For me, one of the most exciting parts of the whole ESCAPE FROM MR. LEMONCELLO’S LIBRARY experience was seeing how it inspired “outside the book” thinking all across the Nerdy nation.

Countless schools and libraries did scavenger hunts, hosted Lemoncello galas, created extra rebus puzzles, and, generally, made the book more than just a book.  By doing that, teachers, parents, and librarians made reading more fun and the more something is fun, the more of it gets done.

Or, as Mary Poppins put it, “in every job that must be done there is an element of fun!”


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So, when it came time to create a Book Trailer for the LEMONCELLO sequel,   MR. LEMONCELLO’S LIBRARY OLYMPICS (available Tuesday, January 5, 2016), I wondered how could I include kiddos in the project?

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Could I (with the help of all those extremely creative teachers, parents, and librarians) find a way to use the trailer to let my readers show their love of reading?

In the sequel, Mr. Lemoncello is hosting his first Library Olympics, which are to open on the first day of Spring (those other games already have the Winter and Summer). In Chapter 15, we take quick tour of the grounds of the Blue Jay Extended Stay Motel, which will be serving as Olympia Village for Mr. Lemoncello’s young Library Olympians:


The outdoor fire pit — an elevated ring of rocks surrounded by lawn chairs — was stone cold. It would not be lit at any time during the Library Olympic games because Mr. Lemoncello hated bonfires. “Throughout history,” he explained in the Library Olympics welcome packet, “too many books have been burned by people who didn’t like what was written inside them.”

There would also be no flaming Olympic torch, just a giant, ten-foot-tall flashlight to celebrate the joy of reading under the covers. It was mounted on the back of a flatbed truck and would swing through the sky after Mr. Lemoncello switched it on, just like one of those swiveling spotlights at the grand opening of a used-car dealership.


That’s where I drew my inspiration for the trailer:  What if, instead of the traditional “Olympic torch relay” we did the same thing with books and flashlights?   After all, a “torch” is what the British call a flashlight.

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So, I sent out a newsletter with a simple storyboard and asked young readers to hold a flashlight high and run across the screen carrying a favorite book.

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The response was overwhelming!  Kids had their parents film them in their backyards or running through their homes.  Entire classes ran together.   Friends filmed friends.  Everybody had fun – around books and the love of reading.

We received so many clips that the sixty-second trailer quickly became ninety-plus-seconds long. I added some stock footage of a girl reading with a flashlight under the covers, some title cards, and some very “Chariots-Of-Fire”-ish stock music.  Genius illustrator Gilbert Ford animated one of the silhouette characters from his (brilliant) cover art so she could join in the flashlight running fun.

And here, for the first time ever, is the finished trailer for MR. LEMONCELLO’S LIBRARY OLYMPICS:



But wait. There’s more.  One school sent in a clip that was, to quote Mr. Lemoncello, so wondermous, we had to edit together a second trailer.   It features what appears to be the entire fifth grade and one very game principal standing in the middle of the stampede.  I loved the clip.  Not just because the footage was hysterical but for what it said about that school:  Reading is so much fun, we’re ALL going to get silly about it, together.



It was a spirit shared in so many of the clips sent in.  Look closely and you’ll see other teachers running with their kids.   One set of teachers even hummed the Chariots Of Fire theme off camera while videoing their “torch” relay runners.

We received so many clips it was impossible to squeeze them all into the two trailers.  So, tomorrow, on my web site, we will post an Extended Cut – over six minutes of more kids, a couple dogs, flashlights, books, and fun!

Thanks again to the members of the nerdy nation who go above and beyond to help make reading fun!  Mary Poppins would be proud.

Chris Grabenstein is the author of the New York Times bestsellers THE ISLAND OF DR. LIBRIS and ESCAPE FROM MR. LEMONCELLO’S LIBRARY as well as the co-author (with James Patterson) of the #1 Bestsellers I FUNNY, I EVEN FUNNIER, and TREASURE HUNTERS. Currently, Chris and his beautiful, beloved wife J.J. live in New York City with three cats (Parker, Tiger Lilly, & Phoebe Squeak) and a dog named Fred who starred in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang on Broadway. You can find Chris online at www.chrisgrabenstein.com and on Twitter as @CGrabenstein