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Children's Literature Festival

Four students traveled with Mrs. Garard to the Children’s Literature Festival in Warrensburg, Missouri. On Sunday, March 19, Brianna Huffman, Jorjia Kitselman, Olivia Lacey and Kelsey Rice visited with various authors and illustrators. There were more than twenty authors and/or illustrators at the festival. The children viewed many books written or illustrated by the authors and illustrators that were for sale. Several students purchased books and had the authors autograph the books.

The students returned to the Festival on Monday, March 20 to listen to a different author each hour talk about how they started their career as an author.

Gennifer Choldenko, author of Al Capone Does My Shirts, Al Capone Shines My Shoes and many more titles, spoke about the research she did before writing historical fiction books. She took a job as a tour guide on Alcatraz Island to get information for her books.

Stephen Johnson wrote Alphabet City, A is for Art, City Numbers, My Little Blue Robot and many more books. He used his experiences he had when he was young when writing his books. He got many of his ideas from pictures. He didn’t limit his artwork only to children’s books but to displays in museums and gallery exhibits around the country. He told the children, “You need passion and practice to become successful as a writer/artist.”

Christine Taylor Butler, author of Magnets, Bathroom Science:70 Fun and Wacky Science Experiments and many more books pertaining to science, wrote books to make things interesting to capture children’s attention.  She recommended that the children have three things in their story that don’t work to build the climax before they give the solution. She encouraged students to email her if they encountered a problem with an experiment from one of her books. She emailed many students to help them discover the solution to the problem.

The students ate their sack lunch outside in the beautiful weather before going to the afternoon sessions.

Kate Milford, author of Greenglass House, Boneshaker and several more books, incorporated folklore into her stories. She suggested children keep ideas and pictures because eventually they can be worked into a story. When she got stuck while writing a story, she went back to do more research or just moved ahead in the story and filled in the missing part later.

Stephanie A. Bodeen, author of Compound, Shipwreck Island, The Detour and several more books, shared three things children can do to become a writer.

  • Read all you can

  • Write all you can

  • Fill your toolbox

The following are some comments the children shared about their experience at the festival.

“I learned to never give up, even when it’s had, or if you get rejected many times. NEVER GIVE UP.” wrote Jorjia.

Kelsey wrote, “I learned to try new things. You may not like it at first but try it.”

“S. A. Bodeen told us that just because you can’t read doesn’t mean you’re dumb and can’t follow along.You can listen to audio books,” wrote Brianna Huffman.

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