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Are you ready?

I don’t think you are, tough guy.
What’s that you say? What is Man DAY?

Well, I’ll tell ya.

In the 35 years that Greenwillow Books has been publishing, the Man has been a rare beast, much like the sasquatch or the Loch Ness monster. It wasn’t until art director Paul Zakris took the reins from Ava Weiss that the Man was first introduced to the halls of Greenwillow. On this day, Man began to establish himself. Once a foreign species is introduced to a land, it begins to spread. On March 25th, 2002, Steve Geck and I started at Greenwillow.  A year to the day later, Tim Smith took over for Phyllis Larkin, thus establishing the first official Man Day—the day the Men had settled under the Greenwillow tree.

The official Man Day award.

In the past Greenwillow has celebrated Man Day by plastering the halls with “Manly posters” (see below), listening to Manly songs (mainly tunes from old Westerns, the Monty Python “Lumberjack” song, and a certain Martin Mull tune entitled “Men, Men, Men”). Some of us even dressed up, Mad Men–style, for the occasion. Even our authors and illustrators got involved: Katherine Hannigan renamed all her cats for the day with more “manly” names. Another year, Chris Crutcher won the Man of the Year award simply for being the man that he is, in addition to a certain story in The King of the Mild Frontier. The award was later given to Tim Smith for growing a Man Day beard. Which he still has to this day. How will you celebrate Man Day?

Characteristics of a “MAN” by Janet Saltzman Chafetz [title?] (1974, pp. 35-36)

1. Physical—virile, athletic, strong, brave. Unconcerned about appearance and aging

2. Functional—provider for family, defender of family from physical threat

3. Sexual—sexually aggressive, experienced. Single status acceptable

4. Emotional—unemotional, stoic, never crying

5. Intellectual—logical, intellectual, rational, objective, practical

6. Interpersonal—leader, dominating, disciplinarian, independent, free, individualistic, demanding

7. Other personal characteristics—success-oriented, ambitious, aggressive, competitive, proud, egotistical, moral, trustworthy, decisive, uninhibited, adventurous

Footnote from the editor: Chad, just like a man, got his facts wrong. Ethan Campbell was the first man at Greenwillow. He was an editorial assistant from 1999–2001. He overlapped with Bob the Temp [Robert Jackson].

After wandering in the wilds of RISD and a brief stint at Scholastic, Chad W. Beckerman worked as MAN DESIGNER of Greenwillow for four years—or, as he likes to calculate it, 1,425 days and 2,235 jelly donuts. In 2006, he became MAN ART DIRECTOR of Abrams Books for Young Readers and Amulet Books, where he designs the bestselling Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, among many other books. Unlike Sasquatch, we’re pretty sure he really exists.


  1. cindy says:

    *gives you steak, beer, and gummi bears*
    cause admit it, you love the gummi bears. =)

  2. Barbara says:

    Back in the Pre-Man Dark Ages, the younger women of Greenwillow killed big bugs, lifted heavy cartons of books, and flipped the bottle on the water cooler, all by ourselves. Those were dark days, indeed! (Maybe that explains my shoulder surgery and Robin Roy’s moving 3000 miles away?) LONG LIVE MAN DAY! (which is best proclaimed over a background of manly music.)


  3. Mai says:

    you forgot to put that they can open jars…

  4. For numbers 1-7, I seem to be deficit. Maybe next time I visit GWB, I should take man lessons.

  5. mer_barnes says:

    This is hysterical!! I will celebrate Man Day by having one buy me dinner. Brilliant!

  6. Michelle says:

    If it were me, I’d make some changes to that list. For example:

    1. Physical: Able to open jar of pickles and move furniture hither and thither without too much of a struggle.

    2. Functional: Provider for family of inappropriate jokes, defender of family from ownership of the remote control.

    4. Emotional: Only during Modern Family and that baby episode of The Office.

    5. Intellectual: Knows when to say “You’re right, dear” and walk away.

    Just my two cents, though. :-)

  7. Virginia says:

    Do we need to ship the Man of the Year award to Abrams?

  8. Does that mean I won Man of the Year this year?

  9. cindy says:

    what exactly is happening in that last foto?

  10. mb says:

    Presently, Mr. Beckerman works down the hall from me, where he stinks the place up with manly lunch food and terrorizes unsuspecting assistants in a very manly way. Tho he has thrown objects at me, a woman, I’ve never seen him throw a punch.

  11. Virginia says:

    Chad, I believe we need to hear from Tim. Tim?

  12. Megan Whalen Turner says:

    Tim isn’t here. He’s locked in his office clutching the Man Prize.

  13. Tim Smith says:

    Thanks for the essay, brother. I had forgotten about the time Katherine temporarily renamed her cats (and wrote a hilariously funny account of their Man Day pursuits). For jogging my memory alone, you deserve the 2010 MOTY. Let’s split a roast chicken and a carafe of white wine for lunch when the weather’s nicer.

    I spent the entirety of Man Day 2010 outdoors with children. I fell asleep on the couch at 9:30. It was a deep, restorative, manly sleep.

    Thanks, men.

  14. Robin Roy says:

    I used to be in charge if throwing on new water bottles for the troops. But I sure wish I’d been around for Man Day….

  15. Robin Roy says:

    Oh, and Susan reputedly had ONE male assistant even back before my time. For a minute, I think.

  16. Robin Roy says:

    Yikes. How do you fix a typo in a blog entry already submitted? See above.

  17. Patrick says:

    I was just flipping through some sites to see what was out there in regards to men’s days and found your site. Well done! I am a creator of National Man Day LLC (www.thereturnofman.com) and we love to see how many different sites and variations there are in men celebrating being men. Feel free to come check us out and post anything you like in our forum/sign our petition to make National Man Day an actual holiday!

  18. […] year, another Man Day! But don’t think for a moment that we’re resting on the laurels of our holiday and service […]

  19. […] so it was an historic moment when he visited the Greenwillow offices last week. We talked about Man Day (do we need a countdown widget or something?), Period 8 (CC’s new novel), sports and politics […]

  20. […] somehow made it this far in life without learning about Man Day, you can get caught up here, here, here, and here. This particular Man Day, we’re preparing for a move downtown, and […]

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