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Eric Bell (The Children's Book Podcast #441)

May 29, 2018



Eric Bell (@IAmEricBell) made his middle grade debut with ALAN COLE IS NOT A COWARD, a funny and poignant story about the trials of middle school when you’re coming of age—and coming out. Eric and I talk about writing boys that are the emotional core of the story and how their relationships to one another are, in so many ways, exactly what every child is seeking as they grow up. I know I did. The relationships in Alan's life to his parents, his brother, and even to his crush are complex and fragile and just so tangible your heart my ache as you read, but then again readers of all ages will see themselves in part in Alan's life, I think. 




Perfect for fans of Tim Federle and Gary Schmidt, this is a hilarious and poignant tale about the trials of middle school when you’re coming of age—and coming out.


Alan Cole can’t stand up to his cruel brother, Nathan. He can’t escape the wrath of his demanding father, who thinks he’s about as exceptional as a goldfish. And—scariest of all—he can’t let the cute boy across the cafeteria know he has a crush on him.


But when Nathan discovers Alan’s secret, his older brother announces a high-stakes round of Cole vs. Cole. Each brother must complete seven nearly impossible tasks; whoever finishes the most wins the game. If Alan doesn’t want to be outed to all of Evergreen Middle School, he’s got to become the most well-known kid in school, get his first kiss, and stand up to Dad. Alan’s determined to prove—to Nathan, to the world, to himself—that this goldfish can learn to swim.


May the best Cole win.






Eric Bell lives and writes in Pennsylvania. He was once in middle school. He survived. You will too. Alan Cole Is Not a Coward is his debut novel, followed by Alan Cole Doesn't Dance. 


You can purchase Eric's books through an independent bookstore HERE.


And find Eric Bell online at




*This post contains affiliate links. Any purchases made through these links will support the costs of maintaining the podcast, webcomic, and other materials associated with this site. 


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