Author Dan Gutman visited Allen W. Roberts School on Friday, June 7, interacting with the school’s first- through sixth-graders for several hours. During his presentations filled with laughter, insight into writing and preview of his latest series, The Genius Files, Gutman encouraged the students of AWR to never give up even if at first you don’t succeed.
Gutman has a certain level of expertise in the subject of persistence. He sent the manuscript of one of his early books, Honus & Me, to publisher after publisher for nearly two years before HarperCollins, his current publisher, finally said yes. That launched a total of 10 books in the “…& Me” series, which chronicle a young boy’s time travel adventures with such baseball legends as Babe Ruth, Satchel Paige, and, of course, Honus Wagner.
In 2004, he launched the Weird School series, which is a series for beginning readers pitting AJ, who hates school, against Andrea Young, who loves school. The series included 21 books, and was followed by a sequel series called My Weird School Daze, with 12 more volumes, and then 8 more in the My Weirder School turn.
Gutman is the author of more than 100 books. Mr. Gutman’s visit is the latest in AW Roberts’ annual Author Day, which invites authors to visit the school and help develop a new generation’s love for reading. This day is made possible by the AW Roberts PTA.
Gutman talked to the students about his most recent venture is a series called The Genius Files, featuring twin 13-year-olds traveling across the country with their parents on an RV trip. They fend off attackers while stopping at various attractions, like the National Yo-Yo Museum. Gutman’s introduction to the series during his presentation was met with great fervor from the AW Roberts students, many of whom had already read the first three books in the series.
Three of the Genius Files books are on the shelves now, with three more in production. Gutman met with several classes of students during his day at AW Roberts, and he even had lunch with 17 students. The entire presentation was interactive, with the students taking time to ask questions about Gutman, his books, and his life.
Gutman grew up in Newark, where he gained a great appreciation for baseball. After attending Rutgers University, he moved to New York City, and began his writing career. He started out writing “humorous essays”, although he is self-deprecating in his description of how funny they were. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Gutman continued to write, but it wasn’t until after the birth of his son, Sam, that he found his true calling: writing fiction directed to children. You can find out more information about him at www.dangutman.com.