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The King of Average

If you were more average than anyone else, would that finally make you exceptional? James doesn't believe he's very good at anything, but he's not that bad at anything either.

When he decides to become most average kid in the entire world, things begin to happen that would never happen to an ordinary kid. He is thrust into another world called the Realm of Possibility, where the Kingdom of Average has lost its king.  James is recruited by a talking Scapegoat named Mayor Culpa, to replace him. Along the way they meet a professional Optimist and his grouchy companion, an equally professional Pessimist called Kiljoy.

Together with his new friends, James sets out on a journey of self-discovery that leads him all the way from Lake Inferior and the Sea of Doubt, to the Unattainable Mountains, whose highest peak is Mt. Impossible . There he stumbles upon a Shangri-La called Epiphany, where he discovers the truth about who he really is.

This delightful, pun-filled allegory was inspired by The Phantom Tollbooth -- but not derivative -- the book is fast-moving and funny, with a touch of sadness. It reminds us all that average is not easy since everyone is special in some way.



Awarded the Kirkus Star – Selected as Kirkus’ Indie Book of the Month (April 2016)

“A skilled and witty tale about a boy who would be king that should appeal to children and adults.  --This is a volume that kids and parents can read together because it works on two levels—young ones should love the adventure-packed plot and hilarious characters, and grown-ups should chuckle at the wordplay embedded in every page. Schwartz’s characters are more than clever—they’re ingenious.    ...Schwartz’s nicely succinct writing style places the focus on the striking worlds he creates. The book delivers an important lesson—be your own hero.  With this debut, the author should soon be a hero to readers everywhere.”              —KIRKUS REVIEW


“This delightful, pun-filled allegory tells the story of a neglected boy who is convinced that he has no worth.  ...the book is fast-moving and funny, with a touch of sadness. It will appeal to adults as much as YA readers, reminding all that average is not easy since everyone is special in his or her own way.” —BookLife Prize for Fiction

“THE KING OF AVERAGE is a unique fantasy with a powerfully encouraging message for youth.”  —IndieReader

"Gary Schwartz's The King of Average is engaging, imaginative, entertaining and funny while also exploring real emotional depths. It's like reading a lost work of L. Frank Baum."         —Brian McDonald author of Invisible Ink and The Golden Theme

"The King of Average" by Gary Schwartz is an hilarious, adventure-packed, epic journey to find self-worth. As thoroughly 'kid friendly' as it is consistently entertaining, "The King of Average" is all the more impressive when considering that it is author Gary Schwartz debut as a novelist. Highly recommended for school and community library children's fiction collections.  —Midwest Book Review

Gary Schwartz has written a book for all young people, but especially for those who have slipped between the cracks in their homes or communities. He takes an emotionally neglected child through an incredible journey that introduces him to his true self.   —Jonice Webb, PhD., author of Running on Empty: Overcome Your Childhood Emotional Neglect

Profile Photo Gary Schwartz

About Gary Schwartz

Originally from New York State, Gary Schwartz began his professional career as a mime at age 13, performing up and down the Hudson River with Pete Seegar and the great folk entertainers of the 60’s. In the 80’s he appeared in numerous film and television projects including the Oscar-winning feature film Quest for Fire. As a voice-over artist, he’s lent his voice to hundreds of film and TV projects and is the voice of several well-known video game characters, including Heavy Weapons Guy and Demoman in Team Fortress 2.

Schwartz has written for two children’s television series in which he co-starred: Zoobilee Zoo as Bravo Fox and the Disney Channel’s “You and Me, Kid”.

Gary studied with and became the protégé of Viola Spolin the creator of Theater Games, the basis for Improvisational theater in America and is a passionate, dynamic improv coach and facilitator devoted to carrying on Spolin’s techniques.

The King of Average is his first novel. Learn more about him at

All books by Gary Schwartz

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