Author, Jen Calonita, Shares Stories on Becoming a Writer
|I am the one on the left!|
A month or so ago I heard that we might have a visit from author Jen Calonita. Then I didn't hear anything confirming the date and time. I got so busy that I forgot to email or call to make sure we were on her schedule in New Orleans. Then it got to crunch time, and I was heading out of town for two days to attend the Louisiana Library Association annual conference. I needed to plan our visit. I don't like to do things last minute. It all worked as we were well prepared for her visit, but I did only have a handful of days to get ready. That just makes me crazy.
I certainly like meeting new authors, but since BRiMS had skyped with Jen in 2015, I was pumped to meet her face to face. When we talked to her in 2015, only the first book in the Fairy Tale Reform School series had been published. For this visit, Jen was kicking off the publication of the third book. After hearing her talk, the students who bought the first book went home that night and promptly finished it. I had purchased multiple copies for the library for our skype session, and all of those were checked out the next day by students who couldn't wait to begin reading. I love how an author has that effect on the students. Every time an author comes to our school, students will hesitate about buying the book before the big day. I always tell them to bring their money and decide after the talk if they want to purchase the book. Invariably, they choose to get the book.
The students enjoyed what Jen had to say about her journey from young reader to writer. She left time for many questions at the end of her talk. The students asked great questions. Why does she have to rename the fairy tale characters? It is a shame to me that students tend to think of fairy tales in terms of the Disney versions as definitive. Of course, copyright law will not allow her to use the Disney name for any of her characters. Same goes with the question about putting a Harry Potter character into her story.
When the talk was over, there was time for signing books. Many of the students who attended last year's skype went up to Jen to ask if she remembered them and their question. She didn't remember them of course, but she did remember many of their questions. One student had asked her about Bluebeard the Pirate, who she was going to include in a later book, and because they student had read widely on the subject of the pirate the two had discussed what is known about him. Another student had suggested Cursed as a future book title as all the titles were going to be one word and verbs. Though Jen loved the idea of Cursed, it hasn't made it on the cover of a book, yet.
Getting authors to our school would not be possible without the kind generosity of the publisher (in this case Source Books) and a local bookstore (in this case Octavia Books). Patrick Taylor Academy is author friendly, and we love having visitors to our school who get to meet and learn from our awesome students. See lots more pictures of the day on the library website.