Twenty years ago, a group of musically inclined authors that include Stephen King, Dave Barry and Amy Tan (all who have since been advised repeatedly not to quit their day jobs), played their first benefit concert at an ABA conference in Anaheim. This year, on Bob Dylan’s 70th birthday, two of the Remainders – Barry and his writing partner Ridley Pearson – collaborated with Rick Riordan, Eoin Colfer, and Mo Willems (on the triangle) to write and “perform” a protest song for guests at Disney’s BEA dinner Tuesday night at the NYC restaurant Riverpark.

“The protest, of course, is against all these people who have no business writing children’s books,” Barry said, before launching into “Everybody’s Writin’ a Goddam Children’s Book,” a plea, sung to the tune of Dylan’s “Blowin’ in the Wind,” urging Madonna, Justin Bieber and others to return their attention to whatever it was that made them famous in the first place. Each of the Children’s Remainder authors took the lead on a verse, beginning with Barry:

Madonna should go back to posing for porn

Julie Andrews, return to the screen

McCartney and Sting: put down your pens and sing!

We’re not saying this to be mean

But if nobody stops this, there soon will appear

A book of bedtime tales by Charlie Sheen


Everybody’s writin’ a goddam children’s book!

Everybody’s writin’ a children’s book!

The “performance” included a spirited triangle solo by Willems, who possibly will never be allowed to handle a triangle again. Riordan played guitar and made fun of himself in the verse in which he sang lead:

Why do we think Justin Bieber can write

Because he has been on TV?

Yes’n why would you buy ‘Think Big, Little Pig,’

Because it’s by Kristi Yamaguchi

Yes’n how many thriller writers will we let change their genre?

…Except, of course, for me.

When contacted for comment, Dylan shook his head sadly and vowed to stop having birthdays so no more tributes like this one could be written in his honor. “Maybe they ought to stick to books,” he rasped.