Elizabeth Atkinson delighted in bringing her book “The Island of Beyond” to students at the North Haven Community School. Teacher Nikole Seeger enthusiastically led students in grades 5 – 8 in their reading and exploration of the book in anticipation of Elizabeth’s visit.
The whole group gathered to hear an overview presentation which included the challenge of being an author and how and where Elizabeth gets her ideas for her books — by noticing things all around her and imagining their underlying stories.
Nikole and her students were prepared since they were familiar with using descriptive words to make simple statements pop and be more intriguing for readers. They were particularly drawn into using the visual prompts that Elizabeth shared to bring stories to life. They had lots of questions about the characters in the story.
Students had done rough drafts of their own version of North Haven, much like the “Martinville” created in the “The Island of Beyond” by the book’s protagonist. Complete with map keys, symbols and some with their own crests and shields, students illustrated the elements of their personal village by depicting shops, schools, friend and family homes, military defense, natural resources and other elements that made up their ideal community.
Speaking of descriptive language, when asked about the day’s visit students’ comments included, “Amazing, Inspiring, Fun, and Awesome.” They shared that some of their takeaways from the day were the inspiration and ideas they got from Elizabeth, how much visuals help in creating stories, and how a map of the setting really brings the story to life. This island really embraced “Island of Beyond”!