My Life as a Book

Janet Tashjian; Illustrated by Jake Tashjian

Square Fish

Summer’s finally here, and Derek Fallon is looking forward to pelting the UPS truck with water balloons, climbing onto the garage roof, and conducting silly investigations. But when his parents decide to send him to Learning Camp, Derek’s dreams of fun come to an end. Ever since he’s been labeled a “reluctant reader,” his mom has pushed him to read “real” books—something other than his beloved Calvin & Hobbes.

As Derek forges unexpected friendships and uncovers a family secret involving himself (in diapers! no less), he realizes that adventures and surprises are around the corner, complete with curve balls. My Life as a Book is a 2011 Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year.



  • Janet and Jake Tashjian on My Life as a Book

    Watch author Janet Tashjian talk to her son (and illustrator) Jake Tashjian about their newest collaboration, MY LIFE AS A BOOK. Available now!



Praise for My Life as a Book

“Janet Tashjian, known for her young adult books, offers a novel that’s part Diary of a Wimpy Kid (2007), part intriguing mystery; yet the best element here is really the first-person voice, which captures so completely the pushes and pulls in the life of someone with learning disabilities. . . . Give this to kids who think they don’t like reading. It might change their minds.”—Booklist, Starred Review

“A kinder, gentler Wimpy Kid with all the fun and more plot.”—Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review

“Sure to engage fans of Jeff Kinney’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid books (Abrams) as well as those looking for a spunky, contemporary boy with a mystery to solve.”—School Library Journal

“[The] illustrations, drawn by Tashjian’s 14-year-old son, Jake, are quite clever.”—Publishers Weekly

My Life as a Book is a fabulous, fast-paced choice for reluctant and avid readers alike.”—BookPage

“Cartoon drawings by the author’s teenaged son decorate the margins and not only re-create Derek’s illustrated vocabulary lists but also reduce the amount of text on each page, making the book more approachable for kids like Derek. Derek tells readers, ‘If my life were a book, I’d have my own cool adventures.’ It is, and he does.”—The Horn Book

“This book is visually appealing to reluctant readers and shows that all kinds of stories can surprise us.”—Chicago Tribune

Reviews from Goodreads



  • Janet Tashjian; Illustrated by Jake Tashjian

  • Janet Tashjian is the author of acclaimed books for young adults, including The Gospel According to Larry, Vote for Larry, Fault Line, and Multiple Choice. Disney adapted Tru Confessions into a television movie starring Clara Bryant and Shia LaBeouf. Tashjian studied at the University of Rhode Island and Emerson College. She lives in Needham, Massachusetts, with her family.
  • Janet Tashjian
    Janet Tashjian



Teacher's Guide


Available Formats and Book Details

My Life as a Book

Janet Tashjian; Illustrated by Jake Tashjian

Bank Street Best Children's Book of the Year, Maine Student Book Award Master List, Connecticut Nutmeg Children's Book Award Master List, Indiana Read Alouds Too Good to Miss Master List, Pennsylvania Young Reader's Choice Award Master List


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