Middle school students chat with published author

Margaret Peterson Haddix, New York Times bestselling author, shared the day with our middle school students on Thursday, Oct. 13.

During an interactive session, our sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade students created short stories filled with random items throughout the classroom, such as an American Flag, violin and water bottle. Each story allowed our students to bring characters and scenarios to life.

The imagination within the room flourish as creative thoughts became words on paper to enhance each of our students’ storyline.

“Students had to pick five random items, which could become prompts or characters in their story. The object could have personality or become something to build the story,” said Haddix, who published her first book in 1991 and has continued her career for more than 20 years.

Prior to the breakout sessions with each grade level, Haddix spoke with our students about her inspiration for writing.

“Each middle school class read one of my books,” said Haddix. “I talked about how I got the idea for each book and the characters within the story.”

Our sixth-grade class read Among the Hidden, seventh grade read Found and eighth grade read Double Identity.  

“I learned a lot about creative stories and how to make everyday objects into characters in your story,” said Ander Crenshaw ’21. “I also learned how people design the covers for the books. I really liked that I learned a lot.”

“I learned that your ideas can be based off of anything and that you can write a story based off a news article or something that you talked about at your lunch or dinner table,” said Ennass Alfahd ’21.

Haddix also signed books for our students and allowed them to ask about the intimate details and cliff hangers in her books.

“The experience of meeting an author and sharing in his or her writing process and inspirations is a dream,” said Jill Archer, middle school English teacher. “The students were able to ask their burning questions and make a real-life connection with an author who understands their interests. Having this opportunity to talk about books and write creatively with an actual published author allows students to see reading and writing in a professional way, but it also encourages them to dream a little bigger and read a little longer in everyday life.”