held his sixth solo exhibition. For the past four years, he has been posting daily drawings to his website; in 2012, he self-published a book of the first thousand drawings.
Mister Reusch has made illustrations for Burton Snowboards, Harmonix Rock Band, StrideRite, and poster art and tattoo designs. He teaches illustration at Massachusetts College of Art & Design in Boston. He lives in Haverhill, Mass., with his girlfriend and their dogs and hamster.
Illustrator and artist
New York Times writer
Matthew De Abaitua
Author, The Art of Camping
DIYer, MAKE Magazine editor in chief, BoingBoing founder
Writer, and volunteer at Portland's
Rock'n'Roll Camp for Girls
Fan fiction author and expert
Architectural utopianist and blogger
Food and cookbook scholar
John Edgar Park
MAKE TV host and DIYer
DIYer, tinkerer, MakerBot founder
Author, Cooking for Geeks
DIYer, GetCrafty.com founder
Musician and music teacher
Zoe Cordes Selbin
Homeschooled media consultant, undergrad
Anindita Basu Sempere
YA writer, crafter, animal rescuer
DIYer, tinkerer, mapping expert
DIYer, Interactivity expert
Librarian, MetaFilter director
“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
“The quintessential guide for today’s tech-savvy and socially engaged kids.”— Minneapolis Star Tribune
“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
Please contact Sara Mercurio at Bloomsbury.
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.
EXPLORE ELIZABETH’S HOME! The New York Times published a feature about Elizabeth’s home — this slideshow lets you take a virtual tour. Excerpt from the profile: “Ms. Larsen, a former editor at Sassy, the ’90s alternagirl magazine, said the book is designed to get children involved in activities that strengthen social bonds and shape their self-identity. And many of the suggestions, she said, were road-tested inside her home in Minneapolis.”
CHECK OUT AN EXCERPT — Remote-Controlled Water Blaster [via BOINGBOING].
WATCH AN INTERVIEW — below, with Joshua Glenn and MAKE‘s Mark Frauenfelder [via LA Times Book Review].
UNBORED on MAKER CAMP — below, UNBORED‘s Joshua Glenn demonstrates some game ideas.
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 SLIDESHOW — pages 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].
READ AN INTERVIEW with Joshua Glenn [via Family Fun Magazine, cover story on Creativity]. Excerpt: “You don’t want to be the over-involved parent, on the one hand, or the slacker parent on the other. Creativity is what happens when preparation meets opportunity. If you’re a little helicopter-y and do the prep work — but then leave your kids alone — creativity will happen.”
REVIEWERS — NEED SAMPLE PAGES? CLICK HERE.
AUTHORLESS UNBORED EVENT: CLICK HERE.
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.
MORE PODCASTS: Joshua Glenn has co-hosted Boing Boing’s podcast GWEEK several times: GWEEK 064: Danny Dunn and the Homework Machine, GWEEK 065: Super Tight, GWEEK 071: Adrian Tomine, GWEEK 081: Wonderful Apps, Books, Comics, and Gear, GWEEK 087: The Art of Doing. He has also co-hosted the podcast COOL TOOLS a couple of times: nos. 001 and 002.
DESIGN AWARDS: UNBORED has won the 2013 Regional Design Annual issue of Print magazine; the 2013 International Design Awards issue of How magazine; and the 2013 American Institute of Graphic Arts’ Best of New England (BoNE) Show award. Congratulations, on all these accolades, to designer and art director Tony Leone — plus illustrators Mark Reusch, Heather Kasunick, and Chris Piascik.
SELECTED PARENT REVIEWS
“Fantastic Ideas to Get Kids Outside Making and Doing This Summer” — Jessica Lahey, “Parent-Teacher Conference” blogger for the New York Times‘s Motherlode blog.
