ASK Author with Eric Walters

The last three days we’ve been working with York Region District School Board in Ontario to share author Eric Walters between our schools. We’ve also shared it across Canada with other classes in Ontario and British Columbia as well. We split the author fee among all the schools participating. We’ve been collaborating like this for the last three years.

This program is a hybrid ASK program. Eric has a highly entertaining interactive presentation he does for schools – giving an overview of some of his books and the stories behind them. It also includes about 5-10 minutes background info on the book that is the focus on the session. The last 30 minutes of the session is that traditional Q&A session of an ASK program. We usually got 30-40 questions in each program, as Eric is very concise with his answers!

We had two days of sessions on the book Trapped in Ice, and then a new session today on the book Wounded.

In the Trapped in Ice sessions, students asked questions such as:

  • Why did you pick Helen to narrate the story?
  • Do you like your book or do you wish you could go back and touch it up?
  • Do you have advice for us when we’re writing our stories in class?
  • How did you choose and develop the characters in the book?
  • Have you ever disagreed with an editor?
  • Do you have any books with characters based on you?

Here are a sample of the questions from the Wounded session.

  • In each of your stories, at least one parent is missing. Why is that?
  • In the novel, Marcus’ feelings always seem so realistic. [Examples given]. How were you able to give such detailed feelings? Did you imagine how you’d feel? or did you do research?
  • In chapter 8 what made you think of not having the teacher react? Was that based on a personal experience? If you were the teacher, how would you react? People commonly don’t react to pain if they don’t know what to do. This book is being used to help teachers and spouses learn how to relate to those with post traumatic stress disorder.
  • In this book you didn’t describe how Marcus looked. I have a brother named Marcus, and I thought of my brother as I was reading. How did you think Marcus looked? I do that on purpose so that you’ll relate the character to someone you know.

Walters packs a lot of punchy advice and positive encouragement to students throughout the session. Teachers shared great comments afterwards:

We had a super video conference with Eric Walters.  He was very personable and gave great background information to the students.  I was very impressed along with the students.

Our students, and we teachers, enjoyed hearing about the writing process and the novel Trapped in Ice.  I think that Eric truly inspired a classroom of writers today.

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