News, Notes & Inside Info from a Children’s Book Author

Archive for February, 2010

Rules for Writing

Sunday, February 28th, 2010 Posted in the writing process | No Comments »


The Guardian recently ran a series of two articles titled, "Ten Rules for Writing Fiction." It was inspired by Elmore Leonard's famous and fabulous list (which I wrote about back in Oct, 2008). The folks at The Guardian asked a ...

51 Great Bob Dylan Covers: A Chronological Guide

Friday, February 26th, 2010 Posted in Greatest Hits, Music | 10 Comments »


I'm a sucker for cover tunes. I'm always curious to hear a fresh new take on a song, almost any song. It's like a conversation between two artists, a nod, a wink, a genuflection. Sometimes it's pure fun; other times, ...

Fan Mail Wednesday #78-80 (Thursday Edition)

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010 Posted in Family, Fan Mail, Jigsaw Jones, Uncategorized | No Comments »


My apologies -- bloggy weirdness going on with my typeface below, but I've already spent too much time trying to fix it. The truth is, I'm not good at letting these things go (I like my i's dotted and my ...

The Bystander Effect

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010 Posted in Bystander, bullying | 2 Comments »


Very interesting short video -- maybe it seems a little familiar at first -- which makes a couple of keen observations about bystander apathy, "the diffusion of responsibility," and how one person can create a new group (at 2:36 in ...

James Preller Interviews . . . Kurtis Scaletta, author of “Mudville” and “Mamba Point”

Sunday, February 21st, 2010 Posted in Interviews & Appreciations | 3 Comments »


Sorry, you're going to have to wait a minute. I know you're in a big hurry and everything. People nowadays expect their blog entertainment to run like clockwork, click, click, click on that mouse. Well, go grab a seat. There's ...

Music Video Weekend/Poetry Friday Combo Platter: “Gentle On My Mind”

Friday, February 19th, 2010 Posted in Music | 3 Comments »


While I was writing it, if I had any idea that was going to be a hit, it probably would have come out differently and it wouldn't have been a hit. That just came real fast, a blaze, a blur." —John ...

A Comment from Geoffrey Hayes: Books for Boys

Thursday, February 18th, 2010 Posted in In the Classroom, Readings, The Gender Gap in Reading | No Comments »


I don't usually highlight a reader's comment in this way, but comments to old posts tend to get lost in the slipstream. I recently heard from author/illustrator Geoffrey Hayes, recent Geisel Award winner, in response to something I'd written a ...

Fan Mail Wednesday #77

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010 Posted in Bystander, Fan Mail, the writing process | No Comments »


Let's cut the preamble and get right down to it. Dear Mr. Preller, I am an English Major. Your novel, Bystander was brought back by my professor as a 'prize" when she attended an annual English Teacher Conference. I didn't get the ...

Children’s Books That Address Intolerance . . . On Several Fronts

Tuesday, February 16th, 2010 Posted in Bystander | 1 Comment »


Kendal Rautzhan, a nationally syndicated columnist, recently ran an article about children's books that addressed intolerance. The article featured three books: Let's Talk About Race by Julius Lester, illustrated by Karen Barbour Sit-In: How Four Friends Stood Up By Sitting Down by ...

Dear Teacher: An Author’s Take on School Visits

Monday, February 15th, 2010 Posted in Greatest Hits, In the Classroom, School Visits | 6 Comments »


I have been enjoying school visits for the past 15 years. I've played a role in great successes and I've had visits that have felt flat and, for me at least, unrealized. Same guy. What was the difference? Which is another way ...