Visiting Authors 2016-2017
January 30, 2017
Bookmarked members were ready to take on author, Marieke Nijkamp during one of their regularly scheduled meetings. She was in the Netherlands where she lives while Bookmarked ate their lunch in Avondale, LA. Though her published work is a contemporary, gritty story about a school shooting, and many members are more fond of fantasy or manga than realistic fiction, the students were fascinated by Nijkamp's explanation of how she came to write a story based in a country where she has only visited. Nijkamp talked for about 15 minutes described her first visit to America where she saw a school bus for the first time. It was during this visit that the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting took place. It was this event that spurred her on to write, This is Where it Ends. She had been in the middle of writing a fantasy, but the idea of exploring a shooting while it was happening was intriguing to her. After much research she was able to produce a very emotional book. You can read more about this visit on the librarian's blog here.
November 30, 2016
Ruta Sepetys is always a delight, but when she began to talk at the beginning of our skype visit, the students were quickly mesmerized. She talked about her book Between Shades of Gray, but also about her other books as well. In Shades of Gray, she named her fictional characters after people in her life. Her main character, Lina, was given her mother's personality. Her family was concerned that this character might not survive at the end of the story, but she does. Years ago, Ruta met a German fan named Florian who said that he wanted to be in one of her books. He is one of the main characters in her recently published Salt to the Sea. When she visited Germany after the book came out, Florian, now in college, met her again. He was thrilled when he found out that she did actually include him in her newest book. In her books, Ruta tries to uncover little known history that will drive her story and will also draw in her readers. Though historical fiction may not be the genre of choice at PFTSTA, students here can always appreciate a well written book, with interesting characters, and action that surprises the reader. You can read more about the visit on the librarian's blog here.
T. A. Barron
November 15, 2016
All the 7th and 8th grade students welcomed T. A. Barron on Tuesday, November 15th. He was on tour for the recently published book in the Atlantis Saga series. He came armed with a Powerpoint with pictures of the fantastical maps that he creates for all his books, a book trailer for Atlantis Rising created by a fan, and a short video about the young hero's award that he gives to ten teens each year. He actually talked a little about all the different series that he has created. He explained that his inspiration for each series sprouted from questions that he had. For the Merlin Saga, he had always wondered what Merlin was like as a boy and how he came to be such a powerful wizard. For the Atlantis Saga, he knew of so many stories about the end of Atlantis but not about what life was like there during its heyday. There was little time for questions at the end, but Ms. Kahn had a chance to find out what were the origins for the names of people and places in the Atlantis Saga. Barron said that most of them had a Greek root as he thought Atlantis would have been influenced by Greece. The name of the land at the beginning of the saga was Ellegandia which was a name that he did just make up. Fantasy is a popular genre at PFTSTA. The students were active listeners which was in evidence by the many who clamored for copies of his books during lunch. That is a real testament to their enjoyment of the author's presentation. Thanks to Octavia Books and Penguin Teen for making this visit possible. You can read more about the visit on the librarian's blog here.
November 2, 2016
Bookmarked Jr. Edition was created this year because some dedicated readers from 8th grade did not want a year without a book group. As the new group on campus, they had the privilege of having the first skype of the school year. Mark Alpert was a journalist writing about science before becoming a science fiction author for both adults and young adults. His book, The Six, is based on real science. However, much of the technology in the book though not available now may be in the future. With his first book for young adults, he knew that he did not want to dumb down the science and feels that he was able to accomplish this. The idea that a person's brain could be downloaded into a robot as a means to save a person who is terminally ill makes the book extremely intriguing. The students spent time thinking and discussing whether this new "creature" is the same as the human or a copy. His inspiration for The Six came from the book by Ray Kurzweil called The Singularity is Near in which Kurzweil posits cutting edge technology regarding humans, the brain, and robots that he believes is in the near future. You can read more about Alpert's visit on the librarian's blog here.