See J.Lo And Ben Run

Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez, 2003/7/27
The latest activity for celebrities — in addition to getting engaged and un-engaged — is writing books for children. Jamie Lee Curtis and Katie Couric have written children's books. Henry Winkler, John Lithgow, and Julie Andrews all have kids' books out right now. So does Lynne Cheney. Madonna wrote a book for kids, and I heard there aren't any naked pictures in it.

As these books become increasingly popular, we'll probably be seeing more and more famous people grinding out stories for kids. Look for the following at your local bookstore just in time for Christmas shopping:

Cher's book, "If They Don't Like You The Way You Are, Just Change The Way You Look" should be helpful to many kids' self-esteem. In a bit of a religious message, Cher explains that "If God didn't want us to get nips and tucks now and then, he wouldn't have created plastic surgeons."

Mike Tyson's "Mike's World" is about a kid who grows up on a planet where he is the only person who had a terrible childhood. Despite that, the inhabitants of Planet Mike give him hundreds of millions of candy bars. He eats some of them, but most of them he gives away or loses. He blames everyone else for his misfortune, and his advice to other children is, "Just tell those **!!! to ***!!! themselves."

In Martha Stewart's "The Perfect Little Girl," we find the story of Little Martha, who dresses impeccably, knows all the answers in school, and can make a cake plate out of Popsicle sticks and airplane glue. Little Martha is teased by other kids for always being perfect and bragging about it. However, she learns that the reason others don't like her is just because they are jealous of her. A nice bonus is that after children read the book — and if they follow the directions and make their cuts and folds perfectly — they can turn this book into a delightful 12-room dollhouse, complete with screening room and maids' quarters.

Colin Powell's "How Did I Get In This Position?" is a morality tale. Little Colin has to decide between saying what he knows is right and saying what the people who bought him all his toys want him to say.

In Bill Clinton's "This Stuff Can Kill You," the former president rails against the evils of tobacco. Little Billy learns that even if you don't inhale, just owning a cigarette or a cigar can lead to trouble.

As books by celebrities become more and more popular, we can expect to see works by lesser and lesser celebrities. I look forward to a children's guide to dental hygiene by Barbra Streisand's periodontist, and an educational story about nutrition and making correct change, written by Shaquille O'Neal's former grocery store checker.

We'll definitely see a book from The Goofy Neighbor On That Sitcom Whose Name You Can't Remember. "Not Everybody Can Be A Star" will be based on the actor's own inspiring story. In it, Little Biff isn't the best looking, most popular, or smartest kid in the neighborhood, but he tries the hardest. One day, all his efforts are rewarded when Mr. Evergreen gives him a job as a helper at his candy store. It's the happiest day of Little Biff's life because his hard work has finally paid off, somebody believes in him, and Biff knows that as soon as Mr. Evergreen really needs him, he'll renegotiate his deal and get as much money for himself as possible.

Lloyd Garver has written for many television shows, ranging from "Sesame Street" to "Family Ties" to "Frasier." He has also read many books, some of them in hardcover.

By Lloyd Garver