L. A. Campbell

Author of the Cartboy series  *  Writer of screenplays  *  Winner of a
Cannes Gold Lion  *  Loser of any contest involving jumping, archery, or ping pong

Cartboy and the Time Capsule

A new middle grade novel
by L. A. Campbell

Starscape Books - April 2013

It all started when I took my son on a day trip to Philadelphia. My plan was to hit all the great historical sights in this great historical city. The Liberty Bell, the Betsy Ross house, Independence Hall. Boy, were we going to have a good time.

About half way through the day, when we were nearing the table where the founding fathers signed the Declaration of Independence, I looked down and noticed something: My son was crying. “Why are you crying ?” I asked. He said it was because “he was bored.”

He wasn’t yawning bored. Or staring-off-into-space bored. He was literally BORED to TEARS.

And that, in a way, was the birth of the Cartboy and the Time Capsule. Why is it, I wondered, that so many kids don’t care for history. That they’re not fascinated by it the way adults are. Was there a way to make history more interesting to kids? Could a book be a history lesson, but one that boys and girls would really wanted to read?

I’m in the middle of raising a boy who is a classic “reluctant reader,” so I knew the book would need three things. An entertaining story, illustrations, and a couple of decent fart jokes.

And so, along came Hal Rifkind. A sixth grader who’s having the worst year of his life. Not only is Hal’s best friend going behind his back, but his dad makes him carry his books in an old lady cart and all the kids call him Cartboy. To make matters worse, Hal is nearly failing history. His teacher, Mr. Tupkin, gives the class a yearlong assignment to write a journal that will go in a time capsule so a future being can read it. Hal has no idea how he’s going to make it through sixth grade. But maybe, just maybe, the story of the founding fathers can help.


» to purchase Cartboy and the Time Capsule

So far Cartboy and the Time Capsule has sold
in 9 countries in addition to the US:
France, Spain, Australia, New Zealand, China, Romania,
Israel, Turkey, and Taiwan.

If you were making a time capsule, what is the one thing you would want a future person to know about life on earth today?   
» Email me with your answer

Cartboy, Book 2Is it possible that the summer after sixth grade could be worse than sixth grade itself?

Find out in Book 2 in the Cartboy series. Spring 2014.


Will a timid duck from
New Jersey find the courage
to save the world's
most endangered species?

That is the central theme of my middle grade novel in progress, Chicken Duck. And also a question I like to ask myself in the shower now and then.

What’s going to happen to this wimpy little duck named Mal? A duck who is too scared to leave his pond, who barely knows how to fly.

What, for the love of pizza, will happen when a bunch of teenagers on a school trip force Mal away from his pond, and he winds up on the other side of the world - the Galapagos Islands. Home to some of the most endangered species on the planet. Species that are about to become even more endangered thanks to the planet’s most evil animal poachers....

And most importantly, why did I name the main characters of two of my books Hal and Mal? What’s next? Cal?

You can find out whether Mal can muster up the guts to save everyone, including himself, when Chicken Duck is released. Date TBD.

» Click here to see the first few pages of the screenplay.