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Author Dan Gutman Talks About Book Ideas in Visit to Fox Meadow

Author Dan Gutman

Prolific children’s fiction author Dan Gutman visited Fox Meadow School on Dec. 5 and spoke to students about how he gets his ideas for his many stories, most notably the “My Weird School” series, the “Flashback Four” series, his Baseball Card Adventure series, and “The Genius File” series. Everyone has to start at the beginning, said Gutman, who showed students his “Rejection Letters” folder, which contains the 100 rejection letters he received from publishers when he was trying to publish his first book, “Honus and Me.”

Although he hated to read when he was young, Gutman said he gradually developed an interest in reading books about sports because of his interest in that area.

His first book was, therefore, about baseball and developed into an entire series about baseball cards that are devices that take young readers back into the history of some of this country’s most memorable baseball players, from Honus Wagner to Willy Mays. His first book was finally published by Harper Collins after two years of rejections.

In many of his books, like the “Flashback Four” series, Gutman takes young readers back to famous historical events and uses his characters to help tell the stories. His new book, which will take readers back to the duel between Alexander Hamilton and Arron Burr, is due out in a year and a half.

He urged young writers to develop their stories with a big idea, a main character, and a story line in which the characters get into trouble, but then get out of trouble. He also said to always start a good story “with a bang.”

Gutman, who also had lunch with a group of Fox Meadow students, was invited by Library Media Specialist Jan Schorr.