Arts & Entertainment

Westfield to Get a Visit from Children's Book Author Dan Gutman

Author Dan Gutman Credits: Dan Gutman
Books by Dan Gutman Credits: Dan Gutman

WESTFIELD, NJ -- Famed children’s book author Dan Gutman will have a signing at The Town Book Store, 270 East Broad St., at 4:30 p.m. this Friday, Dec. 13.

“He’s probably our most famous children’s author,” said The Town Book Store owner Anne Laird. “We’ve sold one of his books every day for the past seven years.”

Gutman has written more than 100 books to date and his literary works, both independently and co-works, have won 20 awards. Some of his most popular titles are from the "My Weird School" series, which Laird said was the store’s biggest sellers by Gutman, and the "Baseball Card Adventures" series.

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“I get my ideas from all different places,” said Gutman. “Reading newspapers, watching TV, listening to the radio, listening to my own kids talk and my own childhood. Sometimes I just make crazy stuff up. I try to come up with a ‘big idea.’  Like, I try to take an ordinary kid and put that kid into an extraordinary situation."

The Town Book Store, which has author book signings almost every weekend, is expecting a large turnout for Gutman’s signing. Laird described it as a first come, first serve situation that may result with a line going well out the door of the modest-sized book store. Even with a crowd, however, she expects each child will get an opportunity to talk to Gutman and receive a personalized autograph.

It was actually Gutman who contacted The Town Book Store to arrange the event.

“I try to support independent bookstores whenever I can, because if we don't, they won't be there anymore,” he said. “I'm visiting a school in Scotch Plains on Friday, so I looked around for a bookstore that was in the area. I sent an email to Anne at The Town Book Store, and she said she would love to have me do an event at the store after school that day.”

Gutman is known as a “local celebrity” because, even though he was born in New York City, he was raised in Newark and currently resides in Haddonfield. However, he does have a connection to Westfield -- one of his best friends is a resident here, so he has frequented the town many times.

In January Gutman will release the fourth book of his Genius Files series titled “The Genius Files: From Texas With Love,” as well as a new book from the "My Weird School" series, “Mr. Jack Is A Maniac!” that will be released on Feb 25. He is also  working on the latest book from his Baseball Card Adventures series.

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