My Fiction Friday post is more about an author instead of a book. Last year my teammate connected with author Chris Grabenstein through Skype With An Author, and it was such positive experience that we have already booked an interview with him for this year. Chris Grabenstein has been writing for many years and has had experience from tv show to adult novels to children's novels. He even spent some time doing improve comedy and it showed - the kids thought he was hilarious during his interview!
In preparation for his interview, each of the 5th grade classrooms read one of his books. At the time he had four different scary, haunted books that were all apart of the same series. The Crossroads is the first book in the series, which tells the story about a young boy named Zack who has the ability to see ghosts and just moved into a haunted house. Throughout the book, he tries to solve the mystery of what happens at The Crossroads.
The books in this series are well written, but may be a little scary for some audiences. There were a couple of times we had to do a little censoring for our 5th graders, but overall they really liked how creepy the books were! Many of them continued to read other books from the series!
This year he has released the first book to his new series Riley Mack. I am planning on reading this book aloud to my students before we Skype with him in September. I think this one is more of an adventure story instead of scary story.
Before we Skyped with Mr. Grabenstein, the students put together a list of questions to ask him. As a class we decided which questions would actually be asked and those kiddos were the ones who got to go in front of the camera to talk with him. Here is the Lino it they created with all their questions:
On the day of the interview, we shoved all 75 students into one room and set the computer up so that Mr. Grabenstein could see everyone and he was projected onto the Smartboard. He talked about the process he goes through to write his books and then he showed us around his home office and how he covers the walls with all his ideas. After his part, he answered the questions that we had compiled. We learned a lot about him during this time. At one point he called over his dog - the kids really liked that! :o)
After the interview, we had each student send Mr. Grabenstein a Thank You email, and he took the time to respond to each one! He also sent us autographed bookmarks for each student! It was amazing to me that an award winning author would take the time to Skype with us and then give us so much attention afterwards... all for FREE! It meant so much to us, teachers, and the students!
He also has some adult novels that he has written and if you like scary stories, I urge you to check them out! All the titles are on his website! I also urge you to check out Skype With An Author because so many of them are willing to do an interview for free! It was a really great experience and I am excited to do it again this year!