What makes someone an author? Writing and sharing your stories! Last week, award-winning children’s book author Erica S. Perl took our preschool through second-grade students on a journey through her life as a writer and into the captivating (and hilarious!) characters in her books. With a positive and sincere message, she encouraged our young students to read everything and share their stories no matter how big or small.
Who is Erica S. Perl?
Erica S. Perl is the author of popular and critically-acclaimed books for young readers. Her most recent novel for middle schoolers, All Three Stooges, won the National Jewish Book Award for Children’s Literature and the Sydney Taylor Award Silver Medal. Erica also writes picture books including Chicken Butt!, Goatilocks and the Three Bears, and Ferocious Fluffity as well as early readers, transitional chapter books, and chapter books — Truth or Lie!, Arnold and Louise, and the Craftily Ever After series. Click here to visit her website and learn more.
Truth, Lies, and Writing Secrets
During the first workshop of the day, she explored the Truth or Lie! and Arnold & Louise chapter book series with our 1st and 2nd graders. They played a fun "fact or fiction" trivia game followed by a Q&A session with questions our students prepared ahead of time. Much to the surprise of our 1st and 2nd-grade crew, Erica named her dog Lucy as the inspiration for her writing process.
“Lucy was a dog that, if anything fell on the floor, she would eat it and then she would figure out later what it was. That might not be the best strategy for eating, but it’s a great way to write! Anytime you have an idea, grab it. Write it down and don’t worry about whether it’s good or not. You can go back later, pick out the ideas you like, stretch them out, add details, add drawings, edit...and edit more. That’s how I write most of my books.”
Erica encouraged the kids to celebrate with a “wooo!” after writing down or drawing out their ideas — accomplishments well worth celebrating.
Let’s Read...and Move!
Erica got our littlest learners moving with an interactive reading of Ninety Three in My Family and King of the Zoo. The whole group sang, danced and mimicked characters from her books for a storytime that was just as silly as it was educational. She left plenty of time for questions from our inquisitive early schoolers, responding with thoughtful answers that helped them connect their experiences to hers.
Getting into the Rhythm
For the last session of the day, Erica read her quirky and charming picture books Goatilocks and the Three Bears and Ferocious Fluffity with our kindergarteners. The kids clapped along to the rhythm and rhyme, sharing sidelong smiles and giggles as they followed the shenanigans of the endearing animal characters. She answered questions about how she became a writer, sharing journal entries and drawings from when she was a child. Our kindergarteners’ eyes grew wide when they saw that her early writing looked a lot like theirs!
Our Lower School invites well-known and up-and-coming authors to our school each year to get our students excited about writing and reading, and to empower them to dream big with confidence in their ideas. As Erica shared her experiences, from drawing in her journal as a child to working as a professional author, our students made connections to the writing, reading and drawing they do in class every day. She inspired our kids to read more, write more and celebrate themselves as authors with a well-deserved “wooo!” Click here to read about past author visits.