Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Allen County Young Authors 2015

Just experienced another great year at the Allen County Young Authors Celebration! This year the two authors that joined us were Louise Borden and Mike Graf.
Louise is the author of several picture books, early readers, and biographies. She writes a wide variety of stories from losing your first tooth to celebrating our custodians to showcasing true stories from World War II. She gains much of her inspiration from the students she meets, the history she loves researching, the schools she visits, the stories from her family, and the experiences of her past.

Louise didn't always want to be an author. When she was young she wanted to be a composer. Her music teacher supported Louise's efforts, even though Louise wasn't the best pianist. But Louise never lost her love of music and composing. She sees writing her books like composing beautiful music.

Mike Graf has been an elementary teacher, a college professor, and a TV weatherman. During these professions, he has started up his love of writing by creating non-fiction and fiction books for children.

Lately he has been writing a fiction series based on the National Parks. Readers follow the Parker family, with their twins Morgan and James, as they experience adventures like dodging scorpions in the Grand Canyon, hiding from a grizzly in Yellowstone, and avoiding mountain lions in Arches and Canyonlands.

Friday these stellar authors visited schools in Allen County talking about their books, the importance of reading, and encouraging the students with their own writing.

In preparation for these authors coming, elementary and middle school students wrote their own books, thanks to the support of their dedicated teachers. These books were then submitted to and judged by the Young Author committee. The committee reads ALL the books in the county (I think there were 700+ books written this year). Then they decide which books stand out in each grade level. The chosen authors are awarded a medal and an opportunity to attend the Young Authors Celebration on Saturday morning. During Saturday's events, these students get to meet other winners, share their own stories with their peers, and hear more presentations by the Louise and Mike. Later they can get their books signed by the visiting authors.

Last weekend was the 16th year of the Allen County Young Authors program. I have been volunteering to help with the program for almost all of it's 16 years. This is hugely in part to my amazing mother who developed this outstanding program those 16 years ago. And this year went without a hitch! Louise and Mike definitely inspired the kids to be better writers and readers!

Here I am with Louise while I was volunteering on Saturday. She was so awesome to meet! She was so good celebrating the kids for writing their own books.

Then here I am with Mike Graf. I loved hearing more about our National Parks! He made all who listened to him want to make a trip touring these gorgeous places.

So another successful year, thanks to these fabulous authors, the students, the teachers, and the dedicated Young Authors committee. Well done everyone!

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