I met Ned Vizzini twelve years ago when I invited him to visit Morenci Middle School to talk about his first book TEEN ANGST. He was a huge hit! He made an immediate connection with our small town Michigan kids.
Ned made a return visit after he wrote BE MORE CHILL. Once again he was a hit with the students in both the middle school and high school, some of whom were already his fans. Unfortunately, some members of the school administration at the time of this second visit were not as open-minded as the student body, and I was criticized for inviting an author who would have the nerve to use the term "masturbation" in the presence of a teen audience.
Well, I knew that Ned's genuine voice truly spoke to teens and inspired them so I worked with our public library and arranged two more visits with Ned over the coming years. He was greeted by enthusiastic audiences and new readers were exposed to his wonderful writing. Each time he came to Morenci, Michigan, he expressed his love for our tiny town and hoped to some day bring members of his family to visit.
In October Ned agreed to Skype with the college students in my Children's Literature class at Siena Heights University in Adrian, Michigan. He talked about HOUSE OF SECRETS and answered questions about his TV writing career. He was hilarious as usual and full of excitement about his family and his new career adventures.
I will always remember Ned and his contributions. He will be greatly missed.