James Preller is best known as the author of the “Jigsaw Jones” mystery series, now back in print and published by Macmillan. A new title was released in August, 2019, The Case of the Hat Burglar, plus thirteen other classroom classics, revised and newly available for the first time in several years. His wide-range of books are appropriate for readers K-8 and include: The Pirates Guide to First Grade, the popular “Scary Tales” series, the “Big Idea Gang” books, The Courage Test, Six Innings, Better Off Undead, and the bully-themed classic, Bystander.
In addition, his middle-grade wilderness adventure novel, Blood Mountain, arrives in early October. It’s a thrilling page-turner about two siblings lost in the mountains. Think of it as “Hatchet” meets “Misery” — and there’s a dog! It has already been listed as a Junior Library Guild selection. Coming in Spring of 2020, we’ll also see the publication of All Welcome Here, a picture book in haiku, illustrated by Mary GrandPre (of “Harry Potter” fame).
When asked to describe his school visits, James says, “I am relaxed and confident speaking with students at any grade level, though, of course, the content of those talks varies according to age level. Fortunately, I’ve written a range of books that are appropriate for kindergarten up to middle school. Typically, I’ll do three 45-50 minutes presentations during a full-day visit. In addition, I’ve come to enjoy optional cozy gatherings, often billed as “Cookies and Conversation,” where I meet with a small group of students for questions and answers (and treats). I am happy and honored to sign books. For the best results, I’ve found that it makes a huge difference when students are familiar with my work and have thought about questions in advance. Like everything else in life, what you get out of it is in proportion to the energy that’s put into it. When school leaders are excited and enthusiastic, that energy transfers to the students –- and we all have a terrific, rewarding experience.”