Once again, the amazing Avid Bookshop has brought an author to our school. This time our visiting author was Alan Gratz. He is currently touring in promotion of his newest book The League of Seven. Gratz is also the author of books such as Prisoner B-3087 , Fantasy Baseball, and The Brooklyn Nine.
All students in 3rd-5th grade attended, which was roughly 200+ kids. They were mesmerized by his every word. After showing a slide with all of his book covers, Alan Gratz focused the conversation on the cover of his new book.
Instead of starting with a summary of his book, Gratz began with the story of how the book came to be. He explained that he wanted to make a book “full of awesome”, so he made a big board to pin up awesome ideas for his book.
He kept bringing students back to a slide with several of these ideas and having them vote on what they wanted to hear about by raising their hands. For example, would you rather hear about heads in jars or mad scientists? Would you rather hear about secret societies or machine men? Would you rather hear about giant monsters or Native American cities? As students chose a topic, he fleshed out the topics that appear in The League of Seven.
When it came time to talk about what the book was about, the students had context about what “steam punk” meant as well as example of secret societies, flying machines, and monsters. Best of all, by the time Alan Gratz got to the part about giving a summary of the book, pretty much every student was hooked and wanted to read the book. I ordered 2 additional copies of the book during the presentation because I knew demand would be high.
Alan Gratz showed students how readers around the world are creating fan fiction and illustrations based on the book. He has a website called the Septemberist Society, which has challenges, book news, and places for displaying fan fiction and illustrations. He encouraged students to send any of their creations to him for the site.
As soon as the talk was over, I hurried to catalog the books. A parent came in to prep the books for checkout and within minutes of putting them out, they were gone. Students came in and started putting holds on the books as well.
I love how hearing from an author sprinkles magic dust onto the library books. The awesome cover of this book designed by Brett Helquist is enough to make you want to pick it up, but hearing from the author creates magic.
Thank you Alan Gratz, Avid Bookshop, and Starscape for this incredible visit with out students.