Children's authors share stories during school visits
Children's authors share stories during school visits
Wednesday, October 11, 2017
Several children’s authors visited Pattonville recently, providing elementary students insight on writing - and in some cases illustrating - books. Authors Paul Griffin, Todd Parr and Dan Santat visited different schools in Pattonville. Parr and Santat are also illustrators.

Griffin and Santat, who won a Caldecott Medal for most distinguished American picture book for children, visited Drummond Elementary School and Remington Traditional School. Griffin is the author of "Saving Marty" and Santat wrote "After the Fall." Parr, author of "Love the World," visited Bridgeway Elementary School.

Remington reading specialist Jill Ramig said the authors shared great messages with students.

"Paul Griffin talked with the students about being the best with whatever they wanted to be," she said. "He told his story about how he became an author and how it wasn't easy.  He was passionate and told everyone that passion matters. He really connected with every student he talked to, making sure they knew he heard them.

"Dan Santat talked about how his parents wanted him to be a doctor and how he had to work hard to become an artist," Ramig added. "He showed the students how he draws on the computer and read them two of his picture books. His latest book, 'After the Fall,' was written for his wife who suffers from anxiety, just like Humpty Dumpty does in the book."  

Remington library technology specialist Allison Stout said teachers prepared students for the visits by introducing the author's work before they arrive.

"Generally, we try to prepare the students by reading some of the books during Classroom Book a Day or as a class read aloud," she said. "I also introduce the author with a slideshow to spark wondering questions. For example, I'll tell the students facts and show pictures and ask 'What do you wonder about Paul Griffin?' This is to help them develop deep questions for the author."

Stout credited partnerships with local bookstores for being able to bring best-selling authors to the schools.

"We are very lucky to have developed a relationship with Webster Groves independent book store Novel Neighbor," Stout said. "Usually a publisher or author contacts the store looking for locations to visit on their book tours. Then the Novel Neighbor reaches out to schools to host the author."  

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Paul Griffin at Remington Traditional School

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Todd Parr at Bridgeway Elementary School

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Dan Santat at Remington Traditional