Thursday, May 17, 2012

Author Highlight: Jeffery L. Schatzer

Teaching young readers about our countries history is easy and fun with the Professor Tuesday series of books by Jeffery L. Schatzer. I've had the opportunity to read his wonderful adventure about The Underground Railroad and found it very interesting and surprisingly fun to read. Although the subject matter is touchy, he has provided middle grade readers an opportunity to become engaged with characters they can relate to.

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KBN: How do you promote kids and reading?
JLS: I do as many school visits, library presentations and book events as I can each year. During many of my visits I talk to students, teachers, family groups, PTA, PTO and anyone who’ll listen about the importance of children’s literacy. With students, I try to reposition reading and writing as skills that can be enjoyed. (I hate associating reading and writing with work.)

KBN: Tell us about your website?
JLS: My website, www.bigbellybooks.com has information about my most popular school programs, plus reviews, interviews and other fun stuff.

KBN: Will you be doing any school book tours?
JLS: Yes, as many as I can. Unfortunately, my publisher doesn’t support book tours in any way. So, interested schools and homeschooling organizations can contact me at jefferyschatzer@gmail.com

KBN: What are your thoughts on the new technology for reading a book?
JLS: I think anything that can get a young person interested in reading is valuable. All of my chapter books are/will be on line shortly. As for my picture books, I am making readings of them available free of charge. Beginning with my 3-time national award winning book, The Runaway Garden. Visit my website and read along.

KBN: What advice do you have for parents on getting their kids reading?
JLS: On the back of my business card is a quote that I adapted and claim for my own. It reads: “Children learn the joy of reading on the laps of those who love them.” Spending the time to read in front of, to and with children is the greatest gift an adult can give. Data clearly show that children with good reading habits earn more than $500,000 more over a lifetime than those who have poor reading skills. Reading to and with children is a lifelong bonding experience that builds strong relationships as well as reading power.

KBN: Tell us about your book(s) and illustrations.
JLS: I write picture books and historical fiction chapter books that contain positive themes and messages. I try to make the reading adventure as fun as I can.

KBN: How long did it take you to get this idea to where it is now?
JLS: My idea for Professor Tuesday came to me 7-8 years ago. I currently have three historical fiction chapter books based on the character. I spend roughly a year and a half researching the history of each book before writing them.

KBN: What will kids love most about your book(s)?
JLS: They will enjoy the excitement of history along with the fun and adventure of a story about students just like them.

KBN: What will parents and teachers love most about your book(s)?
JLS: My Professor Tuesday books offer wholesome stories and well-researched historical perspectives. I don’t do witches, vampires, demons, ghouls, zombies or otherworldly stuff. I do historical fiction with some mildly humorous science fantasy.

KBN: What's your next project?
JLS: Right now I am reassessing. I have been trying to break through as an author for the past 8 years. I enjoy the writing process, but the inability to get my work recognized widely has been challenging. IF Professor Tuesday Book 3 takes off, I might have Tamika come back to visit the professor again. This time, she wants to spend some time with Sojourner Truth. Otherwise, I’m working on an adult murder mystery. I’m having fun with it, but I really enjoy historical fiction for young people.

To learn more about Mr. Schatzer visit his website.


Title: Professor Tuesday's Awesome Adventures In History: Book Three The Underground Railroad
Author: Jeffery L. Schatzer
Illustrator: Jeffrey Ebbeler
Publisher: Mitten PressISBN:9781587266058

Review:


What if you could travel back in time to experience major events in history first hand? Hold onto your hat because that's exactly what Professor Tuesday, Tamika and Jesse will do in the Tuesday Teleporter. This cool contraption can only go back in time on a Tuesday. Follow along as this awesome trio encounter some of histories best known heroes of the Underground Railroad.

Tamika wants to go back in time to learn about the Underground Railroad. Her family escaped slavery in the south and traveled through Ohio, Indian and Michigan to eventually find freedom in Canada. The first stop through the time machine was to meet with Fredrick Douglas in London. The trio learn about Fredrick's courage, bravery and how he became an educated fighter for freedom, all while they were sipping tea. The Professor expresses his concern to Tamika and Jesse in regards to the dangers of going back in time to study the actual occurrences of the Underground Railroad. Professor Tuesday gets an idea on how his young friends can watch history unfold and be safe at the same time. He assembles a remote control monster truck with a video camera, microphone and a small speaker. With the help of Professor Brown, they are able to cloak their new history traveling device.

The Professor, Tamika and Jesse send their new device back in time. The history of the Underground Railroad slowly begins to unfold. They soon learn that the people who participated were from many different professions. Not all were black. Many whites helped too. It's not all fun and games for Tamika. It's necessary for her to hit the books for additional learning. She doesn't necessarily want to make the time, but finds that reading about the events of the Underground Railroad and its participants proved to be very interesting. Tamika experiences the sadness and fear of those who traveled the web of trails for the Underground Railroad. The run for freedom and knowledge gained has opened a door to many questions and answers about this amazing piece of American history.

Schatzer has done an excellent job of teaching history to readers of all ages. This middle grade series is engaging and informative while creating an adventure that kids can sink their teeth in. Teachers will especially love this series because it offers true facts about American history. Readers will find the characters fun, inquisitive and very likeable. Boys and girls will not only learn about history but are invited to create their own maps and routes of the Underground Railroad, as well as, view other sources and create an ending of their won as suggested by the Author's Notebook in the back of the book.


Thanks so much Jeff for stopping by. To learn more about Jeff visit his website and The Neophyte Writer.



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