In The Schools

Author Gordon Korman Visits Cranford Orange Avenue School

Credits: OAS

CRANFORD – If you’re a writer and you’re stumped, author Gordon Korman suggests asking the “what if” question.

“I’m very much of a what-if writer,” Korman told students Thursday at Orange Avenue School during a visit sponsored by the OAS PTA.  “If you ever have writer’s block, you just ask yourself, ‘What are the what-ifs of my story?’ ”

Korman has published more than seven dozen books, beginning with one he wrote as a 12-year-old, in an English class in his native Canada.

Sign Up for E-News

He got a B+ on the assignment. But his newspaper-columnist mom typed up the story, and they boldly shipped it off to Scholastic, where it grabbed the attention of editors who published it in 1978 as “This Can’t Be Happening at MacDonald Hall.”

On Feb. 1, he released his 87th book, “Masterminds: Criminal Destiny.” On April 1, a TV miniseries based on “MacDonald Hall” is set to launch in Canada. It’s one of three of his novels that have gone on to inspire small-screen adaptations.

“This is something I never could have predicted back in seventh grade,” he writes on his blog.

Korman, who now lives on Long Island with his wife and three children, spoke to OAS’ 3rd- through 8th-grade students, entertaining them with snippets from his more recent books, dialogue technique, the value of research and tips on where to find story ideas.

“The feeling of fireworks ahead is what tells you that this is going to be a great story,” said Korman, his bald head bobbing in time with his waving arms.

To prepare for the visit, OAS students competed in a trivia contest and wrote letters to land a seat at lunch with Korman. One of those students, fourth grade student Lexi Kruk commented on Korman’s visit, “It was really fun, it was very informative to learn about the life of an author. I was super excited to meet him.”

He drew laughs from the crowd when he explained one minor pitfall of wild international success. When your books are published in a dozen different languages, title translations can get tricky.

Take, for example, his 1997 book “Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire.”

When translated into French, it read: “Teller of untruths, your trousers have combusted.” 

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


Chlorine Drum Rupture Shuts Down Nomahegan Swim Club in Westfield

July 13, 2018

WESTFIELD, NJ — A ruptured chlorine drum has forced closure of Nomahegan Swim Club on Springfield Avenue Friday afternoon.

According to a Westfield police officer on the scene, a 1,000-gallon drum of chlorine ruptured.

In addition to the swim club being closed, some area streets around the swim club near the border of Mountainside and Springfield were cordoned off. According ...

Rutgers Hikes Tuition, Student Fees for 2018-2019 Academic Year

July 19, 2018

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - Rutgers University Board of Governors today approved a 2.3 percent hike in tuition and fees, as well as increases for dorm rooms and meals, for the 2018-2019 academic year.

The increase now brings the annual cost for undergraduate students to $14,975, which is $337 more than this past school year.

Student housing will increase 1.9 percent, and ...

Union County Hosts Events and Programs for Special Needs Residents

July 19, 2018

The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders is pleased to announce a series of programs and events throughout the summer and fall for residents with special needs and their families, coordinated through the new Office for People with Special Needs in collaboration with community partners.

“Union County is committed to providing every resident with more opportunities to enjoy activities ...

Westfield Area YMCA: Take Swim Lessions This Summer

The Westfield Area YMCA is providing a free one-week guest pass to non-members which will also enable access to purchase a week of swim lessons at full member rates during the summer.  The one-week guest pass includes use of the Y’s fitness facilities, land and water group exercise classes and open gym/swim.

“Our goal is to have people of all ages and skill levels grow to ...

More Traffic, No Solution – Letter to Governor Phil Murphy

July 17, 2018

Dear Governor Phil Murphy,

From the mid-1970’s, when I was age 12, I’ve had this vivid memory of watching my parents participate in a peaceful demonstration against the construction of a 12-story hotel complex just behind our backyard. In fact, on Wednesday, September 29, 1976, the local newspaper ran an article with a photo showing my mother and her protest placard. The memory of ...