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

Archive for March, 2011

Fan Mail Wednesday #111 (Re: Book Titles)

Thursday, March 31st, 2011 Posted in Bystander, Fan Mail, Justin Fisher Declares War!, bullying, the writing process | 2 Comments »


- Don't you love the icon that I use for every Fan Mail Wednesday? A word of explanation for younger readers: It's an illustration of something we used to call "a letter." You see, long ago, we used to -- and ...

So How About Dem Mets?

Monday, March 28th, 2011 Posted in New York Mets | 2 Comments »


I'm off again to another couple of hotels, and more schools to visit. The trips always turn out nice, and I'm grateful for them, but I'm such a homebody. And also: I miss my desk, my work, my wife, my kids, ...

Stories Behind the Story: The Case of the Frog-Jumping Contest

Monday, March 21st, 2011 Posted in Fan Mail, Jigsaw Jones, the writing process | No Comments »


There's a little bit of Mark Twain in this book, mostly from two sources, his short story "The Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County," and, of course, his Huckleberry Finn character. The story begins with a standard thriller device, the ticking ...

Thought for the Day

Friday, March 18th, 2011 Posted in Around the Web | No Comments »


I put this up on the Fathers Read blog, but had to double-dip. Thanks to Deb Hanson (Real Men Read with Kids) for the heads up. And if you are not checking out Fathers Read, then you're dead to me. Seriously: you're ...

Random Scans: Artwork, Letters, Assorted Awesomeness

Thursday, March 17th, 2011 Posted in Fan Mail, School Visits | 1 Comment »


I've mentioned that I'm in school visit mode, and it's a trying time in terms of productivity. When I'm at a school, I'll often be handed a package of notes or artwork, along with a cupcake and a smile. Here's a ...

School Visit Central: Fuel Me Up

Monday, March 14th, 2011 Posted in In the Classroom, School Visits | No Comments »


I'm in the middle of school visit season, and it bears repeating: Authors don't do school visits; schools do author visits. By the time I arrive, 90% of the work is done. The students are either primed and ready, or not. The ...

Cyberbullying Link Dump

Saturday, March 12th, 2011 Posted in Bystander, bullying | No Comments »


I've been reading a lot about cyberbullying in preparation for Tuesday night's panel discussion. Here's a quick link dump of a sampling of the better articles. Colin Archer/AP Photo * White House Ready to Rumble With Cyberbullies: President Obama takes a strong ...

Cyberbullying Panel Discussion, March 15 in Albany, NY

Friday, March 11th, 2011 Posted in Current Events, bullying | No Comments »


I've been invited to participate in a panel discussion on the topic of Cyberbullying: What Every Parent Should Know. Essentially, from what I can gather, there's going to be a bunch of experts . . . and me. The panelists include: * Lydia ...

James Preller Interviews . . . Thomas Newkirk, author of “Misreading Masculinity: Boys, Literacy, and Popular Culture”

Sunday, March 6th, 2011 Posted in Greatest Hits, In the Classroom, Interviews & Appreciations, The Gender Gap in Reading | 3 Comments »


I recently read Thomas Newkirk's outstanding book, Misreading Masculinity: Boys, Literacy, and Popular Culture. I sent him a complimentary email and, to my great surprise, he agreed to an interview. My reasons were selfish. I simply wanted to learn more ...

Music Video Weekend: John Grant, “Marz” — a song, and sort of a list poem

Friday, March 4th, 2011 Posted in In the Classroom, Music | No Comments »


I recently discovered John Grant, formerly of the Czars, and his remarkable solo debut, "The Queen of Denmark." His backing band on the album is Midlake, if that means anything to you (good things, good things!). The disk was named ...