“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. … 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)
“A collection of inspiring activities, projects, and articles on freeing up your creativity… UNBORED offers a zillion ways to keep busy, stay engaged, and connect with the outside world. Start a band, make a zine, teach ‘your grown-up’ how to geocache, trick your friends into saving the planet, tell your politicians what you think, build a backyard fort, make a pet robot controller… The book is fun, instructional, edgy, and has insightful lessons on how to engage with life rather than allowing life to pass by like a boring television commercial. And as a parent, it’s nice to be reminded not to fall into the trap of smothering helicopter parenting, passive parenting (screens!), over-scheduled parenting, and all the other pitfalls of modern life that turn our kids into lethargic, helpless, unthinking slugs. Unbored belongs in every kid’s — and parent’s — library.”
— Carla Sinclair, founding editor-in-chief of CRAFT, and editor-in-chief of WINK
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
“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
“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
“One of the drawbacks of being a home educator is that you are forever seeking new ways to shoehorn a bit of education in, while being fun. So I’ve got lots of books titled ’101 activities to do without television’, or ‘things to do when you’ve nothing to do’. They’re usually fairly predictable, and tbh, a bit pointless. UNBORED is different. Very different. Instead of opening it and going ‘yeah, yeah’, I opened it and went ‘Ooh!’ … It’s subversive, entertaining, thought provoking and generally a bit brilliant. I’d like to recommend a copy for every family in the country.”
— from the UK homeschooling blog MAKING IT UP
“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
“UNBORED is the kind of book I adored when I was a kid. Except nothing like it existed then. … Kids are going to LOVE it, and parents are going to love its power to pull kids away from the screens that seem to dominate their waking hours. … Written in a fabulously quirky but cool, conversational style, making it easy for kids of varying reading abilities to get to grips with, and fun enough to hold the attention of even the most non-bookish kids, and the artwork and illustrations are first-rate.”
— from the UK parenting blog PLAYPENNIES
“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
MORE PARENT REVIEWS: Click here.
SELECTED AMAZON USER REVIEWS & TOP-10 LISTS
In December 2012, UNBORED was one of Amazon’s Editor’s Picks in the 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
* “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…”
* “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.”
* “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…”
* “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.”
* “I’m thrilled to give my grandchildren a choice of entertainment other than video games, malls, and movies!”
MORE AMAZON USER REVIEWS: Click here.
“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
SELECTED MAGAZINE, NEWSPAPER, WEBSITE REVIEWS
“Exactly the book parents need during a weeklong school break that feels like a month.”
— New York magazine’s APPROVAL MATRIX
“The summer’s must-have activity book.”
— The Daily Telegraph (UK)
“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
“Probably the best do-it-yourself and activity book for children I’ve seen.”
— from the blog BOINGBOING
“AWESOME BOOK ALERT! One of my students brought UNBORED in as recommended summer reading and I couldn’t get enough of it. There is something in here for every kid… So happy to have stumbled upon it.”
— from the VERYMERI blog
“The quintessential guide for today’s tech-savvy and socially engaged kids.”
— Minneapolis Star Tribune
“The book is loaded with projects, games, experiments and just plain fun that will get kids and adults off the couch. There’s a pleasingly subversive undercurrent to the book that rejects convenience and consumer product abundance and the boredom it can breed. The great sense of curiosity and exploration within the pages of UNBORED is the antidote.”
— MAKE Magazine
“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 GOTTA GET IT GUIDE
“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
“A collection of inspiring activities involving creativity, intelligence and problem-solving, which will fascinate older children and save them from boredom, and you from resorting to TV or computer games.”
— The Lady (UK)
“An uncommonly brainy kids’ activity book that encourages youngsters to invent, grow and melt stuff.”
— Hemispheres, the in-flight magazine of United Airlines
“Highly recommended for kids of all ages in need of a little adventure in their lives.”
— WASHINGTON D.C. PUBLIC LIBRARY BLOG
“Of the legions of activity books promising to drag your children away from the screen and to engage them in creative, life-enhancing activities UNBORED is the very best I have come across.”
— Daisy Bridgewater, in The Daily Telegraph (UK)
MORE MAGAZINE, NEWSPAPER, WEBSITE REVIEWS: Click here.