Author Alan Gratz visits Lee’s Summit R-7 schools

// Posted By Janie Rohlfing

Author Alan Gratz visited the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District March 30-31, sharing information about his books and the writing process. The author has visited hundreds of schools and libraries throughout the United States.

Mr. Gratz’s books have included “Samurai Shortstop,” “Something Rotten,” “The Brooklyn Nine,” “Prisoner B-3087.” “Projekt 1065,” “The League of Seven” and “Code of Honor.” Several of his books have been recognized by the American Library Association, and “Prisoner B-3087” won the 2016 Truman Readers Award.

During the two-day visit, Mr. Gratz visited Bernard Campbell Middle School, Pleasant Lea Middle School and Summit Lakes Middle School. He also presented to sixth-graders from all 18 Lee’s Summit R-7 elementary schools during two sessions at Lee’s Summit North High School.

At the student presentations, the author used a “choose-your-own-adventure” style, encouraging the students to make choices along the way to guide his talk.

“Alan Gratz’s presentation fit in perfectly with our unit on ‘The Power of Story,’” said Emily Hobbs, Summit Lakes Middle School English language arts teacher. “I was able to teach my classes all day using his presentation as a springboard as we analyzed how authors intentionally use plot, conflict and characters in the stories they write. He made it clear there is form and intentionality to putting a story together. I even had a student share with me the start of his first novel a couple of days later!”

Dr. David Carlson, Summit Lakes principal, said the author began his presentation describing how when working around his family’s schedule he began to write with a structured and intentional process. “It was a powerful message to begin with priorities of family and then move to his work as an author during his child’s naps,” Dr. Carlson said. “Mr. Gratz set the stage for how any person can organize a story to become an author. Students were hooked and love his books!”

Rodger Wolverton, SLMS teacher, said the author was an outstanding role model who made a tremendous impact on students. “Growing up as a son of a coach who always envisioned his son to be a star athlete, Alan Gratz is a true example for all of us to follow our heart and to not let anyone define us, even our parents,” he said. “He parlayed his immense imagination into a successful career that has made reading fun for so many kids.”

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