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Sarcastic and Cynical Stories for Kids? Check Out Barry Yourgrau

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Author Barry Yourgrau likes to keep it real when penning books for children. Real nasty, that is.

Yourgrau's edgy series of NASTYbooks work hard to subvert the niceties of traditional children's literature. Forget caring-means-sharing: herein lies wickedness, mischief, and savagery – with the goal of eliciting massive laughs.

Barry's latest NASTY offering is Yet Another NASTYbook: MiniNasties, which features "vicious little poems, dialogues and tiny tales, for kids 10 and up."

Ask around and Yourgrau seems to provoke a cornucopia of reactions from his readers. "Barry Yourgrau makes me shudder…" says Lemony Snicket, of A Series of Unfortunate Incidents fame. David Byrne says, "I can never remember my dreams, so Barry Yourgrau's stories are a pretty good substitute." And Adam Horovitz of the Beastie Boys insists that "Barry Yourgrau manages to articulate your most bugged-out daydreams."

Barry himself, in an essay written for Powells.com, describes the NASTYbooks series as "provocative," and "… kind of anti-fairy tales — where everything turns out not for the best but always for the worst." He also dishes advice on how best to chat with a room full of 10-year olds: to open or close with "A boy likes to pick his nose…"?

Yourgrau can also keep it adult-minded and even political, writing at The Huffington Post. Of course, the writing there holds the same nasty edge, though for a decidedly different audience (e.g. "Dear Alberto Gonzalez: Living Fart Joke").

Barry's also a self-described battle-hardened spoken word performer. Check him out on YouTube, reading stories and opining on a variety of nastily eclectic topics:

Where do ideas come from?
Comic writing, fearing the dark, and the art of the anti-fairy tale


"My Friend Bill"
Inventing imaginary friends

Happy Birthday
A monkey wants a birthday party

Cocoa
"I think there's something really strange about the foreign exchange student…"

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