Beloved children’s author of 130 books, Dan Gutman, recently spent the day with students at Franklin Elementary School in Westfield for the annual Visiting Author Day sponsored by the PTO.

Gutman spoke in depth about his inspiration for the popular “My Weird School” series. He explained how each book takes him about a month to create, not including revisions. He said he modeled the main character after his son’s friend, A.J., and then sketched a large drawing of the character.

He shared his passion for sports and the research involved for such fictional stories as “Babe and Me” and “Shoeless Joe and Me,” based on the famous baseball players. 

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Gutman also explained his writing process from notes jotted on index cards to finished manuscript, emphasizing how it gets edited and rewritten multiple times to make it the best it can be. He added that many illustrations are done by someone across the country, and he sometimes doesn’t see them until the book is printed. 

At the end of each presentation, Gutman held a lively question and answer discussion, continuing to entertain students with his humorous responses. Between sessions, he autographed copies of his books purchased prior to the event, and all students received an autographed bookmark.