Reading changes the world

Reading opens our students' minds to a whole new world. This is truer for our lower school students who are adding new words to their vocabulary daily.

On Nov. 8-9, our friends enjoyed visits from two well-known children’s authors - Jerry Pallotta and Roland Smith.

Pallotta, who is known for his various alphabet books, shared that his love for writing was sparked by reading to his children.

“I noticed that every book started with ‘a’ is for apple,” said Pallotta. “I wanted to challenge that. What if ‘a’ was for something different? So, I wrote an ocean alphabet book.”

Pallotta has published more than 90 children books and has built his craft for more than 30 years.

“I love that he writes books about animals,” said Mike Hinton ’27. “I liked the book he wrote about killer whales because I love killer whales. “The book Killer Whale vs. Great White Shark is awesome.”

“I loved that we got to pick out new books. There are so many fascinating things to learn from them,” said Ryan Kennedy ’27. “I like that he signed my book.”

Roland Smith concluded the author visits on Wednesday, Nov. 9. He taught our students the process of writing a book with three key steps: conduct research; use a storyboard and create a draft.

He encouraged our students to become writers and to write about the things they love.

Smith, who refers to himself as a realistic fiction writer, said his love and experience with animals came from working at a zoo for 20 years.

“I started working at the zoo knowing that I wanted to be a writer. I think what happens is you write about things that are important to you. And, when you’ve worked with animals for 20 years than that becomes what is important to you,” said Smith. “I write 365 days a year. I wake up writing. My goal is to write 500 words each day. Writing takes time, and you get good at it if you spend time doing it.”

“I like how he writes books and how he told us how to write them,” said Carter Kaplan ’26. “He taught us all the great things about writing.”

“I liked his stories,” said Emear Smith ’26. “I really want to read one of his monster books. I learned that it’s okay to have sloppy copies and to keep writing until you see a really good copy.”

Mary Creekmore, lower school librarian, organized the author visits.

“We were excited to have both authors visit,” said Creekmore. “We’ve been reading their books since September. They both shared their passion for reading and writing. Also, they explained how important it is to write about what you love, and that the process takes time. They gave great advice.”