Author Visit Roundup

Sara Shepard Visits Northern Valley High Schools
November 14, 2016
BELS On the Road
December 5, 2016
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Author Visit Roundup

We’ve had a busy fall with author visits at many of our BELS schools. November was National Novel Writing Month and we hope our November visits have inspired some young writers to explore their creative talents!

Starting off the month, Sara Shepard visited the media centers of Janice Cooper and Courtney Reinfried from the Northern Valley regional high schools to talk about her new book series, The Amateurs, and answer reader’s burning questions about her earlier best-selling Pretty Little Liars series.
The World-building Workshop tour came around again, this time visiting Northern Valley – Demarest, Hasbrouck Heights HS, and Saddle Brook HS. Authors Lori Goldstein (Becoming Jinn), Lee Kelly (City of Savages), and Marcy Beller Paul (Underneath everything) spoke with students about the importance of creating a captivating and genuine setting. Students then participated in a unique group exercise, constructing a world that could be the basis of some very exciting stories. NVD students created a world where a secret group of people have the ability to control the weather while Hasbrouck Heights students set up a world where an epic battle is brewing between the land-walkers and the mer-people! Students learned about fleshing out all the details of their worlds and ensuring the logical compatibility of the world’s various components.

At the end of the month, Betty Chiu from Hasbrouck Heights brought in Melanie Conklin to her 6th and 7th Grade students. In the presentation, Are We There Yet? Melanie shared her personal journey of becoming an author and the process of publishing a book. The program focused on fun trivia from her childhood, to the stages of the book creation. This presentation included a lot visuals; Melanie showed the students her original manuscript, which included remarks from the editor and copy editor, and the original painted book covers, showing the process of selecting the final one. Students were able to view examples of how Melanie used the six-step process to complete her book, complete with pictures of Melanie’s post-it notes and writing desk so they could get a real “behind the scenes” look at the creative process. Melanie’s debut book for middle school, Counting Thyme deals with friendship and family, and relocating in a time of distress- it’s a great book to give students tools for coping with tough situations at home and navigating complicated middle school friendships.

And lastly, Adriana Schanen, author of the Quinny & Hopper series visited the Catherine E Doyle school in Wood-Ridge last week. Adriana met with 2nd & 3rd graders and talked to them about how she writes her books and did some read alouds for the students. Students were thrilled to meet Adriana and loved having their books signed and personalized by her.

For more information on these author visits and more, contact Abigail at

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