Author James Preller visits East Hill

On Wednesday, Apr. 12, accomplished children’s author James Preller spent the day with East Hill students.

Mr. Preller spoke with with each grade, K-5, in the Middle School gathering space. He appeared as part of this year’s PARP (Pick a Reading Partner) celebration.

He talked about his books, his life, and how he writes books. He told students that when he gets an idea, he researches the topic. He wants to make certain the ideas and descriptions are accurate.

He also showed how his illustrators draw in ways that enhance his stories. In his book A Pirate’s Guide to First Grade, the illustrator paints the real world in bright colors, but the make-believe pirates are hazy black-and-white drawings.

All of his books, even those written for older students, are family friendly. He touches on difficult real-life situations such as fear or death, but never from a gory or gruesome perspective.

Mr. Preller grew up in Wantaugh on Long Island. He attended SUNY Oneonta as an English major. He eventually became a copywriter for Scholastic Books. He soon realized he could write as well as other published authors. He published his first book MAXX TRAX: Avalanche Rescue in 1986. Since then, he has written more than 80 books.

East Hill librarian Audrey Moldinado arranged for his visit, which was funded by a BOCES Arts in Education grant.

“I wanted our students to become more excited to explore different authors and genres,” she said.

She said the student feedback was awesome.

“After his presentation, I had students ask that some of Mr. Preller’s books be added to our collection,” she said.

“I saw students who had not been avid readers, suddenly get excited about reading and writing.”