Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern


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Zhizhong Xu/Daily Senior Staffer
The Odenkirks sign copies of their poetry book, “Zilot & Other Important Rhymes,” for attendees after the talk.

Actor and writer Bob Odenkirk and his children, Erin and Nate Odenkirk, discussed their children’s poetry book Saturday in Cahn Auditorium as part of the Chicago Humanities Festival’s annual Evanston Day. 

During the event, the Odenkirks — alongside moderator Peter Sagalread their poems aloud and discussed the process of creating “Zilot & Other Important Rhymes,” including the unique dynamics of working with family. 

Bob Odenkirk, known for his roles in “Breaking Bad” and “Better Call Saul,” said he wanted to write poems with his children to show his kids they could contribute their own creations to the world. 

“It’s important because I think people are held back by imagining that it’s impossible to do that,” Odenkirk said. 

When Erin and Nate Odenkirk were young, their parents would read to them before bed, Erin Odenkirk said. And, she added, they would all sit down to write poems together. 

Erin Odenkirk said she revisited these childhood poems with her father when she came home from college during the COVID-19 pandemic. While he revised the previously written childhood poems and added new ones, Erin Odenkirk drew accompanying illustrations. This collaborative effort produced their new book, a collection of more than 70 poems.

Bob Odenkirk said collaborating with his daughter was a “surprisingly professional effort.” He said this may have been because of his children’s exposure to the process of developing a pitch from a young age.

Erin Odenkirk also commented on the father-daughter work dynamic.  

“I see him as a teacher. But I didn’t ever stop seeing him as my dad,” she said. “I was invited to hold my own and be seen as a peer while still being a daughter.”

Nate Odenkirk said being listened to and having his “nonsensical” work taken seriously by an adult when he was a child has allowed him to be creative. 

The sentiments resonated with audience members including Chelsea Sams and Murielle Standley, a PhD candidate in communication sciences and disorders. 

Sams said she was surprised by how open the discussion was and added that it encouraged her to reflect on the value of adults listening to children’s thoughts and “nonsense.” 

“It allows kids to have more creativity and just pursue things that they want instead of being shut down so early,” she said.

Standley related the discussion to her experiences with her own children, whom she brought to the event. She said it was “really cool” that the Odenkirks made this book after reading together, something she did with her own children when they were young. 

Copies of “Zilot & Other Important Rhymes” were available for sale at the event. Sams and Standley were two among dozens of attendees who waited in line to get their copies signed following the discussion. 

Bob Odenkirk expressed his hope that readers not only buy and enjoy the book but also take inspiration from it.

“I want people that read this to go, ‘I can do that with my kids,’” he said.

Email: [email protected]

Email: [email protected] 

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