Kids Author Todd Strasser Inspires Readers, Encourages Young Writers in Scotch Plains-Fanwood

Todd Strasser talks to students at Terrill Middle School about the craft of writing. Credits: John Mooney
Author Todd Strasser walks amongst the audience at Terrill Middle School. Credits: John Mooney
Author Todd Strasser signs books for students. Credits: John Mooney
Philip Yap, Terrill Middle School Media Specialist, and author Todd Strasser. Credits: John Mooney

SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ - Students of Terrill Middle School were given an opportunity to increase their writing skills on Thursday morning, as best-selling author Todd Strasser paid a visit and shared his experiences first hand.

"Think about what you want to write before you write it and don't worry if the first draft isn't perfect. Try and you will succeed," Strasser said. "I never start a book without knowing how it is going to end."

Strasser, who has written books such as Y2K-9: the Dog Who Saved the World, Help! I'm Trapped, Fallout, and The Beast of Cretacea, told the students that frustrations are inevitable. He shared his experiences with writer's block and reminded kids that Dr. Seuss was rejected 33 times before rising to fame.

Sign Up for E-News

As a children's author, Strasser said he must get into the minds of his target audience and asks kids questions. 

"I'm an old guy, but I need to get a kid's point of view," Strasser explained. "This only seems to work with fourth and fifth graders. Older kids don't talk to grown ups; I have to spy on the seventh and eighth graders!"

The 65-year-old said he prefers to write alternative histories -- not what did happen but what didn't happen. 

"Research has be factual, even if writing fiction. I had to learn about space travel and whale hunting to write The Beast of Cretacea," he said.

Strasser's novels range in setting, style, and characterization. In Fallout, the family has built a four-person bomb shelter, but neighbors want to enter and ultimately cram ten people inside.

The length of Strasser's catalog has eclipsed 140 individual published books, which continues to rise. Among these books are the best-selling, 17-book Help! I'm Trapped in ... series. To learn more about the author and his work, visit

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Scotch Plains/Fanwood

Westfield Family Continues ‘Summer of Kindness’ with Infant Clothing Drive

July 12, 2018

WESTFIELD, NJ — Westfield mom and teacher Sara Liptack is continuing her family’s “Summer of Kindess” with an infant clothing for Furniture Assist, an organization in Springfield that helps formerly homeless people, veterans, the elderly, fire victims, refugees and people fleeing domestic violence.

“I said, ‘What’s the one thing you really ...

It's Not What You Are Eating, It's What's Eating You


Emotional eating can be described as episodes of binge-eating, grazing and/or eating when not hungry to soothe feelings. Emotional eaters have a pattern of eating to cope with stress, emotional conflicts and problems of daily life.

Emotional eating is eating for reasons other than hunger. Instead of physical symptoms initiating the eating, ...

Let's Talk About Suicide

In our world today, it seems our children, no matter the town, state, education, family unit, socioeconomic background, ethnicity or religion are grappling with complex, confounding and complicated issues not even fit for a middle-aged adult. Sadly, one of these issues is suicide. With mental health gaining more attention, the stigma appears to be dissipating but when a mental health ...

What Is Your Bottom Line?

This week's Parshah (Torah reading) is the Parshah of Pinchas the Zealot: the courageous young priest who stood up against idolatry and immorality and, in the end, saved Israel from a devastating plague.

While Pinchas' radical response made him a hero worthy of having a Torah section named after him, we wouldn't necessarily suggest to our children ...

State-Imposed Affordable Housing Requirements Will Lead to Overdevelopment in Scotch Plains

July 17, 2018

Dear Editor:

There will be a public hearing in Trenton concerning the affordable housing process on Wednesday, July 25, 2018 from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the State House Annex (131-137 W State St, Trenton, NJ 08608) in Committee Room 16 on the 4th floor.

This hearing is hosted by the Assembly Housing and Community Development Committee, and the Committee will receive ...

When to Dial 911: Scotch Plains Rescue Squad Tip of the Month

July 10, 2018

There are many times you should call 911. If you or someone around you is in true medical distress, such as experiencing difficulty breathing, chest pains, bleeding, possible stroke, or any other serious health issues, then 911 should be called as soon as possible. If there are wires down, fire, a crime in progress, or other dangerous conditions to people or property, call 911 ...

Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey Encourages Family Fun with Online Fishing Tournament

July 16, 2018

MILLBURN, NJ — The Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey (PDFNJ) is asking families to cast their lines and reel in some quality time this summer as part of the fourth annual Don’t Get Hooked on Drugs Online NJ Family Fishing Tournament.

The competition will be held from July 27 to August 5 as a way to encourage families to enjoy a day of fishing, while giving ...

Upcoming Events


Wed, July 18, 6:00 PM

Scotch Plains Public Library, Scotch Plains

Youth Chess Club at Scotch Plains Public Library

Arts & Entertainment Education


Mon, July 23, 8:00 PM

Scotch Plains Public Library, Scotch Plains

View the Night Sky at the Scotch Plains Public ...

Arts & Entertainment Education


Wed, July 25, 6:00 PM

JCC of Central NJ, Scotch Plains

The JCC’s Barracudas Swim Team Meet the Coaches ...