Author Phil Bildner

As you'll see after watching the videos embedded throughout today's blog entry, Phil Bildner is an energetic, articulate  and dedicated  children's author. He's written seven picture books, six chapter books, and two YA novels. 

I invited Phil on Watch. Connect. Read. to discuss his nonfiction picture books, school visits, writing, and reading. I wrote the words in red, and he wrote the words in black. Thank you, Phil! 

Joe DiMaggio and Ted Williams were far more than just all-time great baseball players.  They were true American heroes.  In the prime of their respective careers, both future hall-of-famers missed three full seasons in order to serve in the United States military in World War II. 

I want to visit your school or library because school visits are my favorite part of being an author.  Schools are the heart of a community.  Libraries are the soul.

Whenever I visit a school, I wake up really early.  I’m always too excited to sleep.  I can’t wait to present to the kids, visit the classrooms, explore the library and eat lunch with a group of students.  On school visit days, I get to spend an entire day immersed in books and reading and writing and process and learning and sharing.  Awesome! 

James Banning and Thomas Allen were probably missing a few screws just like the dilapidated OXX6 Eagle Rock they flew across the United States!  Anyone willing to fly from coast-to-coast in a rickety old plane had to have been a little bit crazy!

Photo credit: England Library
Lindsay Jones and I started doing Writing Camps several years ago as a way of getting the most out of my author visit.  Writing Camps are designed to be part of the instructional day, which allows Title I schools to use Title I funding to pay for the program.  Writing Camps use the vernacular of the school/district, support the teachers and show students that writing can – and should -- be fun and inspiring.  Lindsay was a great educator and an even greater human being.  Our Writing Camps enable me to carry her vision and spirit to students everywhere.

I highly recommend Happy Birthday, Bunny.  It’s a super cute new picture book by Liz Garton Scanlon.  And definitely check out Matthew Cordell’s, hello! hello! and then share it with everyone you know!

Reading is the ultimate power-up.  Reading is the master key.  Reading is the golden ticket.  Reading takes you everywhere.  Reading is not optional. 

Nonfiction picture books should be featured prominently in every middle school and high school library.  Whenever I talk research with students, I always recommend they start with a non-fiction picture book.  Why?  Three reasons:  First, picture books are usually short.  Second, picture books are generally easier to understand.  Third, and most importantly, if you turn to the back of a non-fiction picture book, there’s a list of sources or bibliography.  The author of the non-fiction picture book has done all the research.  All you need to do is find those sources, and you will have more than enough material.   

Mr. Schu, you should have asked me about my next picture book.  It’s called The Soccer Fence and comes out next year.  It’s a story of unity, friendship and soccer set in South Africa in the 1990s during the last days of Apartheid.  Jesse Joshua Watson is painting the stunning paintings.  I cannot wait to hold this one in my hands.

I am giving away one copy of The Unforgettable Season: Joe DiMaggio, Ted Williams and the Record-Setting Summer of 1941

Rules for the Giveaway

1. It will run from 1/18 to 11:59 P.M. on 1/21. 

2. You must be at least 13. 

3. Please pay it forward. 

Please borrow Phil Bildner's books from your school or public library. Whenever possible, please support independent bookshops. 


  1. As high energy as this interview is, it doesn't even come close to the high energy that is Phil Bildner in person. His books and his approach to school visits are a constant source of inspiration to me, and to all the lucky kids he visits each year. Thanks for a great interview!

  2. I've had the pleasure to see Phil Bildner in action and he's amazing at school visits. Not only does he inspire children, librarians, and teachers, he inspires authors (like me) to keep having fun writing new stories, too.

  3. I have the pleasure of knowing Phil in person and I can tell you--he is as wonderful--or more so--in person than on these videoes. Totally full of life, joy, and generosity! Just love him--and his work!

  4. Phil visited our school last year in Shanghai, China. I agree that his energy is AMAZING...
    He completely had the kids under his spell with his excitement and enthusiasm which was truly infectious.

    Hooray for Phil!

    Thanks Mr Schu


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