For 3 days and 9 presentations, the Newbery-winning author wowed Warwick students.
Your giving—through the Warwick Education Foundation—funded the grant to bring the author Avi to Warwick in early May. Why Avi?
Patti Lapp knew he was amazing on the page. For years she’d delighted her sixth-grade Language Arts students by introducing them to Avi’s imagination-stretching and award-winning novels.
What we didn’t know was how amazing Avi (pronounced AH-vee) would be in the classroom and on the stage. His person-to-person skill flows naturally from a genuine respect for others.
You see it in his thorough preparation; he tailors each presentation to the age and interests of his audience. “You could learn something new at every event,” Patti says.
By not only speaking and reading from his books but respecting every question, he demonstrated how to connect with kindness, honesty, and gentle humor. And that wowed the Warwick students and their parents.
We also didn’t know how we could possibly pry the 81-year-old author away from his Colorado mountain home and writing life. Set it all aside for three demanding days in Lititz? The persuasive powers of Patti Lapp were amazing. And as our Warwick kids discovered, so was Avi.
They learned how to dive deeper into a book, see not just what happens to sustain suspense but how it affects the characters and shapes the theme.
They heard about the craft and discipline of writing, the author’s own struggles when he was in school, and how he still works around a learning disability.
Above all, they couldn’t miss the basic lesson that good writers are avid readers. Read a lot, Avi told them, read all the time. Read, read, read.
His books make it easier to read. But they’re not easy to write. He picks what interests him, then does a lot of research to make sure his novels, although works of imagination, are factually correct as well as emotionally true. He might rewrite dozens and dozens of times till every sentence rings just right. All this demonstrates how much he cares about his readers.
Because he spends long hours sitting at a desk, he needs physical exercise to withstand the rigors of writing. So he swims a mile every day.
That’s the short course in how you write 81 books in 81 years.