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In the Pipeline: Kids quiz the author

February 04, 2013|By Chris Epting
  • Jacob Azevedo, Chris Epting and Cisco Haley at the Huntington Beach Central Library for Author's Day.
Jacob Azevedo, Chris Epting and Cisco Haley at the Huntington…

For me, the best part about being an author is the chance to go to schools and not so much talk to kids (though I love doing that), but hear their questions.

As good or better than any interviewer that will sit down to talk with you, kids seem to cut right to the heart of things with such ease and honesty that I wish more of them hosted shows and wrote book reviews.

Case in point, the 25th annual Author's Day put on here last week in Huntington Beach by the Friends of the Children's Library. I've been part of this event for about 13 years or so and each January I have the chance to visit whatever school happens to select me that year.

This time around, I was lucky enough to get asked to go back to Sowers Middle School. I've spoken there five or so times and they always make me feel right at home, especially when all of the great questions start after my presentation. When did I decide I want to be a writer, how long does it take to write a book, what is my favorite book, what books am I working on now, what's my favorite part about being a writer, how hard is it to get a book published? — and it goes on.

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Students seem to have a genuine curiosity about what it takes to be a writer which to me is a great sign of hope. In a digital age where paper seems to be becoming a faded memory, it seems that at least in some corners, kids still care about books. I'm very thankful for all the work that Gail Page puts into this event and I think I speak on behalf of the dozens of other writers that visit our city each year to speak at the many schools.

The book signing and author's event held later that same day at Central Library gives us writers a chance to meet kids from a lot of different schools and talk to some of the student winners in the literature and art contests that are held as part of Author's Day.

For instance, Anna Nguyen, a fifth-grader at Fryberger Elementary in Westminster won first place in one of the poetry contests for her work titled "The Race." She told me it was the very first poem she had ever written. Imagine winning a prize for the very first poem you ever wrote.

Such are some of the moments at Author's Day.

Ten-year-old Amy Grace from Peterson Elementary in Huntington Beach saw her story win for Most Creative Use of Theme. And she told me she was thrilled. One can imagine all the positive effects that Author's Day has on these and many other young local writers.

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