Mr. Z's Story

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- Bob Zaslow, Author -

Mr. Z, Bob Zaslow, grew up in Rockaway Beach, Queens, New York, where he got his first job as an art teacher. Within his art classes, he loved teaching and taught film-making to his junior high school students before video camcorders. One of those student films won an award for creativity. 

When NYC budget problems forced many art and music teachers to leave the Department of Education, he made a documentary film about a female artist's struggles and eventual success. The film was shown at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Brooklyn Museum and won a Bronze award at the American Film Festival.

When a NYC ad agency hired him to write magazine ads and commercials, he began writing every day, up to seven hours a day. He won a Clio award and two Effie awards along the way. He also wrote, directed and produced 110 'Maalox Moment' radio commercials.

In 2001, he returned to teaching and taught his Bronx fifth grade class math, science, English and Social Studies using rap and rhyme. The result- his students loved to learn this way. And when he taught high school students, he used rap to take the fear out of Shakespeare. Again, two results- his students got excited about reading and discussing the actual play…and Mr. Z wrote a book, 'Rap-Notes: Shakespeare's Greatest Hits,' with raps that sing the stories of five of his most popular plays.

When he wasn't teaching or writing lesson plans, he wrote plays, including six one-act comedies Off-Off Broadway and the book to a full-length musical that performed in the FringeNYC Festival at the Bleecker St. Theatre in Greenwich Village.

Now Mr. Z is retired and lives in WA with his wife, Ann and cat, Smokey. Bob and Ann just became proud grandparents of a little girl featured in one of his books. And he's all about writing children's books that are not only fun to read but get kids thinking about big ideas like love, shyness, patience, courage and living in the moment.

His goal is to turn kids on to the fun of reading and teach kids the joy of writing and draw their OWN stories. Because he knows the joy of turning a blank sheet of paper into a story that moves people to tears or laughter. And now it's his turn to share that joy with a podcast.

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Mr. Z (Bob Zaslow) is a master of read-out-loud simplicity. Both his language and his concepts feel in the moment but have the power and beauty of the best haiku poetry. And like poetry, his words invite repeated readings that touch the heart in fresh ways because they invite you, no matter what your age, to join in.

Peter Andrews 

Author and creator of the How to Write Fast blog