ROCK the WORD: Five authors share inspiration at Holmes, Peet assemblies

Last week students at Peet and Holmes Junior Highs got the chance to meet five of the country’s top young adult adult authors during school.

The authors visited Holmes on Sept. 13 and Peet on Sept. 14.

Jennifer Paulson, a former teacher at Holmes Junior High School, spent months planning and setting up the days devoted to the power of literature and writing, and her efforts brought five authors including E.E Charlton Trujillo, A.S. King, G.Neri, Andrew Smith and C.G. Watson to the junior highs to rock the word.

Paulson got a grant from the Max and Helen Gernsey Foundation to make the whole day possible.  After the assembly on Sept. 14 at Peet, students got one period to go meet the authors with a later author signing during Tiger Time.

The authors had lots of inspirational advice for aspiring writers. Smith, the author of “Winger,” “Grasshopper Jungle” and more, said, “Writing a book is kinda like running. You start and you finish. You won’t get to the finish if you don’t take that first step.”

Smith said he wants kids to know that they don’t need a console to see the world. “You need to unplug the electronics and go out in the real world,” he said.

Trujillo advised teens to embrace their inspirations early. “I came out of the womb with a pen or a pencil,” she said.

Trujillo is from a small town in Texas, and she always drove in circles. The whole town drove in circles, but she broke the circle and stood out. She broke her comfort zone. After Trujillo found out that her best friend had been killed, she wrote “Prizefighter en Mi Casa.” The book is about a 12-year-old girl who gets in a car crash, leaving her father paralyzed and her plagued with seizures.  Her writing shows that death can happen at any moment, so we have to treasure the time we have.

Reinforcing the idea of using the time one’s given, Watson said, “The only guarantee we have is that if we quit, nothing will happen.”

Watson recalled sitting in a desk just watching her students be rude to each other, not knowing what their words could do. She later went on to write “Quad,” a book that puts readers on the edge of their seats with six students in a school store while an unknown school shooter walks through the school. She wants her students to get that their words can pierce through anything, and that if they were one of those six students, they might have said some stuff they wish they would not have.

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