Tag Archive for James Preller Wake Me In Spring

GOOD NEWS: Coming in August, My First “Easy-to-Read” in 30 Years!

Coming in August, this aspirational moose!


This sweet little book, wonderfully illustrated by Abigail Burch, is my first easy-to-read since WAKE ME IN SPRING and HICCUPS FOR ELEPHANT (both sold over 1 million copies and both are out of print). Published those two 30 years ago. It was time.

I like this moose. 

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 #250: The Book Is Now a T-Shirt!

First, look at this face.
Can an author say “no” to a face like this?
I would juggle live fire if this young girl asked me to do it.
(Um, hoping she won’t ask. Please, Aubrielle, don’t ask me to juggle live fire!)
aubs and her doll
Anyway, a letter too sweet not to share . . . and it came with photos. Also, hey now, the 250th Fan Mail Wednesday. So grateful for these kind letters!
Dear Mr. Preller,
t shirt My grand-daughter Aubrielle is 5 years old and is in Kindergarten at ________.   She LOVES to read . . . and the other day she came home all excited because she was told that you would be coming to visit school on the 16th of May.  I didn’t know many of the details . . . but I sent a note to the librarian and was also happy to hear of your upcoming visit to our area.  One of Aubrielle’s favorite books is “Wake me in Spring” . . . and she decided to do a special t-shirt to honor your visit. We brought it to school today and they have it on display in the Library which made her feel so proud.  We are hoping when you come that maybe you could sign it for her….and I could take a photo of you and her together.  I am enclosing a photo of Aubrielle and the t-shirt. Looking so forward to meeting you. Have a great day!!!
Carol and Aubrielle
I replied:


That’s so sweet, thank you for sharing those pictures. Of course I’d be happy and honored to sign the shirt and take a photo with Aubrielle.
Could I share these photos on my blog? If yes, I would not identify Aubrielle’s school nor include her last name. I just sometimes like to share details from school visits without violating anyone’s privacy. That said, I understand if you prefer to keep this between us. It’s all good.
My best,
James Preller

A Few Snaps from School Visits: A Typical Day on an Elementary School Visit

There’s nothing particularly outstanding here, but I thought I’d throw up a few snaps from recent school visits and walk you through a typical arrangement.



Yes, that’s truly “a good sign” for any author visit. It is welcoming and shows that the school has invested time and thought into the visit. I’ve said it a thousand times: Authors don’t do school visits, schools do author visits.

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I visit elementary schools and middle schools. Next week, for example,I’ll even be speaking to 380 students in one packed auditorium, grades 7-12. When I visit traditional K-5 elementary schools, I try to arrange to meet with K-only groups for shorter, more intimate visits. Then I’ll see groups of grades 1-2, grades 3-4, and grade 5 only. My material and message seems to fall in line with those groupings.




When I see grades 5-only, it allows me to include in my presentation a bit about Bystander and bully-themed issues. It’s a little older, more mature, a little deeper.


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For K-only, I’ve learned that it’s best to sit in a chair, speak softly and gently. I tell kids how the bear in Wake Me In Spring reminds me of my father, snoring in his big, comfortable chair.


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Reading from the first chapter of Bystander. I’ve pretty much got that thing memorized.


James Preller author visit1

This is a grades 3-4 group, where they are extremely enthusiastic about “Scary Tales.” We talk a lot about the creative process here, building a story. The photo on the screen is of a swamp. I’m talking about the setting of one of my stories, one of the basic building blocks of any story: where, who, what; setting, character, plot. For grades 1-2, I tend to center it around Jigsaw Jones and writing from real life.

SCARY TALES #4: “Nightmareland” — Now Available Where Fine Books Are Sold!

Happy to remind you that this book was published on Tuesday and is now available. This is a story that came directly from suggestions from students on class visits — a basic idea I heard over and over again. Welcome to Nightmareland. Where you’ll meet Aaron, Addy, and Freddy the pizza guy.



I published my first book almost 30 years ago, in 1986. By now, most of them have gone out of print. That’s the way it goes, I guess. Especially with my old publisher, Scholastic, where they recently let every book I’ve done with them go out of print, including beloved titles that sold more than a million copies each, such as WAKE ME IN SPRING, HICCUPS FOR ELEPHANT, and the entire “Jigsaw Jones” series.

Just, poof, gone.

(Note: You can still find the books, for now, but it’s not easy.)

So much for immortality. It’s a tough business, not for the meek or, I’ve learned, the idealistic. It’s hard not to feel discouraged by it all, as I do.

But you keep writing, because that’s all you know, and you keep trying to do the best work possible. Let that be the best revenge. And you hope that maybe it adds up to something the end.

Fortunately, my books with Macmillan are almost all still available (except for Mighty Casey, which never sold).

In addition, I have regained the rights to many of those out-of-print titles, including the entire 40-book Jigsaw Jones series, so I’m holding out the faint hope that another publisher might wish to revive ’em. I would love to write a new Jigsaw Jones book someday.

Though there are days when I feel like guy . . .