Tag Archives: “James Preller”

January 07

SURVIVING COVID WINTER: A Lesson from Leo Lionni’s Frederick by James Preller

I’ve got a friend, Paul, who is one of those infinitely capable guys. You probably know the type. He can build furniture, fix nearly anything, chainsaw fallen trees, fire a gun, drive a backhoe, and slowly smoke a delicious brisket.   Our friends sometimes joke that when it comes to the zombie apocalypse, we all […]

August 18

Revising Jigsaw Jones by James Preller

Writers are not often given the opportunity to revise our work post-publication. We labor like the dickens throughout the writing process -– drafting, daydreaming, dithering -– until those last desperate hours of corrections. Then we let the book go scampering off into the wild. Not perfect, not ever perfect, but the best we could do […]

March 27


I’m at loose ends. For the first time in 16 years, I find myself not coaching a baseball team. During those seasons, I’ve coached a men’s hardball team, and all three of my children at various stages of Little League, including All-Stars and competitive Travel teams. Now it’s over. All I’m left with are memories, […]

February 05


Lately we’ve seen an increased call for diversity in children’s literature. And of course, that’s terrific. Who could possibly be against it? However, saying so — posting a slogan, sharing a meme — is the easy part. But meaningful diversity goes deeper than the books themselves. Diversity in children’s literature applies to teachers, librarians, reviewers, bookstore owners, editors, sales directors, and, of […]

June 12

Teachers, Embrace Your Inner Zombie by James Preller

These days, kids are crazy about zombies. That’s just a plain fact. Not every kid, of course, but a lot of them. And I’m here to say: Go with it. Particularly when it comes to student writing. Some girls wants to write a story about a zombie apocalypse? Here’s a pen and paper. Do it. […]

January 14

The Story Behind This Illustration: Art Inspiring Art by James Preller

When I first saw this illustration, I thought to myself, “Yes! That’s exactly what I hoped for — but better.” For years, on school visits, I heard the same request from students — always boys. “Write a story about a kid who gets sucked into the television while playing video games.” I’d always reply, “Yeah, […]

October 27

Everybody Else Is Already Taken by James Preller

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson. After I wrote the book Bystander (Macmillan, 2009), I began to receive invitations to speak at middle schools. I was wary at first of being perceived as anybody’s “anti-bullying program.” I wrote a book. […]