Tag Archive for James Preller Author Visit

Fun Idea for Author Visits: Decorating Doors

You’ve heard of the Doors of Dublin? You know about Aldous Huxley’s Doors of Perception? This is like that, in the sense that, okay, there are doors.

But instead of Jim Morrison, you get . . . The Doors of James Preller!

To celebrate my recent visit, a grades 3-5 elementary school had a contest where classes could “win a classroom visit” with author James Preller. The idea, I gather, was to decorate a door by encouraging (innocent!) passers-by to read any one of my books.

Here’s a few highlights . . .








Student Artwork: A Riot of Zombies to Celebrate an Author Visit

If I’ve said it a hundred times . . .

Authors don’t do school visits.

Schools do author visits.

I arrived home last night after a brief trip to New York State’s magnificient North Country — Chaumont and Clayton specifically — where I enjoyed visits to two wonderful schools.

I’m on deadline, late with a manuscript, so don’t have much time to dilly-dally today. Or not as much as usual. However, I am free to dither. Mostly I want to share some student artwork with you.

I have no idea what might have inspired students to create their own zombie art.

I have no idea what might have inspired students to create their own zombie art.

The art comes from the Lyme Central School in Chaumont, one of those cozy K-12 schools you sometimes see in less populated areas. My visit was organized by the incredible Linda Lepper, who assured me that this was not her first rodeo. In fact, I was the 28th author that Linda had invited to visit the school. Or maybe I was the 27th, not sure.

In any event, Linda finally worked her way down, down, down the list and got to me.

This is a school where they really embrace an author visit. There are activities all week, posters, art, themes, games, quizzes, and on and on. By the time I arrived, the students were prepared and enthusiastic. For my part, I spoke to four distinct groups: Grades 1-2, Grades 6-8, PreK-K (mini version), and Grades 3-5. Quite a range, which helped keep things fresh and fun for me. It’s a different show every time, folks.

To prepare for my visit,  many students created artwork, which was displayed throughout the school. A lot of them focused on zombies:







And from the younger grades, a brilliant spin on my “Pirate’s Guide” series. In this case, those rapscallions are concerned with water safety.


Caption reads: Never dive in shallow water.

Caption reads: Never dive in shallow water.

Thank you, students at Lyme Central. I’m sorry I couldn’t share all your work, but there’s only so much space available on the internet. And thank you most of all, Linda Lepper and all the teachers and staff at your warm, clean, well-lighted school.

A Day at Tokeneke

No, I never did learn how to pronounce it. But last week I enjoyed a visit at Tokeneke School in Darien, Connecticut. Just a really nice day in a beautiful new building, filled with more than 400 pre-kindergarten through fifth graders. Great, happy, vibrant kids. Not to mention Rose, the cafeteria lady, who makes a mean tuna sandwich. So if you are ever in Darien looking for a meal, find Rose and she’ll set you up real nice. With chips, too.

I did my usual author thing. Lately I’ve been busting some new moves with a microphone, but the last time I attempted a Roger Daltry twirl I knocked the principal unconscious. She was not amused. So I’ve scaled back to more of a Phil Donahue thing. I also lunched with two small groups of 2nd and 3rd graders. Special thanks to Sue McLean and the rest of the fabulous “Enrichment Ladies” for making the day a success. It was my first trip to Connecticut as a visiting dignitary — but hopefully not my last.

A word about these pictures: I chipped a front tooth and hadn’t gotten it repaired yet — I felt like Jethro Bodine from “Beverly Hillbillies” — so I refused to open my mouth for photos.