February 17, 2012 Hopewell Elementary School

Best-Selling Author Visits HES

Children’s author Dan Gutman told Hopewell Elementary School students during his February visit that visiting the National Yo-Yo Museum in Chico, California, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio, and the World’s Biggest Ball of Twine in Cawker City, Kansas, are all in a day’s work when he’s writing a children’s book.

Dan Gutman shares book“I go to these places to do research,” he told fifth graders on Feb. 10 as he showed slides of these places, which he visited while writing The Genius Files: Mission Unstoppable, his first book to appear on the New York Times bestseller list.

Mr. Gutman’s visit to HES was sponsored by the Hopewell Valley Education Foundation and the Hopewell Elementary School Parent-Teacher Organization (PTO). During the day, he discussed the process of writing with each grade level. In kindergarten he read his picture book, Casey Back at Bat, and discussed the story line with students.

At the fifth grade level, Mr. Gutman discussed genre, character and plot in his bestselling Genius Files, in which 12-year-old twins Coke and Pepsi are identified as Young American Geniuses (YAGs) by the U.S. government and are recruited to solve the country’s problems.

As the book unfolds, Coke and “Pep”, as she’s known, cross the country on a family vacation with their unwitting parents, and are pursued by evil characters looking to derail them on their secret mission in, among other locales, each of the places Mr. Gutman visited.

Author Dan Gutman speaks to HES students“I wrote 103 books to make it onto the bestseller list,” Mr. Gutman, who has been writing for 30 years, told Hopewell students. Those books include the My Weird School series, which depicts a grammar school filled with crazy teachers, and the Baseball Card Adventure Series, in which the main character finds a baseball card, such as Babe Ruth or Jackie Robinson, that propels him back in time and to numerous adventures. Mr. Gutman said that series requires much research into an area he is passionate about –sports—and particularly, baseball.

But becoming a famous author hasn’t been all fun and games, he noted. Indeed, Mr. Gutman showed the students a binder stuffed with dozens of rejection letters that he has gotten over the years from publishers for various books.

“But did I give up?” he asked the HES students repeatedly. “No, I did not,” he said, a lesson applicable for writing and any pursuit in life.

You can find out more about Mr. Gutman’s books at www.dangutman.com.
Hopewell Valley Regional School District   |   425 S Main St. Pennington, NJ 08534   |   tel 609.737.4000   |   fax 609.737.1418