Meet Ella, the First Young Person on the Planet to Read “EXIT 13: THE WHISPERING PINES”

This is Ella, a 4th-grader from Colorado. 

After an exhaustive search, where no money was spared (or spent), we determined that Ella is officially the first young person on the planet to read the first book in my new series, EXIT 13. 

Just look at that smile. She’s obviously in thrall. 

Thank you, Ella, for being such an enthusiastic reader. I’m lucky to have on my side (and in my family!). 

The Whispering Pines is available exclusively through Scholastic Book Clubs and Scholastic Book Fairs. 

It will be available in stores in February, 2023. 

On a personal note, this is my first book with Scholastic in a dozen years. I began my publishing career back in 1986 with Scholastic. In many ways, professionally, it’s where I grew up. I published all sorts of books with them over the years, various and sundry, including the Jigsaw Jones mystery series. However, I was given my hardcover home at Macmillan by Jean Feiwel, and I’ve mostly published with Feiwel & Friends over the last decade. I’m grateful to co-exist with them both. But, yes, it feels nice to be back with this particular series where I first began. I thank Debra Dorfman (Lakow to me) for that.

Here’s the cover of the second book in the series, The Spaces In Between. Let’s admit it: Illustrator Kevin Keele does a killer job with these covers. Even better, there’s a graphic novel element to these hybrid books, enhancing the overall Cool Factor!

Teachers, Librarians: I have a few extra books in my closet. Happy to send a signed copy your way if you hope to share it in your school or classroom. Just zing me at jamespreller@aol.com and write “Free Book” in the subject heading. While supplies last. 

Thanks for stopping by!

School Begins, All Welcome Here

 

The bus door swishes

Open, an invitation.

Someone is not sure. 

 

A page from my book of connected haiku, All Welcome Here, expertly illustrated by Mary GrandPre.

Dedicated to teachers everywhere, who open their classrooms, and their hearts, to every child who comes through that door.

EXIT 13 — Here We Go!

I published my first book in 1986 at age 25 and this new one arrived yesterday. 36 years. Still a thrill. And actually this one especially so, written during one of the most challenging periods in a long career. A new series with Scholastic, “Schitt’s Creek” meets “Stranger Things” with a touch of Stephen King’s “Pet Sematary.” Fast-paced, creepy, mysterious, and hopefully addictive. The first book will be offered exclusively by Scholastic Book Fairs this Fall, available far and wide in February. EXIT 13!

Here’s the cover of the second book, which is — amazingly — even better. 

Let Us Push Pause Before Leaping to Judgment

If we’ve learned anything these past few years, let one of those things be that we pause before making judgments, criticizing, finding fault in others. Because we just don’t know what is going in the lives of other people.

And beyond merely giving pause, let us also bring a generosity of spirit to our perceptions: compassion, tolerance, hopefulness. So many of us in today’s world seem primed to leap at the worst conclusions. Sour, bitter, angry people. 

So let us hit pause & open our hearts to the native goodness in our world.

Carry on!

For me as a writer, this single idea — that we just don’t know — fueled my most recent novel, Upstander, a sequel/prequel to Bystander that can be read as a stand alone. 

In this book, I take a minor character from Bystander, Mary, and make her the main character. We enter her home, meet her family, and begin to see all the cares and concerns that fill her life. Most notably, an older brother (growing up, I had four older brothers) who struggles with Substance Use Disorder (SUD). 

Everyone has a story that most of us simply don’t know. 

VIDEO PRESENTATION: All Welcome Here!

It’s that time of year again. Here’s a video presentation of All Welcome Here, a book dedicated to teachers everywhere who open their hearts, and their classrooms, to every student who comes through that door. 

Note: I was asked by an Oregon bookstore to create a brief video talk (under ten minutes) about my new picture book, All Welcome Here. This is part presentation, part read-aloud, targeted for young readers. I had a little production help this one, and I think it turned out okay.

Teachers, feel free to share with your students. And parents — hey, why not? — share away. 

Hopefully this book celebrates the best of us, sending positive signals about acceptance, kindness, and community. Good luck, be smart, and stay healthy! 

 

 

“Caldecott Honoree GrandPre captures the day’s variable moods in pictures of absorbed, interacting kids of various skin tones and abilities . . . a cheery take on the joy of camaraderie.” — Publishers Weekly.

“Lively haiku pairs with vibrant art to showcase various facets of the first day of school . . . Expressive, mixed-media illustrations are an eye-catching blend of bright colors, patterns, and perspectives: the multicultural kids and adults further the sense of inclusiveness. With it’s reassuring and upbeat elements, this may also help alleviate first-day fers as it highlights the many positive opportunities that await.” — Booklist.