Newbery Award Winning Author Visits NTES

Newbery Award Winning Author Visits North Trail Elementary
Posted on 05/04/2018
Kelly's Visit

North Trail Elementary fifth graders marched into the Media Center with excited chatter, big smiles, and hand-made signs proclaiming, “We love you, Erin!” The students were preparing to meet and speak with Erin Entrada Kelly, recipient of the 2018 Newbery Medal for Hello, Universe, the 2017 APALA Award for The Land of Forgotten Girls, and the 2016 Golden Kite Honor Award for Blackbird Fly. The kids were impressed by her awards, but more by the quality of her writing.

    Kelly writes middle grade fiction about kids who feel like misfits, something many grade-schoolers find relatable. As she began her presentation, Kelly told the students about her own childhood experience growing up in Louisiana as a Filipina-American. The population in her town was 0.02% Asian. Needless to say, she knows a thing or two about standing out in a crowd. Kelly told the students about being bullied but also about making friends. She advised them to always be kind “because you never know when it will change someone’s life.”

    Unsurprisingly, the majority of her visit focused on books and writing. Kelly shared books she made as a child — handwritten, with pencil drawings, on notebook paper — and excerpts from the journal she keeps as an adult — travel doodles and little notes on her day. The children loved seeing these things, especially her childhood books. Many of them have made similar creations.

    The kids came prepared with questions for Kelly, written on blue index cards so they wouldn’t forget. They asked everything from, “How long does it take you to finish writing a book?” (six months) to “What is your favorite childhood memory?” (playing outside). The kids even asked her questions about things they’d seen on her Twitter feed. It turns out they’ve been following her book tour on the social media website. Through this Q & A they learned that Kelly’s Hogwarts’ house is Huffelpuff, her favorite food is cookies, and her favorite books are The One and Only Ivan by K. A. Applegate and When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead.

    The students thanked Kelly for her visit with loud applause. They returned to their classrooms inspired to read more, write their own stories, be imaginative, and to show kindness.

    Many thanks to Erin Entrada Kelly for visiting our students at North Trail Elementary!

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