Last Thursday, the Junior School was proud to host two award-winning authors, Pamela Porter and Polly Hovarth. Polly Hovarth has won numerous awards including the National Book Award and the Newbery Honor award, and is most well-known for her book The Vacation. Pamela Porter won a Governor General’s Award for her book The Crazy Man, which was also named the Canadian Library Association Children’s Book of the Year.
Junior School Librarian Diana Nason organized the author visits, but got a helping hand from one particularly motivated student. “I was having some trouble contacting Pamela,” she says, “but [Grade 5 student] Jack Sherrod was so keen that he found her himself.”
Jack ended up contacting Pamela Porter through her Facebook page. “I sent her a message asking her if she had written any other books like The Crazy Man,” he recounts. “The next day she replied saying she had, so I asked her to come to my school.” When Ms. Porter visited last Thursday, Jack and fellow Grade 5 student Matty McColl gave their classmates a synopsis of her work before Jack proudly introduced Ms. Porter as his “Facebook friend.”
The Grade 4s and 5s asked Ms. Porter how she developed her characters, and were introduced to the idea of mixing fiction and non-fiction to create a personal and moving story. Students were deeply interested in her book The Crazy Man, and she made a close connection with them during her visit.
Grade 5 students Rachel Benjamin and Loren Kai gave a well-researched introduction for Polly Hovarth. During her visit, Ms. Hovarth demonstrated how the publishing process works by playing a game with the students. Each student held a card of a different job that is involved with making a book, and they were amazed at how many people besides the author are involved in publishing a single novel.
Mrs. Nason was delighted with how well the day went and she was particularly impressed by the students themselves and how motivated they were to learn more about the authors. The students had a great time getting to know some of their favourite authors and learning about the process behind the story-making on a professional and personal level.