word craft


Story Behind the Story #3
No More Magic

No More MagicMy first nov­el, No More Mag­ic, had its ori­gins in my son’s eighth birth­day par­ty. At the time, I was liv­ing in Lam­bertville, New Jer­sey, a charm­ing old 19th cen­tu­ry town, the birth­place of James Mar­shall, the man who, in 1848, first dis­cov­ered gold on Sut­ter’s Ranch in Cal­i­for­nia. Sit­u­at­ed on the Delaware Riv­er, Lam­bertville was where the iron rims for gun car­riage wheels were man­u­fac­tured for the Union forces dur­ing the Civ­il War. The point is the typog­ra­phy of No More Mag­ic is Lam­bertville. Indeed, there is a fair amount of my fam­i­ly life that appears in the book.

My son Shaun was fascinated—as were his friends—with super­heroes. For his July birth­day that year, we decid­ed to have a super­hero par­ty. The eight or so kids would dress up as their own favorite super-hero, and then we would film (bor­rowed 8 mm cam­era) a sto­ry of Shaun’s invention.

Lambertville, New Jersey, photo by Graham Bush | Dreamstime.com
Lam­bertville, New Jer­sey, pho­to by Gra­ham Bush | Dreamstime.com

We would do this in a local park.

So it was that the kids assem­bled that birth­day after­noon in a vari­ety of hodge-podge cos­tumes, most­ly masked, most­ly caped, all excit­ed. For rea­sons nev­er explained, one was dressed as Snoopy.

Mikey—one of the boys—came dressed as the Green Lantern—com­plete with a green ring, the Green Lantern’s mag­ic ring.

The usu­al con­ge­nial chaos ensued, until at some point Mikey approached me. “Avi, I lost my ring,” said he.

I, assum­ing it was a piece of dime-store cos­tume jew­el­ry said, “Is that a big problem?”

jade ring“It was my moth­er’s jade ring.”

The film­ing end­ed. The superheroes—and their guardians—now searched the thick green grass for a green ring. It was nev­er found.

But a plot for a book—No More Mag­ic—was found. The book went on to be nom­i­nat­ed for an Edgar, which is to say the best juve­nile mys­tery of the year. I did not win, but there it was, my first nov­el had an award nom­i­na­tion. In short, despite the title, a lot of magic.

1 thought on “Story Behind the Story #3<br><em>No More Magic</em>”

  1. I am a Year 4 teacher from Brazil. Yes­ter­day, we start­ed read­ing The Secret School. My stu­dents enjoyed the begin­ning and are look­ing for­ward to find­ing out what is going to hap­pen to Ida.
    Besides, we read infor­ma­tion about your life, about some of your books, and my stu­dents were curi­ous about your name.
    Next Mon­day, we will read chap­ter 2. I will let you know how it goes.
    My Brazil­ian stu­dents are excit­ed about this read­ing. The lan­guage has not been a prob­lem at all!!!!
    Best regards,
    Teacher Maria Elisa


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