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

Archive for July, 2010

Literate Lives Reviews “Justin Fisher Declares War!”

Thursday, July 29th, 2010 Posted in In the Classroom, Justin Fisher Declares War! | 1 Comment »


My friend Bill Prosser over at the outstanding Literate Lives blog just read and reviewed my new book, Justin Fisher Declares War! You can read that review in full by clicking here. My favorite part of the review: "It's short!" Ha! Actually, Bill ...

Building Character

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010 Posted in the writing process | No Comments »


There are a million ways to create a well-rounded character, and all of them crystallize with concrete details. Today I'd like to share one small example. I was reading an interview with a young actress, Elisabeth Moss, and a couple of ...

Guest Blogger at Mackids

Monday, July 26th, 2010 Posted in A Pirates Guide (Series), the writing process | No Comments »


I contributed to the cyber-clutter by posting over at the Mackids blog. Kathryn Hurley had asked me to write something about A Pirate's Guide to First Grade. I mulled that over for a week or so, and came up with ...

Another Starred Review for “A Pirate’s Guide”

Monday, July 26th, 2010 Posted in A Pirates Guide (Series), Uncategorized | 1 Comment »


This makes me happy. A Pirate's Guide to First Grade earned a second starred review, this time from Publishers Weekly . . . "This rambunctious first day tale is fit for any young buccaneer. Leading an imaginary crew who are drawn ...

Jack’s Mustache

Thursday, July 22nd, 2010 Posted in Justin Fisher Declares War!, the writing process | No Comments »


Does anyone read Acknowledgments? I mean, I know that some folks do, but I doubt there are many young readers among that number. We knew that the Acknowledgments section was a useless body part, a pretentious sixth digit, folderol to ...

Starred Review from SLJ!

Tuesday, July 20th, 2010 Posted in A Pirates Guide (Series) | 3 Comments »


This Just In: The first mainstream review for my new picture book, A Pirate's Guide to First Grade, illustrated by Greg Ruth. The review appears in the August issue of School Library Journal, and was written by Jasmine L. Precopio. What ...

Fan Mail Wednesday #92 (Monday Edition: Writing Tips!)

Monday, July 19th, 2010 Posted in Fan Mail, the writing process | No Comments »


I've been bad with the fan mail lately. Here's one from a young writer: Hi Mr. Preller, I hope you remember me. You wrote a message in one of my jigsaw Jones books saying that I have talent and that I should ...

Cue the Inspiration: Hey Jude

Thursday, July 15th, 2010 Posted in Music, the writing process | 2 Comments »


Two days ago I handed in the first draft for my next book, an untitled Young Adult novel. Actually, the working title has been Jude, Adrift, but I wonder about the commercial appeal of that title. Does it sound like ...

Absent Parents in Children’s Literature

Tuesday, July 13th, 2010 Posted in Bystander, Jigsaw Jones, Six Innings, the writing process | 2 Comments »


A friend of mine, author David Klein -- whose debut novel, Stash, is due out later this month -- alerted me to a recent interweb discussion about absentee parents in children's literature. Literary agent Nathan Bransford summarized the debate here, while ...

This Feels Like an Amazing Clue from a Supernatural Mystery

Friday, July 9th, 2010 Posted in Fun Clips, the writing process | 1 Comment »


I love this. Not only the creative inspiration -- that someone saw those birds on the wire and made the imaginative leap to note them as musical symbols -- but also that he, Jarbas Agnelli, had the energy and enthusiasm ...