Fan Mail Wednesday #19 (Clinton Edition)

I’m a day late and I know you’re upset.

But you’ve got to move past that, okay? Don’t let it eat at you. Trust me, I’ve read books about this. What you’ve got to do is take that anger, that hurt feeling, and let it fly, fly away like a little white bird. There, see how easy that was?

Come on, people! Give me a break here. I KNOW it’s not Wednesday. But try to think of “Fan Mail Wednesday” more as a state of mind than an actual, literal day on the calender. Work with me on this: It’s always Wednesday!

No, you can’t storm off in a huff to Matthew Cordell’s blog. Why not? Why not?! Well, for starters, his wife, author Julie Halpern, just had a baby. Matthew doesn’t have time to blog! You think he has time to blog? Forget blogging. He’s never going to blog again. He’s going to be busy for the next two . . . three . . . eighteen years.

Her name is Romy, by the way. Fortunately, she is too young to realize that her mother, Julie, has HUGE, HORRIFYING hands.

So: I recently visited Clinton Elementary School in Maplewood, New Jersey. It was a great visit to a lively, happy school. However, I did come away with one concern — I’m fairly certain the principal had four feet, a tail, and answered to the name, “Buddy.”

I love it when we can arrange to eat lunch with a small group of students. It offers me the chance to interact with kids. Well, this lunch was the best ever. We laughed all the time — one girl actually turned purple — and we talked about writing, movies, flying dreams, Alex Torres & His Latin Orchestra, the Election, brownies vs. cookies, and the times when some of us laughed so hard that soda poured out of our noses (hey, it happens).

Composed of a range of students from 1st to 5th grade, I felt like I was sitting at the United Nations, with students born in Nigeria, Brazil, Puerto Rico, Italy, the Philippines and other far-flung places. There was even a real, live “Jersey Girl!” In order to get selected for this lunch, the students had the option of writing a brief essay, explaining why they would like to have lunch with James Preller. Here’s some of my favorite lines:

I like eating with someone that is why I like to have some lunch with an author.

November 3rd is my brithday and I couldn’t think of a better present!

I never had an experience to eat lunch with the best author in the world.

I looooove his books. They are so mysterious and funny. He is the BEST author I have read books from.

I’ll even bring a notepad just in case I win and I could take notes about him. I already know that he has two cats. But I want to know the names of the cats, too.

I’m always in the mood for a good mystery! Who isn’t?!

I have never in my young life had lunch with any author really. So this might be my chance to have lunch with JAMES PRELLER!

Thank you, Clinton Elementary, wherever you are! And my special thanks to Sharon Edelberg and Liz Salituri.


  1. Miss Kents' & Mrs.Banks' 3rd grade class says:

    Dear Mr. Preller,
    Thanks so much for coming to Clinton School & thanks for writing such nice things about us on your blog. We think you are the greatest author of mysteries in the world! Oh-by the way, Buddy the dog is not our principal–he’s our school mascot, silly. All of us who bought autographed books love them and love what you wrote. Thank you for taking the time to sign so many books! Love, Clinton Kids

  2. jimmy says:

    Hey, it was my pleasure. I had a great time visiting the rainbow that is Clinton School.

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