The Book So Bright You Gotta Wear Shades

by Stefani on 10-June-2009

For the young inventors in our midst who had a great time dreaming up concoctions and contraptions with the May edition of our Book of Days, do we have a story for YOU! (and a chance to win something cool too!)


The Day Glo Brothers by Chris Barton is all about how two brothers, a magic show, and an accident at a ketchup factory gave the world some brand new colors and changed everything. It’s the true story of how things went all wrong just before they went so right… and really, what inventor doesn’t need to hear that he isn’t the only one who has to try try again?

The illustrations in this book are retro funk, dipped in Day Glo… guaranteed to suck any kid straight into the story.


But this isn’t just another pretty picture book. This is the real life story of two young men who rose above adversity, rolled with the punches and in the end managed to live out their dreams in some wholly unexpected ways. Better still, The Day Glo Brothers is nothing like the dry, you might be tested on this information, encyclopedic accounts of some old person’s contribution to society that are all too prevalent in kiddie lit. In fact after our first read through, my middle son, the inventor among us, said, “Wouldn’t it be so cool if something like that really happened?”

He was lit up like, well Day Glo, to hear that it really DID happen … real people really DID do something as cool as invent colors that glow right in their own basement! My science nut immediately set to work looking up photos of how Day Glo has been used.

Day Glo

Every single time he found a new use for Day Glo he’d squeal, “Whoa! Can you just imagine if something *I* invented ended up… (on someone’s socks, worn by policemen, landing planes?)” When’s the last time you read a biography that made you vibrate with excitement over YOUR own potential?

Day Glo!

I’m told there’s a Day Glo illusion/art installation going up in his room, which sounds way cool, but I’m even more excited about the way that this book has made him rethink his ideas about inventors… they’re not always inaccessible brainiacs with walls of diplomas, sometimes they’re just real folks with a dream – real people who make mistakes, press on, and see it through – people who dream in Day Glo.

I recently had the chance to speak with the author of The Day Glo Brothers, Chris Barton, and it’s so plain that he loves his work and loves kids. Turns out this book was a labor of love 8 years in the making! When I asked him how it felt to finally have his book in his hands he said that he was MORE excited about having the story in the hands of young readers… and getting to finally meet those readers at his speaking engagements. “I’ve thought a lot about daylight fluorescence over the years and asked lots of questions — and I know that these kids and *their* questions are going to show me how much more there is to learn.”

Chris has generously offered to share an autographed copy of The Day Glo Brothers with one of our readers. For your chance to win this book all you have to do is leave a comment on this post telling us what YOUR big dreams were as a child. I’ll leave the contest open until Sunday night, and will announce the winner here, on this post, by Monday morning.

Sorry folks, the contest is over. Thank you for playing and a BIG thanks to Chris Barton for sharing his wonderful book with us.
Congratulations to our winner, Holly!

Oh, and one more thing… if you happen to be in Austin on July 11th, pack your car with kids and head down to Book People to meet Chris in person and help him celebrate the release of The Day Glo Brothers!

Diana (Ladybug Limited) June 13, 2009 at 10:07 am

OK, you know Mugger would love this (see the link if you don’t remember!), so of course, I have to comment.

As for my big dreams as a child? Hmm… I think I wanted to read books for a living. I didn’t so much a dream specifically as I did constantly via the world of books. I still read kids’ books on an almost-daily basis, so maybe I should have been a children’s librarian instead of a Spanish teacher.

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