RAHWAY — Just about every kid loves sports, but many are reluctant to open a book. That wasn’t a problem at Roosevelt School in Rahway, where visiting author Dan Gutman used sports to get the students excited about reading and writing.
“I hated to read when I was a kid,” Gutman told the students. “But around the time I was ten years old, I became a big sports fan. I wanted to know everything about sports. Reading baseball cards, magazines, and biographies of my favorite athletes made me into reader. My mother was astonished that I grew up and became a professional writer.”
First, Gutman took students through the steps of the publishing process- the original idea, research, outlining, writing, re-writing, editing, cover design, and finally the exciting arrival of the finished book. He showed kids his original manuscripts; early cover designs and even read a few of the many rejection letters he received from publishers over the years.
“I don’t care how many times they turn me down”, said Mr. Gutman. “I never give up. And I hope you won’t if you get rejected.”
Next, Gutman put on an amusing slide show, in which he called “A Day In The Life Of An Author.” Then he answered questions from the students and their teachers. During the day he also had lunch with a group of children and signed many copies of his books.
Gutman, who grew up in Newark and now lives in Haddonfield, said he was short, skinny, and a “terrible” athlete when he was a boy. “But I really loved sports, Gutman told the students, “and I was lucky that I was able to make sports part of my career when I grew up. So if there’s something you really love, maybe you can make it part of your career someday, too.”