Author Visits Brings Reading Excitement to Junior School


by Diana Nason, Junior School teacher/librarian

At the Junior School, we work hard to maintain a culture of reading. This means that reading for pleasure is something that all of us do. We get excited to share stories, hear about new books, and find out new information. It is part of life here.

Studies show that children who read for pleasure achieve more academically than those who do not so it makes sense for us to find ways to promote reading. One of the ways we do that is by inviting authors into the school to speak with the students.

Meeting authors excites children about their specific works, but also exposes children to the writer’s craft. How do you go about writing a book? Where do you get your ideas? How long does it take to write a book? Last Friday, Ken Oppel (a multi award-winning children’s writer and a 1985 SMUS alumnus) and John Wilson (a geologist turned historical writer) visited the Junior School to talk books with our Grades 3-5 classes. Students loved the author talks (read their reflections below!), as they were awestruck and completely attentive throughout the interactive presentations. Now, the library is busily working to increase the number of copies of the authors’ books to meet demand. There is renewed excitement about reading and there is a much greater awareness around writing that teachers are harnessing in their classrooms.

We are so appreciative of Ken and John for coming to speak with our classes because author visits help us nurture generations of story-loving, life-long readers.

Student Reflections on Ken Oppel

“After Ken Oppel’s visit, I felt that I needed to start reading more.” – Ty

“Ken Oppel’s book The Nest is different in a good way. It is kind of weird that the baby is being born in a wasp’s nest. It is an interesting mystery – good for Halloween.” – Ella

“Ken Oppel was intriguing and smart. I liked how he told the story because it sounded dramatic.” – Arjun

“I really enjoyed his sense of humour. The titles of Kenneth Oppel’s books are extremely interesting, like a magnet attracting me to the book.” – Alex

“After meeting with Kenneth Oppel I feel like I should read his books and that I should write my own.” – Jonah

“Being an author is interesting and hard work. He showed us hundreds of pages of edits and rewrites from before the book was printed.” – Saba

“I am really excited to read The Nest and I think he is really a good and intriguing speaker. He inspired me to read his Airborn series and any others that he writes.” – Daniel

“I felt inspired! I want to read all of his books!” – Ian

“I think that Ken Oppel is creative, funny and inspiring.” – Rowan

“I felt anxious about his new book, wanting to find out what happened next. I also felt excited to listen to him talk about his books. I liked meeting Kenneth Oppel and talking to him and asking him questions.” – Naechal

Student Reflections on John Wilson

“I really enjoyed John Wilson’s visit because I like that when he writes books, he first researches topics that actually happened. I also enjoyed it because he talked a lot about history and I love learning about history.” – Alyssa

“John Wilson is really inspiring to me and I hope that I can find more books like his Seven series. I hope to meet him again.” – Xander

“I like John Wilson because he uses real facts to create great books.” – Anna

“I am really excited to read his books because he really got me interested the books he brought. I wanted to hear even more.” – Bianca

“John Wilson’s books are very adventurous about real adventures with attractive titles.” – Alex

“I enjoyed John Wilson’s visit at our school because all of his stories are historic novels. I liked the way he told us about the books, but did not give away the story.” – Markus

“I liked his stories and his Scottish accent. He put a lot of detail in his stories. When you asked a question, he would tell you everything.” – Julia

“I liked John Wilson because he puts lots of facts in his books, but he doesn’t make the books too hard to read.” – Will

(photos by Gordon Chan and Jolanta Lisiewicz)


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