The Boy With Two Belly Buttons

I first became a published writer at age 11, when a poem that I wrote for school (“The Possum”) appeared in Highlights magazine. While I have since written about thieves, terrorists, and even economists, I guess it is fitting that I have finally written a children’s book.

It’s called The Boy With Two Belly Buttons, with illustrations by the remarkable Christoph Niemann, and it goes on sale today.

Dubner Belly Button Cover

It’s a picture book, roughly for kids ages four to eight, and it begins like this:

Solomon never thought it was strange that he had two belly buttons until he got a baby sister. Anya had only one.

Observant readers of this blog may note that Solomon and Anya are the names of my real kids. I plead guilty to anything that anyone wants to charge me with, but I was not about to write a kids’ book and leave my kids out of it. Anyway: I really love how the book turned out — Christoph’s illustrations are really fantastic — and I hope other people love it too. Here is Solomon at the swimming pool, trying to see if he really is the only person in the world with two belly buttons:

Dubner Belly Button 1

After a long and frustrating journey during which he realizes that he is the only person in the world with two belly buttons, Solomon has a chance encounter with “a very famous movie director,” and his perspective finally changes for the better.

Dubner Belly Button 2

If you happen to live in New York (and have kids), feel free to stop by one of my upcoming readings:

Sat., Sept. 29, at Books of Wonder.

Sat., Oct. 13, at a Barnes & Noble on the Upper East Side.

I will have another announcement or two to post later, and I will also give away some signed books. For now, let me just say this: I feel like a kid again.


discordian

Will you do any readings/signings in North Jersey?
I'd bring my almost 5 y.o.

adam

Does steven spielberg know that he is in the book?

Derek

Hey, that is pretty rad, ever doing any readings on the west coast? Vancouver maybe??

Beryl

The last time I gave my three-year-old niece a book, the first thing she asked was "Does this book have any belly-buttons in it?" Based on this sample of one, I think you have picked an essential and largely overlooked topic.

Michelle

#3 on the way? :) Congratulations on the book (and the surprise! It looks great, can't wait to get it.

Kevin

I just read a bumper sticker yesterday that asked, "Do Born-Again Christians have Two Belly Buttons?"

Beerzie Boy

This looks great. Can't wait to check it out.

Stephen J. Dubner

@2: Yes, Steven Spielberg does know he's in the book. In the first draft, the character was actually called Steven Spielberg -- there are some strong parallels between the Boy With Two Belly Buttons and E.T. -- and I sent him the book to get his okay. He gave me his okay, but in the final draft I wound up changing the character from "Steven Spielberg" to "a very famous movie director" (it just worked better); nevertheless, we decided to keep Spielberg's likeness in the illustration.

Graham Watson

In a week when Katie Price (aka 'glamour model') Jordan's first novel (i.e. ghostwritten) sells more copies than the entire Booker Prize shortlist, it's nice to see someone else jumping on the celebrity publishing bandwagon.

I'm sure that there's a whole lot of fascinating economics of publishing out there, particularly in the field of children's books - Madonna, the Duchess of York. Only one obvious name missing: Levitt!!

Congratulations on the book!
Did U know, that "Anya" means "Mother" in hungarian?
beautiful name :)

Caaaah

neat!

mr. winston

What if we want to read "The Possum," where would one go to find your poem?

David Klausner

I have two bellybuttons kind of. Im 14 years old but I had a feeding tube scar that makes it look like I have two bellybuttons. Its pretty cool when I saw this book.

Eric Stedfeld

My copy of the book seems to be missing a spread? It jumps from the lady laughing at the hospital window to Victor the turtle checking if he has a belly button, but there's no page where Solomon leaves the hospital or meets the turtle. Were some of the books mal-printed?

discordian

Will you do any readings/signings in North Jersey?
I'd bring my almost 5 y.o.

adam

Does steven spielberg know that he is in the book?

Derek

Hey, that is pretty rad, ever doing any readings on the west coast? Vancouver maybe??

Beryl

The last time I gave my three-year-old niece a book, the first thing she asked was "Does this book have any belly-buttons in it?" Based on this sample of one, I think you have picked an essential and largely overlooked topic.

Michelle

#3 on the way? :) Congratulations on the book (and the surprise! It looks great, can't wait to get it.

Kevin

I just read a bumper sticker yesterday that asked, "Do Born-Again Christians have Two Belly Buttons?"