7th and 8th graders video-chatted with fiction writer Dan Gemeinhart, author of Scar Island, a book many of our middle school students have read as it was on their school’s Newbery Book Buzz List of suggested reading. Speaking from his home Washington State, Mr. Gemeinhart told the student about how he grew up in a military family and had to move around the country a lot, making him the perpetual new kid in school and making it nearly impossible to build lasting friendships. However, the one thing he could depend on whenever he entered a new school was a library filled with familiar books, and it was there in those libraries that he developed his life-long love of fiction. Mr. Gemeinhart also shared what went into writing Scar Island, how he developed his characters and plot, and why, from a writer’s perspective, things happened as they did in the book. He also took time to answer questions students had about the book and titles he has in the works.
Scar Island is one of nine titles on the CMS Newbery Book Buzz List, which school librarian Donna Eager and the 7th and 8th grade teaching teams put together after researching new fiction on the young readers’ market and selecting books that are making waves with critics and readers alike. From this list all 7th and 8th graders could choose a title that interested them and our school provided them with copies to read.
The chat with Mr. Gemeinhart went along with the related lunchtime book discussions Ms. Eager and the teachers have offered each month in the library. Earlier, Ms. Eager was also able to arrange for students to video-chat with author Ali Standish, who wrote The Ethan I Was Before, another title on the list.