"Mrs. Young," he said, "I have an idea for our next book club meeting. Each person could read a book in the American Chillers series (by Johnathan Rand), and then we could explain what happened in the book because the end of each book sets up the next book in the series."
After briefly contemplating this student's idea (and listening to his animated description of how much he loves these books!), I decided that we could easily make this work. As if this student wasn't excited enough, he had another brainstorm.
"Wouldn't it be cool if Johnathan Rand would Skype with us?"
"That would be cool," I responded. "Why don't you contact him and ask him if he would do that."
That day at lunch, this student worked diligently to compose his request. With an almost immediate response from Mr. Rand (Thank you, Johnathan!), we set up a date and a time for our book club Skype.
On April 3, our opportunity arrived and our students had the chance to talk personally with one of their favorite authors. They not only learned more about his writing process, how he researches information for his books, and how he generates ideas, but also about Johnathan's passion for writing and connecting with his readers.
The student who began it all was the most excited. He had many questions for his favorite author and some especially creative ideas for Johnathan's future books.
Technology has provided us with some amazing opportunities to connect our kids to these types of experiences. The simple gift of Johnathan Rand's time has given at least one young student an experience that he will remember forever. The 5th graders of New London Intermediate School want to give Johnathan a special thank you for sharing the joy of writing, answering all of their burning questions, and showing the kids that their voices do matter and that their role models do care about what they have to say.
You can learn more about Johnathan Rand and his writing by visiting www.americanchillers.com.