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Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Author Visits to Schools

Hi Folks! A few weeks ago, I returned to my hometown in Illinois to do some author visits for my high school, and an elementary school where I had been baptized as a child. The visits went great, and the head librarian of my high school wrote up a wonderful article for the Parent-Teacher newsletter about it. I wanted to share it since it was so nice:

Good to Know

Article contributed by Bridget Wilmot, Library/Media Department Chair

Alison Reeger Cook, a 2001 RB graduate, recently presented to over 100 students about her published novel, The Scholar, the Sphinx, and the Shades of Nyx.

Reeger Cook’s fantasy novel is set in Spain in 1852 and follows David Sandoval, a teenage genius, who is abducted while traveling to Paris. He is taken “through the Curtain, the gateway between our world and the world of the unseen, where many creatures of myth and legend reside” (book cover summary). During David’s escape attempts from the Curtain, he learns a powerful secret and must find a way to save the worlds and people he loves.

In addition to discussing her novel, Reeger Cook presented to students about the writing and publishing process. To improve their writing, she encouraged students to read often and practice writing frequently. She also advised students to follow their own interests and passions when creating stories.
 
This presentation provided an authentic learning opportunity for students and gave Reeger Cook the change to give back to her alma mater. “It was so much fun to be back at RB; so much has changed since I graduated twelve years ago! But there were familiar faces I was so happy to see again, and all new faces that I was delighted to meet. To speak to the students, some of whom share the same intense passion for storytelling and writing as I do, is a big part of why I love being an author, and I hope I was able to inspire some of them to keep working hard and improving their skills,” she said.
 
Reeger Cook also had the opportunity to meet with some of her former instructors. Fine Arts teacher Diane Marelli saw Reeger Cook present over the summer at the Riverside Public Library and collaborated with the Library/Media and English Departments to bring Reeger Cook to RB. Additionally, English teacher Tom Fuller surprised Reeger Cook at the end of the presentation by showing her a poem she had written in his sophomore Honors English class, a poem he still uses today as an example of outstanding writing. After seeing the poem, Reeger Cook mentioned that when she first heard Fuller read her poem out loud to her class all these years ago, she realized that she might have the potential and talent to be an author.

Reeger Cook’s program was sponsored by the English and Library/Media Departments, and in an effort to continue to promote reading, the Library/Media Department is celebrating Banned Books Week September 23-28.

The purpose of Banned Books Week is to celebrate the freedom to read. To help promote this important right, the Library is sponsoring a Book Drive where students may win prizes, including a breakfast party for their class, a gift card, or a Bulldog Buck for Citizenship.


Donated materials will be given to Open Books, a Chicago non-profit organization that is dedicated to literacy. Last year, the Library collected over 40 boxes of books for this organization! While the contest ends September 27, the Library will continue to accept donations through October 7 from community members and students. For more information, please contact the Library/Media Department Chair, Bridget Wilmot.