SOUTH WHITLEY — Hoosier author John David Anderson entertained students at both Whitko Jr/Sr High School and South Whitley Elementary School in an event that was conducted in collaboration with the South Whitley Community Public Library on Tuesday, Oct. 9.
During the event, Anderson spoke about his books and his writing process with the hope of helping students continue to grow their love for reading.
“We’re so excited to have John David Anderson here today speaking to our middle grade students because that’s an age where sometimes it’s harder to get kids to read,” said Logan Brown, Youth Services and Children’s Librarian for SWCPL.
Anderson gave a brief lecture in the morning at the high school auditorium, which was open to the general public and to grades three through eight. During much of his time on stage, he shared the spotlight with the audience in a playful back-and-forth style banter, using questions and challenges to generate participation.
In one such moment, Anderson introduced a tongue twister of his own creation. He asked the audience members to raise their hand if they believed they could successfully say the phrase “The sixth sick sheik’s sixth sheep’s sick” to win a candy prize. Almost immediately, student hands shot up all around the room. But to their astonishment, Anderson called on a teacher to try out the phrase instead of a student and quickly quipped, “and that is what we call a plot twist.”
Anderson created moments like this throughout the day’s experience, with teachable moments that were acted out in front of the students in real time dialogue. On a facebook live video posted by Whitko Community Schools, Anderson said “I’ve already talked to your kids about inspiration and imagination and the importance of reading as much as possible and being curious and asking the right questions. We’ve got a great day planned.” The video was uploaded to help parents who could not attend the morning session gain insight into the fun-filled day. Later in the afternoon, SWE uploaded another live video where Anderson was on full display, teaching fifth-grade students how to build their own limericks.
Students in grades three through six at the elementary school were able to attend smaller breakout sessions, where Anderson spent more intimate time together with future authors to inspire them to take their love for writing and expand upon it. “What’s the difference between a writer and an author?” asked Anderson during one of the sessions. Students responded with a variety answers to the author, all eager to join the discussion while Anderson patiently listened. “The difference between a writer and an author,” he explained, ”is that an author signs their name onto what they’ve written and hands it to somebody else. The moment that you share something with somebody else beside yourself, you become an author, right? Because that’s the moment at which that thing you wrote is away from you. That’s the moment at which somebody else’s eyes get to look at it, judge it, and love it, and all those things. So that means, I’m guessing, that every single one of you in the room is an author.”
Seven books are currently listed as works by Anderson, according to his website.