Palzis books prod kids to behave


POSTED: Sunday, July 19, 2009

In the middle of a busy filmmaking career, Chris Palzis noticed a missing piece in the children's book market. Not many products promoted values like good manners. After spending time with his friends' poorly behaved children, he knew there was a need.

A few days later, after an unsuccessful search at a bookstore, he produced a first draft and began searching for an illustrator. After teaming with Ron Noble, the Emmy Award-winning animation director for “;The Rugrats,”; they tackled “;Good Sportsmanship Is Fun”; and “;Good Grades Are Fun.”; The final result is the wholesome, three-book Goodness Gracious Club series he self-published and made available on his Web site, http://www.goodnessgraciousclub.com.

A recent visit to Honolulu to read aloud to students and promote his new endeavor made the 1986 Punahou graduate nostalgic for his roots.

“;I have a special allegiance in my heart for Hawaii because I feel it gets overlooked,”; Palzis said from his home base in Los Angeles. “;Geographically, it's so challenged. I felt it was a great way to reconnect with my family and give back at the same time.”;

Palzis, who is part Hawaiian and the half brother of actress Kelly Preston (married to John Travolta), said he was raised with a spiritual background.

“;I've always felt very connected to the land and the people, and have every aspiration to move home,”; he said.





        Book series aimed toward kids 3 to 10

» Cost: $39.90 for trio of books; individually, “;Good Manners Are Fun,”; “;Good Sportsmanship Is Fun”; and “;Good Grades Are Fun”; cost $19.95


» Visit: www.GoodnessGraciousClub.com, or call (310) 306-9271




After studying screenwriting and film production at the University of Southern California, he began working his way up over the years from coffee boy to producer/writer/director, often doing so without pay to learn from industry greats like Mike Nichols and Cameron Crowe.

Though he still has films in development, his primary focus is now on the children's books about morals and values, a rather dramatic shift from “;Bad Trip,”; a 1999 guys-on-a-road-trip comedy he wrote and directed, starring rapper Coolio and Kevin Connolly of “;Entourage.”;

According to a 2005 Star-Bulletin article about Palzis, the movie made little impact for several years until Coolio and Krayzie Bone shot—in Hawaii—a music video prequel to the movie entitled “;I Don't Wanna Die.”; Subsequently, “;Bad Trip”; was released on DVD through Lions Gate.

Because the journey of a film is even more layered and complex than that of a book, Palzis says he likes the structure of his new venture.

“;Making a book is just me and one other guy in a basement or a garage, whereas film is such a collaborative effort,”; he said. “;It's such a different animal.”;

AS A FILMMAKER and now a book author, he gravitates toward autonomy and the ability to control expenses.

Not quite ready to launch the books through retail outlets, Palzis instead wants to focus on Internet marketing and possibly an Internet video contest related to the “;good”; themes. The book series already has been featured on the Bravo Channel.

In Palzis' own upbringing, good manners were paramount.

“;I was surrounded by women,”; he said. “;My grandmother, my mother and my sister made it clear to me at a very young age that I'd better be treating everyone—from every walk of life—politely and with respect. And, of course, in that household, I certainly learned to revere women with chivalry and sensitivity.”;

He also noted his experiences as a kid who was temporarily uprooted from Hawaii and moved to Australia, where he struggled to fit in.

“;That's why writing these books became so important to me,”; he explained. “;These are tools for children to excel in the basic fundamentals of everyday life.”;

Designed for ages 3 to 10, each book features its own characters—highlighted on the Goodness Gracious Club Web site—and plot to illustrate the benefits of behaving in a respectful manner.

“;Being polite is a way of life,”; says Palzis. “;Our kids today are going to need every advantage to succeed. That's why I wrote these books. I wanted to help them find their way, one good act after another.”;