Tag Archives: author visit

Perseverance #SOLSC18

1 Mar

A few weeks ago, while I was at ALA, I got an unexpected email from Ellie Terry, author of Forget Me Not,  the book my Mock Newbery Club chose as their winner.

A friend had alerted her to our results on ALSC’s Mock Election site and she contacted me, offering a free Skype visit with the group. Of course I said yes.

Emails circulated, invitations to students were sent. My only instructions to the students  were to come with some questions in mind. Yesterday it happened.

I had never done a Skype visit with an author before and this went so smoothly, I hope to do more! Okay, there was the glitch that the Skype app on my school computer was out of date and required an administrator’s password to upgrade. Fortunately, I tested things the day before and found a work-around: Facebook Messenger!

Ellie asked the girls (yes, it was all girls who made it to this before school event) to introduce themselves and then began by showing her rock collection that connects to the story. After telling a little about herself, the book and her process, she opened it up for questions and the girls did not disappoint! We had a really great visit.

The thing that stuck with me was this: Ellie Terry received over 300 rejection letters – I think she said the exact number was 326 – and she has saved them all. She has them laminated in a roll and shows it at school visits to talk to readers about perseverance. She had a belief in her characters and the story she wanted to tell and kept sending it out into the world believing it would eventually find its place.

Today is day one of the Slice of Life Story Challenge in which I will write one Slice of Life Story every day for 31 days and comment on the posts of other Slicers. It starts off easy and gets hard. I run out of ideas. I don’t feel like commenting. I get busy. This year, when I start hitting that wall, I will think of Ellie Terry’s roll of rejection letters and I will persevere.

 

 

 

 

Inspiring Middle School Readers & Writers

2 Mar

Today is Read Across America Day, a celebration of reading on Dr. Seuss’ birthday. Some students in my class will truly read across America in a Skype reading session with students in Madison, Wisconsin and Portland, Maine. The high point for me was yesterday when I took my last period class to hear Rosanne Parry talk about her writing life.

IMG_2210

I first met Rosanne when her first book, The Heart of a Shepherd,  came out. Her dad came by the school to drop off some copies of her book and let me know she had attended our school when she was young. A published alumnus, I thought, we must get her in! And so we did.

I saw her around at bookish functions and at school board meetings where she lobbied hard on behalf of school librarians. I am now at a new school and Rosanne has just published her fourth book, Turn of the Tide.  When I heard she was coming, I jumped at the opportunity to take my class.

She started off by telling the stories that inspired each of her novels.She told of a college trip to Eastern Oregon where you left you key in the car’s ignition in case someone came by and needed it. She told of her experiences teaching in the Olympic Peninsula at a school operated by the Quinault Indian Nation and of the history of whale fishing among the Makah.

IMG_2209

She talked about the difficulty of navigating the Columbia River Bar. She held the rapt attention of the students as she retold the story of an American army captain visiting with Russian soldiers in the former East Germany, after the Berlin Wall fell. I’m sure they were all visualizing naked Russian men running down the street wearing each other’s prosthetics. I was most touched at how she teared up when she described the hardships these men had suffered during the Siege of Stalingrad.

She truly showed the students how a slice of life can be an inspiration for their writing.

Author Visit: Ken Jennings

6 Nov

Ken Jennings came to my school yesterday. You might remember him as the guy who was on Jeopardy for six months. He also played Jeopardy against Watson the computer.

IMG_1761

 

He has a series of kids books out now,  Junior Genius Guides, and he is on a book tour promoting his latest one about space facts.

Unknown

I was a little worried ahead of time because I didn’t know how well he would relate to kids, but they really seemed to enjoy his presentation. He told them cool facts about space, talked about his experience on Jeopardy, and talked about the kind of kid he was ( a nerdy reader, what a surprise!). He even brought along his own 11-year-old son.

At the end he called up three students to answer questions in a Jeopardy-like way.

When we got back to class, my kids were buzzing with excitement and we talked about his presentation for  a while, before starting Science. During Science, the books the kids ordered arrived, so we finished what we were doing and I let the kids who got books share some things they found interesting in the book they chose. I had a few library copies, too, so kids who didn’t order could also share, and I passed out the books I ordered too. The more the merrier.

All in all, it was a good presentation. I want to thank Powell’s Books at Cedar Hills Crossing for thinking of us. They reached out to us ( we are only a few blocks away) and offered us a free presentation.

Randy Ribay

YA author, teacher, nerd

The Fat Squirrel Speaks

Knitting, spinning, and assorted awesomeness.

Global Yell Blog

A blog about children's & YA lit, with some basset news thrown in

Jone Rush MacCulloch

Deo Writer: Musings to Spark the Spirit

Klickitat St. Readers

Just another WordPress.com site

Readerbuzz

A blog about children's & YA lit, with some basset news thrown in

PLUMDOG BLOG

A blog about children's & YA lit, with some basset news thrown in

Gail Carriger

A blog about children's & YA lit, with some basset news thrown in

Kate Messner

A blog about children's & YA lit, with some basset news thrown in

Cybils Awards

A blog about children's & YA lit, with some basset news thrown in

Someday My Printz Will Come

A blog about children's & YA lit, with some basset news thrown in

The Librarian Who Doesn't Say Shhh!

Opening books to open minds.

Tundra Books

Home of Penguin Random House Canada Young Readers and Friends

andrea gillespie

Inquiring My Way Forward

Kirby's Lane: A Place for Readers and Writers

A blog about children's & YA lit, with some basset news thrown in

The Horn Book

A blog about children's & YA lit, with some basset news thrown in

The History Girls

A blog about children's & YA lit, with some basset news thrown in

%d bloggers like this: