Author Spotlight: Dan Gutman



My Weird Author Visit

Dan Gutman’s latest tale from the kooky halls of the fictional Ella Mentry School, where each day brings a wacky surprise, is a geography-themed story called Mrs. Barr Has Gone Too Far! For those keeping track, Mrs. Barr Has Gone Too Far!  is #9 in Gutman’s My Weirder-est School series, and it is currently available for request at Brooklyn Public Library! 

During a Zoom meeting with 300 students at P.S. 139 Alexine A. Fenty Elementary School in Ditmas Park last week, Gutman introduced the students and aspiring writers to his recipe for cooking up a delightful story. The ingredients list (which Gutman is holding in the picture at the top of this post) includes the parts of a story such as Setting, Main Character, Goal, Research, Obstacle and Surprise Ending. 

Gutman helped the students weave a story out of these story ingredients, starting them off by telling them about a main character, Chef Bob, who wants to be the first person to cook a hamburger on Mount Everest. However, Chef Jim has a similar goal which creates the main obstacle in the story. How will it end? Gutman left that up to the students. 

"I want reading my books to feel effortless. I'm trying to write stories that are so captivating that kids will look up after an hour and feel like they'd been watching a movie in their head."

Dan Gutman  

Gutman told the students that he didn’t enjoy reading until he discovered sports. Then he started reading books about his favorite athletes as well as the sports pages in his local newspaper. He writes about one of his favorite sports, baseball, in his Baseball Card Adventure Series, in which a young boy finds baseball cards that enable him to travel back in time to meet famous ball players. You can find all of Dan Gutman's books about sports here.

Students had a chance to ask lots of questions during his visit. 

Student Q&A

What are the personality traits that make a good author?

Persistence and curiosity, said Gutman, who said you have to be strong to persist with your dream when difficulties arise. Being curious about the world around you will help you develop ideas for books!  

How do you weave a story that makes sense? 

Use My Weird Writing Tips!

What's Your Secret for Success? 

Put an ordinary kid in an extraordinary situation.

What do you do when you get writer's block? 

Take a bike ride around Central Park in Manhattan.

What other children's authors are you friends with? 

Peter Lerangis, Dan Yaccarino, Geoff Rodkey, Alan Katz, Holly KowittR.L. Stine, Chris Grabenstein

What's your next My Weird School book and when is it being published?

My Weirder-est School #10 Mr. Ott is a Crackpot! is about a softball coach and will be published on Feb. 15, 2022.

Before you go....

Check out this BKLYN Booklist: My Weird Author Visit with a smorgasbord of Dan Gutman’s latest books for young readers, including a graphic novel version of My Weird School called Mr. Corbett is in Orbit! and his new biography series, Wait! WHAT? featuring all that is weird and wonderful about famous people from history like Amelia Earhart, Muhammed Ali, Teddy Roosevelt and Albert Einstein. Don't miss My Weird Writing Tips and My Weird Reading Tips by Dan Gutman, too!


For all the books in Dan Gutman's My Weird School series click here.



This blog post reflects the opinions of the author and does not necessarily represent the views of Brooklyn Public Library.


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