Archive for Family

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!

Wake Me In Spring

Ha! The best photo yet of my grandnephew Beau — holding a book I wrote 28 years ago. Just look at that little hand. He’s obviously brilliant.

This book was a success, sold more than 1.5 million copies, so of course Scholastic let it go out of print ages ago. I’ve still got a dwindling few stashed away in a closet. I don’t seem to be particularly gifted when it comes to writing picture books, a knack I lack, but this one was well done all around, illustrated with deft charm by Jeffrey Scherer.

Fan Mail Wednesday #318: Jigsaw Jones & the New York Mets

 

Here we go — an exceedingly kind letter from Matthew in Connecticut! He’s so nice, he says it twice. We bond over grape juice, holidays, and the New York Mets. 

I replied . . .

 

Dear Matthew, 

You write a very fine letter, my friend. Thank you for that. I’m glad to read that you are a “big reader” of my Jigsaw Jones books. 

However, it made me a little bit sad to learn that you zipped through The Case of the Haunted Scarecrow in only one hour. Rats. It took me a lot longer than that to write it!

It’s interesting that you noticed that you shared similarities with Jigsaw. You both like the New York Mets, grape juice, and holidays. Guess what? Me, too!

While Jigsaw is not exactly me, James Preller, we do have a lot in common. We’re both the youngest in large families. My grandmother lived with us when I was growing up —- just like Jigsaw’s. And our grandmothers both had false teeth they kept in a glass at night! Yuck.

My mother was a huge Mets fan, so I followed right along. True story: When I was in 3rd grade, one day I was allowed to skip school to go see the New York Mets. The next day, I was extremely worried that my teacher, Miss Thompson, would be angry. You can’t miss school to watch a baseball game! But instead, she came to my desk with a big smile and said, “Lucky you! That must have been so exciting to see a World Series game!”

And that part is true, too, Matthew. The year was 1969 and I was there at Shea Stadium for Game 5 of the World Series —- the game when the New York Mets won it all! I still remember that game vividly. I kept score in the scorebook, which I still have (somewhere). The fans swarmed the field and dug up tufts of grass to bring home as souvenirs. 

Our seats were at the tippy top. The very last row. There was no way we were climbing all the way down into that crazy scene. When the Mets were losing 3-0, I’m pretty sure that a tear or two fell from my eyes. Those Mets —- they can still make me cry. Or at least pull the hair out of my head!

I’ve included a few baseball cards for you. Consider it a gift for being such a terrific reader. After all, we Mets fans have to stick together.

My best,

James Preller

Photo: Hey, It Was the 70s

A classic photo from 1974. I am 13 years old, wearing borrowed clothes for my brother John’s wedding. 

The wallpaper, the lamp, the hair, the lapels, the wide tie, it’s all there. 

I sometimes show this photo on middle school visits in support of my somewhat dubious claim that I’m an ex-kid myself. 

 

 

 

 

A Word from the Author

 

 

Grabbed a bench after a five-hour hike in the Catskills . . . and pointed up. A beautiful day, inspiring and revitalizing.