Tag Archive for Meet James Preller

“Best Day Ever”: A Chance Meeting at the Dublin Literacy Conference

This is Sreelakshmi. I met her at the Dublin Literacy Conference in late February. I was cooling my heels in the hallway of a cavernous high school, chatting with librarian Bill Prosser, waiting for the attendees to filter into the room before my session, cleverly titled “Meet Author James Preller.” A group of three high school girls who were working as volunteers stopped outside the room. One ducked her head inside, curious.
Bill asked if they needed help. Sreelakshmi told him that she was looking for James Preller. Bill jerked a thumb in my direction as if to say, “Sorry to disappoint you, but this is James Preller standing right here.”
Sreelakshmi turned to me, flustered and speechless. Disbelieving, even — her breath short and shallow. Tears began to roll down her cheeks. Finally, in fits and spurts, she told me how she still remembers reading those books, how much they meant to her,  how she had no idea that I would be at the conference.
How this was now officially the best day in her life.
I almost cried myself. As an author, I don’t normally (read: ever!) get that kind of reaction. A reader so moved. We hugged, took a picture, and talked for a few minutes. Later we were able to visit some more. A kind teacher, George the Humorous, bought a book for her — I stupidly didn’t think of it — and I signed it. I am sure that her reaction says more about Sreelakshmi than it does about me or my books. She was touched by literature, moved by books, and it will always be that way for her. She is, you see, a reader. The genuine article. I’m glad about that, glad that I somehow played a role in that awakening, glad to be blessed so.
Later that day, I received an email that included the photo above.
Hello Mr.Preller!

It’s me again, the girl from Dublin who cried tears of joy to meet the author of a book series she loved as kid. It was amazing meeting you at the Literacy Conference today. Who’d have thought a day of volunteering for NHS would become the best day of my life thus far? I certainly did not.

I want to thank you, again, for writing those books. Honestly, it was books like yours that made me love reading so much. I clearly remember reading The Case of the Rainy Day Mystery in third grade. It was such a good book that I went to the library for more, and every time I’d go to a new library (unfortunately, I’ve moved around a lot.), the Jigsaw Jones books were among the first books I’d look for. Your books made me smile and think about the mysteries — I always had a hard time figuring them out 🙂 . I still have a bit of a soft spot for mystery novels because of Jigsaw.

You know, I opened up The Case of the Double Trouble Detectives again, and I still found myself reading it through cover to cover. It’s been nearly ten years since I first read one of your books, but I still love them. Thank you for writing stories that I will love for the rest of my life. Jigsaw has been as real to me as my classmates in elementary school.

Thanks again for inspiring me to read,
Sreelakshmi

No, thank you, Sreelakshmi. I will always remember you and your incredible reaction, I’m so happy we got the chance to meet.

Fan Mail Wednesday #98 (The Video Edition!)

Here at Jamespreller.com, we’re all about the latest in breakthrough technology. Actually, it was first suggested at least a year ago by my friend Paul, and I replied, “I’ll get right on it!” So I overcame my fears and, with the help of my 11-year-old son, posted my first Youtube video in response to the letter below.

What do you think? Are you purists aghast? Or merely agog? Is this something I should try again . . . or perhaps nevermore?

Please click on the video below to see my awkward, stumbling response. Experts in the business sometimes say that the camera loves certain celebrities.

Personally, I’m not feeling it.

Anyway, I don’t mean for the medium to overwhelm the content of Michael’s letter. I wasn’t sure how to reply to news of a reading teacher who prevented a boy from reading the books he clearly seems to enjoy. It’s not about me. But I do feel that when a young student expresses enthusiasm for a certain book or series of books, when he shows interest and motivation, that’s not something you want to suppress. Have at it, I say. At the same time, I’ve only heard one side of the story.

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