Book signing Thurs., Aug. 30 @ 6 p.m. — Macon Barnes & Noble

Author Jonathan Grant with Brambleman at Macon Barnes and Noble

On the way back from a trip, I stopped by the Macon Barnes and Noble this afternoon and saw that the good people there are ready for the book signing this Thursday, August 30. If you’re in Middle Georgia, drop by. I’ll be signing copies of Brambleman and Chain Gang Elementary from 6 p.m. to whenever. If you can’t make it–and I hope you can—I’ll also be appearing at the Thornbriar Press booth at the Decatur Book Festival this Saturday and Sunday. If you want to know more about any of these events, email

Click here for more info on Brambleman.

Click here for more info on Chain Gang Elementary.

Florida PTA starts school year missing up to $25,000

What a way to start the school year.

Springhead Elementary’s PTA is short between $15,000 and $25,000 to start the school year following some apparent board chaos last year. The treasurer at the time was elected president, but she has told a reporter that she is no longer affiliated with the organization. 

This debacle in Plant City, Florida will take some sorting out, and two law enforcement agencies are involved.

From Tampa Bay Online:

Bridgitte Kramer, president of the Hillsborough County Council for PTA chapters, said everything had been all right with the Springhead PTA earlier in the year — until there was a major shuffle in board members.

“I think that’s where the negligence happened,” Kramer said, “when it was not monitored quite as tightly.”

Lisa Shirah had been Springhead PTA’s acting treasurer when she was voted in as president in May, Kramer said.

In a brief telephone call Monday, Shirah said she no longer was affiliated with the PTA at Springhead.

Most PTA chapters are encouraged to do annual audits, and about 95 percent of them do. “The ones who don’t do the audits are the ones who end up having a problem,” Kramer said.

And now, Springhead — a school with many migrant and farmworker families — has a problem as it begins the new school year today.

Read more.


Buh-bye. Jim McMahan whips incumbent in DeKalb School runoff

And good riddance. Paul Womack injected partisanship into what was supposed to be a nonpartisan race four years ago and ended up being a strident, divisive voice. He was pushing his party affiliation in the runoff, as well. I wish Mr. McMahan good luck and hope he is able to rebuild some of the bridges his predecessor burned.

From the Patch:

Jim McMahan defeated district 4 incumbent Paul Womack on Tuesday night in the DeKalb school board runoff.

With all 26 precincts reporting, McMahan defeated Womack 65 percent to 35 percent.

During the campaign, McMahan sent Patch a clear message about where he stood, saying: “For the fourth year in a row the school system has spent more money than the school board approved. If you feel like the school system is on the right track for academic success, vote for the incumbent. If you want your board member to get your school a cell tower, then vote for the incumbent. But, if you want the school system to focus on the students first, vote for Jim McMahan!”

Womack, the District 4 incumbent, told Patch: “I’ve spoken to a great many people and found that while there is a great deal of dissatisfaction with the school board, very little of it is aimed at me.”

Guess again. Looks like the people voted with their votes. 

 Read more.

Chain Gang “darkly funny, entertaining, well-written, & has a great deal of heart”

Here’s a snippet of a very well-written review by Shay at Shay’s Word Garden:

What happens when a stay-at-home dad with demons in his past takes the position of PTO president (and soccer coach) at his son’s elementary school? Why, Machiavellian plots, shocking betrayals, a kinky affair, grand larceny, spying, bodies being unburied (literally!) and gun play, of course.

Author Jonathan Grant has taken a crew of Anytown stock characters and set them down in a suburban twilight zone of school year craziness. He eases the reader into this story so skillfully that it all seems completely plausible, not to mention hugely entertaining, when it all veers off into a wild and darkly comic bad trip of a climax.

Chain Gang Elementary is darkly funny, entertaining, well-written, and has a great deal of heart.

You can read the review at Shay’s Word Garden. If you have trouble reading the font, you can also read it at

To download a flyer about this uniquely entertaining book, click here. 



Dramatic gains in Latino college enrollment

Even as the Dream Act languishes and states like Georgia take a hostile view on undocumented students, the world is changing underneath our feet.

From Inside Higher Ed:

Latino enrollments in higher education passed several milestones in 2011, according to a new report from the Pew Hispanic Center:

  • Latino students are now the largest minority group among four-year college and university students.
  • Latino students now make up one quarter of community college enrollments.
  • Total Latino enrollment has passed 2 million students, or 16.5 percent of all college enrollments.

Read more.

For today’s college freshmen, Richard Nixon has always been dead

From Inside Higher Ed:

Beloit College marks the start of new academic years by releasing its annual  “mindset list” — helping academics understand that their newest students didn’t  experience (except maybe from reading on Wikipedia) that may have shaped their  professors. Some highlights of the new list, released today:

For the entering class, most born in 1994:

  • Kurt Cobain, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Richard Nixon and John Wayne Gacy  have always been dead.
  • They have always lived in cyberspace, addicted to a new generation of “electronic narcotics.”
  • If they miss “The Daily Show,” they can always get their news on  YouTube.
  • Robert De Niro is thought of as Greg Focker’s long-suffering  father-in-law, not as Vito Corleone or Jimmy Conway.
  • Bill Clinton is a senior statesman about whose presidency they have little  knowledge.
  • They have never seen an airplane “ticket.”
  • For most of their lives, maintaining relations between the U.S. and the rest  of the world has been a woman’s job in the State Department.
  • Their folks have never gazed with pride on a new set of bound  encyclopedias on the bookshelf.

The full list, plus previous year’s lists, may be found here.

Read more.