Middle-Grade Read with John David Anderson

Author John David Anderson, or Dave as he prefers to be called, delighted nearly 60 middle schoolers from Edmunds Consolidated School, Charlotte Elementary School and Pembroke Elementary School during our Washington County Middle-Grade Read around his novel, “Posted.” It was a great way to kick of IRW’s spring school visits!

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Kids from all three schools piled into the gym at Edmunds for Dave’s lively — and giggle-inducing — presentation. Everyone was drawn to Dave who is a self-described “11-year-old at heart” as he shared how he got into writing and what inspires him (“Star Wars”!) He explained why writing is the best job in the world (because he doesn’t have to leave his house or change out of his pajamas) and the four secrets of storytelling: seek inspiration, flex your imagination, use your toolbox (elements such as alliteration and simile) and, most importantly, never give up! Dave also urged kids to remember that “words are the most powerful tool you have” and to be kind and use your words wisely, a theme that runs through “Posted.”

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The kids were broken up into three groups with peers from different schools and moved through three workshops throughout the day: a writing workshop, art workshop and trivia game.

In Dave’s writing workshop, they created silly limericks that had to follow the correct meter and rhyme scheme (lines 1,2 and 5 must rhyme; while lines 3 and 4 also rhyme; lines 1,2 and 5 must have 7-10 syllables and lines 3 and 4 must have 5-7 syllables — whew!). There was a lot of laughter and very creative poems shared aloud.

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In the art workshop, kids had four minutes to illustrate four different scenes from “Posted” in graphic novel format. We loved seeing all of the different interpretations of what those scenes looked like.

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Throughout the Edmunds hallways, there were Post-its that featured inspiring aphorisms, just like in “Posted.”

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During the trivia game, the group had to work as a team in order to answer questions about books found in the Edmunds library. Once they found the book, there was an envelope inside with a question relating to “Posted.” The team had to answer that question, then receive yet another envelope that would be opened at the end of the day to unscramble an aphorism from the book. There was much laughter and teamwork as the kids worked together to find library books and remember some very specific details about “Posted.”

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At the end of the day, all three teams came together to try and quickly unscramble their phrase. Each team managed to figure out the phrases!

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This fun-filled day was the perfect complement to Dave’s exuberant personality and IRW was so fortunate to bring this author to Maine schools for the first time this spring.

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