Thursday, March 7, 2013

Cavalcade of Authors

By Maureen McQuerry

There’s something magical about 900 middle grade and high school students coming to together to celebrate reading and writing. In fact, it sounds like author fantasyland and it was.

Last weekend I got to be part of that magic at Cavalcade of Authors in Pasco, WA. All the students worked hard to be there. They had to read at least four of the books by the sixteen authors who attended. They had to agree to make-up any work they missed at school. The students were transported for a day to a local college where they rotated between authors to take hour long workshops on subjects like how to write a fight scene, three act structure and conflict and tension. I didn’t notice a single eye roll or anyone texting in a workshop; they all wanted to be there. The audience hung on every word and then asked amazing, well- informed questions about our books. And we got to meet 15 other hard working authors and hear their stories.

Here’s where the magic happened for me. The authors and students all shared a common interest, a love of reading and writing. It didn’t matter how young or old we were, how tattooed or plain. How do you get 900 kids to love reading and writing? Each of those students was inspired by someone. Maybe it was an author speaking through a character in a book, maybe a parent, maybe a teacher. For those few hours, what mattered was story. And as one eager reader said, "This was the best day of school ever!"

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