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Friday, July 28, 2017

SPOTLIGHT ON: My Weirdest School, Fast Facts, and Author Dan Gutman!

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Welcome back to Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers.

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Today, we're shining the spotlight on the one and only, author Dan Gutman!  At some point in your reading journey, you're bound to have stumbled upon, read, or shared one of his plethora of releases (The Genius Files fan, right here!).  From Children's Fiction to Middle Grade series, his work is spread throughout the genre, and now, he's not only adding to his EVER POPULAR My Weirdest School series, but he and his beloved characters are branching out into the Non-Fiction realm as well. Let's take a look at THREE of his latest releases to see what all the BUZZ is about...

In this eighth book in the new My Weirdest School series, it’s Grandparents Day at Ella Mentry School! Alexia’s grandmother Mrs. Master makes weird inventions for a living, but A.J. and the gang come up with the weirdest invention of all. And they’re going to make a bazillion dollars from it! Will they succeed? Or will their great big idea be flushed down the drain? Perfect for reluctant readers and word lovers alike, Dan Gutman’s hugely popular My Weird School chapter book series has something for everyone. Don’t miss the hilarious adventures of A.J. and the gang!

My Weird School FAST FACTS:
Think fast with A.J. and Andrea from My Weird School! Did you know that the word “independence” never appears in the Declaration of Independence? Did you know that soldiers in World War I collected thousands of glowworms in jars to help them see at night?! Learn more weird-but-true U.S. history facts with A.J. and Andrea from Dan Gutman’s bestselling My Weird School series. This all-new series of nonfiction books features hundreds of hysterical facts, plus lots of photos and illustrations. Whether you're a kid who wants to learn more about our country's history or simply someone who wants to know how many Americans are involved in toilet-related injuries each year, this is the book for you!

My Weird School FAST FACTS:
Think fast with A.J. and Andrea from My Weird School! Did you know that the planet Jupiter has at least fifty moons? Did you know that Albert Einstein’s brain was stolen after he died?! Learn more weird-but-true science facts with A.J. and Andrea from Dan Gutman’s bestselling My Weird School series. This all-new series of nonfiction books features hundreds of hysterical facts, plus lots of photos and illustrations. Whether you’re a kid who wants to learn more about science or simply someone who wants to know how many million times the earth could fit into the sun, this is the book for you!


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Pretty cool stuff, right?
That's what I thought too...
...but I also had some questions and wouldn't you know it?
The author was kind enough to answer them AND MORE!
Let's give a BIG SFIR WELCOME to author Dan Gutman!



Dan GutmanHow did you come up with the very first weird school story?
It was 2003.  My daughter Emma was in second grade.  Up until that point, my books had all been for older kids.  I was doing a lot of school visits, and I didn’t have much to say to the little ones.  So I thought I should try something for a younger audience.  Emma was reading Junie B Jones at the time, and I thought there should be something like that told by a boy.  So I wrote “Miss Daisy Is Crazy!” and dedicated it (of course) to Emma.  That was the start of My Weird School.  We’re past sixty books now, and it has by far been the most successful thing I ever wrote.  And Emma is almost finished with college.

Of all the titles you've released, which one would you most like to get lost between the pages of?
“Johnny Hangtime.”  It is the story of a kid who is a Hollywood stunt man.  So he’s always jumping out of windows, setting himself on fire, stuff like that.  “Johnny Hangtime” was not a successful book, but I have always thought it was my best.  Usually, the stuff I think is my best doesn’t sell.

Does it ever feel old hat or are you just as excited for your latest releases as you were the first? 
To be completely honest, nothing compared to the excitement when my first books came out.  “Honus & Me” was rejected by ten publishers from 1995-1997.  “Casey Back At Bat” was rejected by twenty publishers over the course of ten years.  When those two books finally got accepted and were published, it was a BIG deal.  It’s still a great feeling when I get the first copy of a new book in the mail, but it’s not nearly as exciting as when I was starting out and having to prove myself.

Two of your latest releases are the first and second book in your new NONFICTION series, My Weird School Fast Facts.  Why the turn to reality, so to speak?
Actually, “Fast Facts” was not my idea.  My publisher, HarperCollins, suggested it.  But it was a good idea, and I’m really having fun letting my fictional characters A.J. and Andrea argue with each other about sports, geography, science, and history.   I like learning new things and telling kids about them.  There will be more Fast Facts books to come: Animals, Dinosaurs, and more
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If you hadn't taken the road of the writer, where do you think your career path would have led?
Well, I would have been a rock and roll star if I had any musical ability.  But I don’t.  I would have been a professional baseball player if I had any athletic ability.  But I don’t.  So if I wasn’t writing books for kids, I would probably get a job working on a newspaper, a magazine, or a web site.  Something working with words.

Any advice for readers out there wishing to follow in your footsteps as they "write" for the stars?
A few things.  First, and most important, they should read my book “My Weird Writing Tips.”  It’s not some BORING writing book.  It’s a My Weird School book, so it’s funny and silly and crazy.  But it will help you with your writing.  Besides that, read everything you can get your hands on.  Read a newspaper every day.  Be curious about the world around you.  Ask questions more than talk.  Be persistent.  Don’t take rejection personally.  And just WRITE.  The more you do anything, the better you get at it.

Now for a little game of favorites.  I say FAVORITE and you say the first thing on your mind.  Ready? Favorite... subject?  English.  Well, now it’s called “language arts,” I guess.
...teacher? Mrs. Hamilton.  But one time, she picked up Norman Peters and threw him against the chalkboard!  Teachers don't do that anymore, fortunately.   But that's my most memorable moment of third grade.
Image result for manatee fact you've learned so far? Manatees swim by farting.  Hey, you asked.  And it’s true!  Look it up if you don’t believe me.
...season?  Fall and Spring Halloween Watermelon
...color? Blue, but I’m partly color blind (red/green) to visit? New York City (which is why I live there) (not your own)? “The Invention of Hugo Cabret,” by Brian Selznick    

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Dan Gutman may be weird, but he is also beloved by kids, parents, and teachers across the country. Dan lives in New York City (a very weird place), with his weird wife, Nina, and their two weird children, Sam and Emma. You can visit him on Facebook , Twitter, or at his weird website:


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Special thanks to Laura at HarperCollins Children's Books for making this post possible as well as to author Dan Gutman for taking the time to humor my barrage of questions.  (THANKS GUYS!)  For more information on the titles listed, the author, or the publisher, feel free to click through the links provided above.  These titles hit bookstore and virtual shelves June 2017, but there's always more to come from this wordy writer, so keep an eye on your favorite book buying outlets for future adds to your personal library!

Until next time, remember...if it looks good, READ IT!

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