The students at Churchville-Chili’s Chestnut Ridge Elementary School were mesmerized by the tales of hungry anglerfish, vampire squid and glow-in-the-dark jellyfish told by visiting author, Kevin Kurtz. Kurtz, a well-known children’s author and educator, spent the day on Feb. 13, 2019 sharing his stories with children in kindergarten through grade four. A hands-on workshop for aspiring young writers was also on his busy agenda.
The school has long hosted visiting authors, said Library Media Specialist Colleen Wilson. “The students love making the connection between what they read and how the books are actually conceived and created. They want to know why the author chooses the topic, what is involved in researching and planning a book, and how the book is written and illustrated. Having the author here takes their enjoyment of reading to a whole new level of understanding.”
Kurtz has written many nonfiction books for young people, like “A Day in the Deep,” which uses rhyming verses and pictures to explore life in the oceans. In between presentations and question-and-answer sessions with different grade levels, he offered a short writing clinic to third- and fourth-graders who had been recommended by their teachers. He introduced the students to his creative process and invited them to write their own short stories on a topic they had chosen — polar bears.
“Our readers and writers were extremely enthusiastic, and that was the goal,” said Wilson. “Inspiring children to read and to want to create their own stories is why we do this. We are very grateful to authors like Kevin who encourage kids to explore their world through books.”
Kevin Kurtz is an educator and curriculum writer who has written many books about science and nature for children: www.kevkurtz.com
He lives in Rochester, NY.
Feature photo: Author Kevin Kurtz works with third- and fourth-grade writers exploring the topic of polar bears and planning the outline for an original story.
This page: The author’s book, “A Day in the Deep” inspired many questions about interesting sea animals and the research necessary to tell their stories.